Two DLC as a single disc standalone game. Sounds like a trip to Liberty City is in order.
GTA: Episodes from Liberty City is published by Rockstar games for Xbox360, as a standalone to the original GTA IV. On the disc you will find two complete games, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Although both of these are available as DLC for GTA IV, the length of each episode and its sidequests allow them to take on the title of games in their own right.
So, this bundle provides the player with two games that do not need the original to function. That’s fine, but is there anyone out there who does not own GTA IV? Of course there is, maybe some have never played GTA IV or maybe some have just traded in their copies. There may even be people out there who just did not buy the DLC. Either way, the idea to bring them out as a stand alone game is a great one, as this disc offers two different sides to the GTA world for people to experience.
The Lost and Damned puts the player in the role of Johnny Klebitz, member of the notorious biker gang, The Lost. Johnny will get mixed up with all sorts of trouble as the story takes you on a journey that will investigate the concepts of loyalty, sacrifice and responsibility. Heavy stuff. The Lost and Damned manages to pull this off through the engaging storyline and the depth of the games main characters.
Everything that made GTA IV great can be found here, such as the gunfights and car chases. This game brings with it more weapons, more vehicles and more attitude. The online mode brings a host of new options which, whilst maybe not be particularly new or groundbreaking, offer a lot of enjoyment.
The Ballad of Gay Tony, on the other hand, shuns the deep and meaningful in favor of a far more shallow, yet fun, experience. This time around the player steps into the shoes of Luis Lopez, bodyguard, driver and personal assistant to Tony Prince, nightclub owner. Luis job is to basically keep Tony out of trouble, and fix it when he inevitably ends up deep in it. This is all about the excesses of GTA, with golden weapons, attack helicopters, armoured personnel carriers and parachutes.
Although the story is light, the amount of fun to be had in this episode from Liberty city is huge. New weapons and vehicles are available and, for the first time, online leaderboards are available for each mission, allowing you to replay missions and try to get a better score than your buddies. One of the best new introductions to the series is the base jumping. Either alone or with friends in a race format, get to the top of a building and leap off with your parachute. Whoever came up with this idea is genius and this feature is possibly one of the best reasons to buy this game.
GTA IV was not perfect, by any means, and Episodes from Liberty City bring with it most of the problems. The missions can be repetitive, the vastness of Liberty City can be daunting, especially to newcomers and combat can be a little clunky, to say the least. Also, the graphics are looking a bit dated now. But these are all just minor problems when faced with the sheer quantity of different ways to enjoy this game.
Buying this as a standalone game will treat the player to the depth of Lost and Damned and the hilarity of Gay Tony. As if this was not enough, the game is priced at a lower point than many games that only offer half as much content. If you don’t already have this, or the DLC, then you should go and buy it now. Excellent.