Now this is what DLC should look like: standalone, well-crafted awesomeness, none of this hidden, already present code rubbish, just a response to demand to for a good thing. Rockstar might overwork their employees and grind them down, and whilst I do feel sorry for them, there's no denying that all of their hard work is instantly visible in games such as this. Taking the hustle and bustle of GTA 4's Liberty City, these two standalone expansions - The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony - not only give us consumers another healthy dose of Rockstar's magnum opus, but they toss in a few new features too.
Although expensively available for download, you can pick up the standalone boxed set for just £14.95 over at Zavvi, saving you a couple of pounds on the nearest competitor (Amazon).
The first expansion - The Lost and Damned - is a look at the murkier side of Liberty City, as you walk the streets in the boots of a member of biker gang The Lost. There are a few new weapons added such as the grenade launcher and the automatic pistol, and you can now blow stuff up with pipe bombs. There are some cool new vehicles to rag around the grimy roads too, and a whole new radio setup that's exclusive to the boxed version. Additionally, you no longer have to worry about screwing up mid-mission as The Lost and Damned is the first game to introduce mid-mission checkpoints.
The Ballad of Gay Tony is by far the more glitzy of the two, following the tale of flamboyant drug dealer and man about town Anthony 'Gay Tony' Prince. Again, there's a bushel of new weapons, and a few high-end sports cars thrown in for good measure too. excitingly, you can also get your hands on a new mini-attack helicopter and, a first for the series, you'll now be able to go base jumping and skydiving.
It's clear that a lot of work has gone into these expansions, and the characters - particularly in the latter - are incredibly richly drawn, dangerous, charismatic and frequently humorous. As a guideline, if you enjoyed GTA4 then I think you'll get a big kick out of this, as it features a number of cameos from returning characters, Mr. Niko Bellic himself even makes an appearance of two, and there are several in-jokes for Rockstar stalwarts. If you're a newcomer then don't be put off either, as a standalone package these two games offer two unique perspectives on life in one of gaming's most interesting and addictive locales.
Thanks to Rhys135 at HUKD