01 Oct 09

ROCKSTAR GAMES showed how episodic content should be done with Grand Theft Auto IV’s The Lost and Damned. Most other downloadable content for games has typically consisted of an extra, tackedon environment that adds a mere hour or two of additional gameplay. Not so for Rockstar; utilisingthe existing  asset base of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Liberty City that players already have on their game disc, Rockstar instead crammed the download with extra story and gameplay content.

Where GTA IV followed the story of illegal immigrant Niko Bellic and The Lost and Damned followed  troubled biker Johnny Klebitz and his gang, The Ballad of Gay Tony places players once again in the shoes of  a completely different character type. You’ll play Luis Lopez, drug dealer and personal body guard of  nightclub entrepreneur Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince. Like GTA IV and The Lost and Damned, the differing  nature of your character dictates that you’ll experience Liberty City in a much different way than you might  have previously. For instance, as the bodyguard of Gay Tony, you’ll spend more time in glitzy nightclubs and  the more upmarket areas of Liberty City, as opposed to the ganglands of the Lost and Damned experience.

But that doesn’t mean for a second that The Ballad of Gay Tony is any less action-packed. In fact, if the two  missions that I got to play are any indication, this may be the most over-thetop adventure in Liberty City to  date. Rockstar wouldn’t let me play all of the demonstrated missions, but the first mission I got to watch saw Luis parachute (yes, they brought it back!) to the top of a penthouse building, where he fought his way through  the complex to his target. Once Luis sent him plummeting to the pavement below, he base-jumped out  the window to avoid the incoming security guards, landing on a fl at-deck truck to make his escape.

The first mission I got to try myself sees Luis attempting to steal an entire train car. After leaping onto a  moving train from an overhead bridge, I had to fight my way to the front of the train while fending off police  helicopters with my AA-12 shotgun with explosive rounds (a new addition to the weapons roster). The AA-12  made short work of the inbound helicopters and their gunmen as I slowly crept up to the targeted train car.  Once I’d decoupled the car, my employer’s chopper made away with the precious cargo. And, yes, this was  all as fun as it sounds!

Much like The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony brings with it a host of new content, such as new  weapons, new music on the Liberty City radio stations (although none had been announced at the time of  writing), new interior environments and new activities. The new activities include base jumping – you can take  a helicopter ride on demand and base-jump anywhere in the city – and nightclub management. With the  nightclub management activity, you’ll have to throw out unruly patrons and do your bit to get the party started  on the dance floor!

Best of all, though, you can save yourself the bandwidth and buy The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of  Gay Tony on one disc entitled Episodes from Liberty City (although this does not include the Grand Theft Auto  IV story scenario). So for those of you who haven’t downloaded The Lost and Damned yet or those  that don’t have access to Xbox Live, this might be the most cost-effective way to extend your adventures in  Liberty City. 

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