XBOX Reviews

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Review

Those people that have played Grand Theft Auto IV will be familiar with the general style of play, and even the characters included, within Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City. The two separate stories included within this new title, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, occur while the story from the original game takes place. If you haven’t played the original game don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase it to enjoy these two stories independently.

From the two stories combined you can expect a good 20 hours of action-packed play which is not bad at all. While the plots for each will stand alone successfully, you may find yourself understanding a little more of the context if you have played Grand Theft Auto IV. You may also wish to play the Lost and Damned before venturing into the Ballad of Gay Tony, but you can be guaranteed enjoyment in whatever order you venture into the world of Liberty City.

In the Lost and Damned you will take to the city as Johnny “The Jew” Klebitz. In no way is this lead character a likeable person, you may even find yourself wishing bad things on him after spending some time shadowing his steps. This makes it particularly difficult to actually care about what happens to him which is a bit of a flaw by the developers, however it is unlikely to detract too much from the many positives of the story.

A few gameplay tweaks included within this particular edition to the GTA IV story have increased the enjoyment factor of certain elements exponentially. Riding motorbikes, for example. Taking to the back of your bike need no longer usher a sigh from your lips as you contemplate the impossibility of the handling. Instead you’ll find your vehicle of choice to be easily controllable, and without so many mishaps that will cause you to fall from its back as in the original.

You’ll leave Johnny behind in The Ballad of Gay Tony as you take control of Luis Lopez, an already successful name in the city. Expect completely over the top missions as you accept jobs from an assortment of unstable characters located around the city. You’ll also find an enormous assortment of weapons formerly unavailable to help you to fight your way into or out of tricky spots.

There’s more to be had from Episodes of Liberty City than the main plotlines of the two independent stories, with side quests aplenty guaranteed to hold your attention for many additional hours, as well as a multiplayer mode. While you may need to purchase the original title to fully appreciate the complexities of the two additional stories, they still pack a punch as standalone entities. And with the typical GTA violence and action crammed into every corner of the game, you are sure to enjoy this addition to an already incredibly successful title.

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