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March 30, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

Rockstar has produced some of the most incredible DLC to date (that’s downloadable content for you newcomers), or an expansion pack if you will. The Lost and Damned is an extension of GTA IV, and Microsoft paid Rockstar a lot of money to have it as an exclusive for their console.

You play as Johnny Klebitz, member of The Lost biker gang. You will get to meet up with Niko Bellic later on, the main character from GTA IV, as some of the missions will revolve around the story from the original game. The Lost gang are a tight group of folk. These characters are really fleshed out and captivating, especially Billy Grey, the gang’s arrogant president. Along with Niko you will come back into contact with Elizabeta, Playboy X and some other familiar faces.

For those of you who have never played a GTA game in your life, the basic premise of the series is that you have an open city to explore or destroy at your will—completing a grand array of deadly missions, involving drug dealing, murder, assassination, kidnapping, armed robbery, and of course grand theft auto—just things in general your mother wouldn’t be too proud of.

For most of the missions you will be riding with your gang, and it pays to stay in formation if you wanna converse with your biker mates. The Lost and Damned features new weapons, including a grenade launcher, pipe bombs, sawn-off and automatic shotguns. There is also new content for the virtual internet, radio and TV. The most important being the new songs for the radio, including that rocking track from the TV ad, Wild Side by Motley Crue. Between missions you can also partake in turf wars and races. These are both marked on the map in varying places. Turf Wars lets you and your gang go out and kill some dudes from rival gangs. Races are the same as in GTA IV, except now you’re on motorbikes, and you have baseball bats to knock the snot out of your opponents.

Johnny’s custom-built bike is just one of the new vehicles available. The bike physics have been drastically improved. It’s much harder to fall off now, less realistic of course, but it really helps when cruising the mean streets of Liberty City. New multiplayer modes have been thrown in for good measure—one pretty creative mode in particular is called Chopper vs. Chopper where the biker must escape a lethal helicopter.

There are some additions that might not be so noticeable at first glance but really pay off in spades; now mission checkpoints have been gracefully added in more convenient places. Driving back to the same location every time you fail a mission is long gone, and it makes it a lot quicker to get back into the action. Now Johnny’s friends finally stop calling you up on your virtual phone while you’re in the middle of fighting off some coppers. You can still call your friends out for air hockey if you wish, but more often than not you will only reach their answer phone. Getting denied in real life, fair enough, but in an action game where you’re the bad-ass hero, c’mon!

The missions overall are largely similar to the previous instalment. If you’re looking for something completely different, you’re not going to find it here. Some new gameplay would have been nice but Rockstar decided to stick to the tried and true. Of course there’s the whole new focus on motorcycle riding, we gotta give them that.

Thankfully in this update, the stuff that was taken out of our version of GTA IV because of Australia’s absurd rating system is now back in, even in the original game. Which means more blood, boo yah! Be warned though, this game also contains “full frontal male nudity”. Yes this is not a drill, in one of the cutscenes, Congressman Thomas Stubbs reveals all!

The Lost and Damned costs 1600 Microsoft points, or you can buy the code in a box from most gaming retailers, which is really a waste of cardboard for a game that you have to download! Remember: this isn’t a standalone expansion; you do need GTA IV in order to play it. All in all, The Lost and the Damned is a very meaty expansion. So if you’re still itching for some more missions and things to do in Liberty City it is well worth the purchase.

Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Rockstar North

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