ultimadark's Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (Xbox 360) review

New sides of Liberty City

GTA: Episodes from Liberty City puts the two downloadable episodes "The Lost and Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony" together in one disc release. You will take on the roles of Johnny Klebitz, member of the biker gang "The Lost", as well as Luis Lopez, body guard and errand boy for night club owner Gay Tony Prince. 

Cmon baby, Shake those..... ehmm, arms?
In The Lost and Damned, you are the Vice President of biker group The Lost, acting as president until the recently released from prison Billy returned, shaking things up in the group as he did. You will follow the story of Johnny as he has to decide what's really important and where his morals lie. As Luis Lopez, you will help Gay Tony, your business associate and boss, making business meet ends and getting a taste of the high life of Liberty City. During both episodes you will face both new and familiar faces, the characters of GTA really stand out. It's just a shame that Luis, the playable character in The Ballad of Gay Tony, is one of the most bland persons you will meet in GTA IV. 
The gameplay is a continuation of the one found in the original GTA IV, with both episodes adding some new stuff into the mix. TLAD focuses heavily on bikes and riding as a bike crew, while TBOGT introduces sky diving. Both episodes also features new weapons and added content to the already great radio stations, where some of the most funny experiences in gaming are waiting to be had.  
While the gameplay as a whole is enjoyable, everything isn't stellar. The game has got some checkpoint issues, and while they are better than in the original GTA IV, they could still use some work. On one instance I had to replay a driving mission twice just because I missed a jump and got in the water in the very end of the mission, meaning I had to do the whole race-against-the-cops again. TBOGT features a lot of missions where you will be piloting a helicopter, and the helicopter controls are awful, especially when you have to target other helicopters in mid-air combat. The shooting mechanics and cover system also feels a bit awkward compared to a first/third person shooter. Moving down stairs and looking around some corners can be hard since the enemy will often get a shot at you before you're able to get a shot at them. 
However, even though some of the mechanics might need a little more polish for the eventual sequel, this game is still very good. The voice acting is great, the story will have you coming back for more every time, don't find yourself surprised if you finish the campaign (about 10 hours per episode) and wish that it wouldn't end so soon. If you ever enjoyed an open world game, you owe it to yourself to play this one, and if you never tried one, this is as good as any to start with.
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