Jeremy Jastrzab
17 Sep, 2009

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Preview

360 Preview | Going out with a bang.
While the jury is still out on whether this downloadable content business is the way of the future, Rockstar will finally fulfil their promise of two downloadable episodes for their megahit, Grand Theft Auto IV, by the end of October. The first episode, The Lost and Damned set a new standard for DLC and tied into Niko’s original adventure beautifully. The second and final episode, The Ballad of Gay Tony is set to send off our latest trip to Liberty City with a bang.

As well as being available over XBLA, both The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony will be released on a single disc, which won’t require Grand Theft Auto IV to be played. As such, Rockstar is trying to stress that these episodes are more than just DLC. And to extent, there is a point to this. The Lost and Damned spanned 10-12 hours, so putting the two together is still more than most games available. And now those without Live access will be able to play.

Being the last episode, the developers are going all out with The Ballad of Gay Tony. Ditching Niko and Johnny, you play as Luis Lopez, the right hand man of the owner of the biggest straight and gay clubs in Liberty City, Tony Prince a.k.a Gay Tony. Mr Prince has run into some financial difficulties and it’s up to Luis to get his hands dirty and help the man who once helped him. And along the way, you’ll do some of the craziest things ever seen in a GTA game.

All in a day's work.

All in a day's work.
Those with a keen eye and incisive mind would have figured out by now that the ‘Impossible Trinity’ achievement from GTAIV ties in the three stories of Niko, Johnny and Luis. Along the way, there will be numerous times where you’ll come across familiar scenes, not only from Niko’s story but Johnny’s as well. And in the end, you’ll end up with one of the most complexly intertwined video game stories ever told.

As Niko, you had to build your way up from nothing and you spent most of the game dealing with, what you could loosely describe as the middle-class. Johnny needed no building phase, as he already had his gang and was permanently entrenched as a bottom feeder. Luis too is already connected and set-up, so there is no need to build his network. However, unlike Niko or Johnny, he will mostly be dealing with the ‘high end’ of town. So unlike the gutter warfare in The Lost and Damned, you’re going to be spending more time in high rises and nicer places.

With your more powerful contacts, you’ll have access to the bigger guns, the fastest cars and the most enjoyable extras. On the gun front, it was particularly exciting to take the automatic shotgun with explosive tips for a spin. Yep, explosive. While we did get to drive a few nice cars, the realism of the physics was something that would take some more time to get used to, again. Perhaps most excitingly, parachuting makes a return to GTA, and it will be used in missions and you'll get a chance to play around with it outside of missions as well.

That's one way to beat the rush.

That's one way to beat the rush.
So what kind of crazy things will you get up in The Ballad of Gay Tony? Well, this story introduces a crazy real estate tycoon, who in one mission instructs you to help him in stealing a train. You read correctly, a train. Or more specifically, a subway cart. And in another, he gets you to steal a military helicopter for his dad. Socks and scratchies just don’t cut it you see. Those were two missions that we got to play, and the final one was a massive stand off with some corrupt police that you have to set up a trap for.

One final addition that was mentioned was that of mission points. You’ll be awarded a score at the end of each mission, where the intention is to give the player some incentive to replay the missions and get higher scores. Being essentially the same game as GTAIV, will mean that most of the strengths and weakness will remain. We didn’t see whether the remarkably handy checkpoints will be making a return from The Lost and Damned, but it seems that Luis will have a finer turning radius than Johnny, hopefully.

As mentioned with The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony is more than your average piece of DLC. You’ve almost got an entirely new game to play, and it is priced accordingly. And now, both will be accessible to those who don’t have a Live connection. Again, if you don’t like GTA (why you’re still reading this in the first place, we’ll never know), you’re not going to find anything here to change your mind. However, for those who have stuck with the series, The Ballad of Gay Tony is looking to provide a GTA experience where the developers will be going all out to make it as over-the-top as possible.
The Ballad of Gay Tony is looking to take you out of Liberty City with a bang.

Related Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Content

XBLA Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Review
29 Oct, 2009 One more return to Liberty City.
Rockstar unveils Ballad of Gay Tony multiplayer details
15 Oct, 2009 And I'm free, I'm free fallin'.
New Ballad of Gay Tony images
03 Oct, 2009 It's all about the transportation.
4 years ago
Sounds like GTAIV without the grunt work and with all the best toys just handed to you. I'm not sure how that could be a bad thing =)

Here's hoping it makes a debut on the PS3 at some point.
4 years ago
Lost and Damned was great, so this is a definite purchase for me.
4 years ago
grim-one wrote
Here's hoping it makes a debut on the PS3 at some point.
That is not going to happen since MS purchased the exclusive rights to the the DLC for GTAIV
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