Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
PS3 users can finally play them!
Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Two years have passed since Grand Theft Auto IV was released and a year later, the last two chapters of the GTA IV saga (Lost & Damned and Gay Tony) arrived as Xbox 360 exclusives. Now, Playstation 3 users who have been loyal to the Sony brand can play these two great pieces of content.
..and with all honesty, it was about time.
Just so you know, if you already have GTA IV, you can buy these two expansions via the Playstation Network for $20 each. If you don’t have GTA IV but still want to give these two full-blown games a go, then buying Episodes from Liberty City (standalone retail disc featuring the two expansions) at $40 would be your option.
In Lost & Damned, you will play as Johnny Klebitz, the interim leader of “The Lost Brotherhood”, one of Liberty City’s most notorious biker gangs. When their leader and president Billy Grey gets released from prison and re-joins his fellow bikers, things start to change and not necessarily for the better, especially after all the work Johnny has done to keep “The Lost” out of trouble. From there, Johnny will come across things he doesn’t like, putting his good relationship with Billy at risk.
The Ballad of Gay Tony puts you in the shoes of Luis Lopez, a part-time hoodlum who is also the personal bodyguard, business partner and close friend of Tony “Gay Tony” Prince, the so-called king of Liberty City’s nightlife…up until he gets into serious trouble with his investors, some of them being thugs, after selling stakes higher than what they were really worth. Having the feeling that Tony will lose everything including his own mind; Luis comes to his rescue by completing a series of tasks and odd jobs that will take him to places he doesn’t necessarily want to go.
First of all, if you played GTA IV or any other GTA game, you will notice that the same old recipe is used in both expansions to give us the same mission patterns and the same troubled characters. The storylines and the dialogues are obviously different and have their own caché, but don’t look for huge changes and surprises in terms of the game’s personality. The game is gritty, outrageous, violent, comedic…basically everything you can expect of a GTA game. There are some novelties, but they come through gameplay tweaks, new weapons and some variations of things previously shown in GTA IV.
However, the most notable change brought to these episodes would be the tweaking of the overly-frustrating save point system from GTA IV. No longer will you have to restart the whole mission if you die during your trip from point A to point B. The game automatically grants you a checkpoint after you arrive at destination.
In terms of gameplay, let’s just say that even though Gay Tony’s mandatory missions are much more varied and per consequent, a tad more interesting to play compared to Lost & Damned, it remains Grand Theft Auto. In my opinion, Gay Tony is the episode that has the extreme, high-volatile action that truly defines a GTA game. Not that Lost & Damned lacks punch but personally I thought Gay Tony was way more interesting and captivating, mostly due in part to the nightlife/club storyline setting.
Both Lost & Damned and Gay Tony have their own multiplayer modes, all variations of existent gameplay modes offered in GTA IV. I wasn’t a fan of the multiplayer section, but if you managed to spend countless hours online with GTA IV, then you should not have any trouble enjoying what Episodes has to offer.
Even though there are a lot of positives to be said about these two episodes, neither of them are perfect. The weapon aiming issues that plagued GTA IV are still very present and there’s no doubt that it will make you shout at the TV quite often. And since these are expansions to GTA IV, the graphic department needs no true explanation or detailing since it has been built on the same engine as the main game. Textures, animations and character models during gameplay aren’t as impressive as they once were as the engine feels incredibly old. Liberty City remains impressive to look at, but frequent pop-ins and framerate drops tarnish the experience. However, I don’t think anyone was expecting this expansion to look 300% better than the main game...right? The incredible narrative cinematics still look good.
Soundwise, the impressive number of radio stations from GTA IV makes a comeback. If you decide to go with the retail version, you will get the extra Vice FM radio station, which will really remind you of GTA Vice City. Voice acting is once again top-notch as each character delivers an outstanding performance at making their characters believable.
For $40, Episodes from Liberty City will get you an approximative 20-30 hour playthtrough; with lots of optional missions, new activities and two distinct multiplayer components. While it was a good deal back when it was first released on the Xbox 360, I would have loved to see this Playstation 3 release get a cheaper price point. I don’t know how many PS3 users have waited that long before getting their hands on it, but I think that those who actually waited, deserved to get a nice rebate. And since the hype for GTA IV, along as its graphic engine, have been pushed agaisnt the wall by many greater games since then. The $40 price tag does is certainly an issue. Not that you are not getting great content, its just that I think Rockstar could sell more copies if the price was a bit more friendly.
There’s no other way to say it: both Lost & Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony concludes (for the second time) the Grand Theft Auto IV adventure on a high note, even though the gameplay doesn’t re-invent anything and the visuals aren’t as impressive as they once were. The fact that it took so much time to hit the Playstation 3 definitely hurts its overall value.
Despite of this, you are still getting two great GTA expansions worth checking out. Just don’t expect anything new.
+ 20-30 hours of total gameplay
+ New activities and multiplayer modes
- Clumbersome shooting mechanics
- This should have been released much earlier and cheaper
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Release Date : 2010/04/14
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Rockstar Games
Developer : Rockstar North
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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8.7 / 10