Game Review: Grand Theft Auto IV "The Lost And Damned"
Developer/Publisher: Rockstar NorthPlatform: XBOX 360 (Exclusive)
Players: 1-16 (Online)Release Date: 2/17/09
Grand Theft Auto IV The Lost And Damned (Rockstar North) is a downloadable episode developed exclusively for the Xbox 360 gaming console. While it may not break as much ground as its predecessor, this expansion pack gives GTA IV new life with a drastic change in plot, leading character, and accompanying missions.
Traditionally most expansions offer a couple of new levels and one or two tweaks to the game play if you are lucky. Where Lost And Damned succeeds is that you play as an entirely different character with Johnny Klebitz. Our boy Johnny is a high ranking member in a Liberty City biker gang The Lost; hence the title. Johnny has been in charge while the outfits official boss Billy Grey sobered up in rehab. Now Billy is home and wants to put the murder game down; a total opposite of Johnnys rationale.
While Lost uses the same engine, the game plays out different. With GTA IV, there was some serious character development with its protagonist Niko Bellic and his story. In the case of Johnny who made some brief appearances in the previous title, you are immediately thrown into serious action after the first and very violent cut screen as you and your crew chases down a rival gang on bikes with a shotgun in tow. The storyline moves quickly often intertwining with the original.
In regards to the scenery, Liberty City remains pretty much in tact which takes away some of this games draw. What does change is that certain areas and buildings that were previously inaccessible in IV are now open (i.e. The Losts headquarters). Also instead of working your way through missions to visit new territories, everything is unlocked since you already got the tour with Niko.
In terms of noticeable additions, Rockstar stepped it up in a couple of areas. An assortment of new weapons are available for players to cause havoc with including automatic 9mm, pipe bombs, sawed off shotguns and a grenade launcher to top it off.
The rides get an update as well. With a biker gang motif, we get seventeen new motorcycles to compliment the improved bike handling mechanics. The online gaming also gets expanded with new modes of play (Witness Protection, Race, Own The City). To keep everything fresh sonically, new songs are injected into all the stations. Funkmaster Flex and Statik Selektah host new shows on The Beat 102.7 as well.
Overall The Lost And Damned brings even more replay value to an already addictive title. While this might not be an entirely new show, the stellar gameplay remains intact. This episode will quell the stomach pains of die hard GTA junkies craving a new installment in the series.
Grand Theft Auto IV "The Lost And Damned" Trailer