Grand Theft Auto 4 came and went leaving many happy gamers along with plenty of haters. What also followed was a new kind of DLC that would be a sign of the future called Lost and the Damned. Available only on the 360 due to a hefty batch of money from Microsoft, GTA LaD was a sign of what was to come for GTA fans; new stories with new character in the same sandbox without having to wait years between each game. In October, Rockstar released the second DLC episode, the Ballad of Gay Tony.
The Ballad of Gay Tony takes a similar yet different approach to the typical GTA story. Most GTA stories take you from rags to riches building up an empire and then indulging in the finer life of a big time criminal. The Ballad of Gay Tony goes the route that you're already a balla' living it up on the posh side of liberty city. Our hero, or anti-hero, is Luis Lopez. Luis is bodyguard, partner, all around problem solver for Anthony "Gay Tony" Prince. It appears that Gay Tony has done more than his fair share of trying cash checks that he can't afford thus putting him a world of underground activities with all the ugly elements in the underbelly of Liberty City. Being that Gay Tony owns the most popular gay and straight club in Liberty, Luis is already living the life so there are no petty crimes to start off with or poverty life to work on. You start off rollin' big and the action that follows matches the larger than life experience.
Those playing will be familiar with the GTA 4 style because frankly, WHY ARE YOU BUYING IT IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THE ORIGINAL?! Anyways, if you want to read how GTA 4 plays, then go here, or just die cause you're obviously a douche that hasn't played good games. What we saw in LaD was a change to the gameplay putting an emphasis on being part of a biker gang rather than a sole criminal. Don't expect that in BoGT because you're back as the lone badass.
So what's different from the previous games? Actually, not that much. Well there's one big difference and that's the inclusion of a mission score. Once again, those OCD people out there will have a reason to keep redoing missions and so on for more than just achievements. Each mission will give you a percentage based on the goals set for you. Examples of such goals are how much damage you took, how quickly you finished the mission, or other variants like how many headshots you got. Most players will not care, but for a small group, this will keep them playing a game long after they beat it. There's also a few more mini-games includes such as base jumping, golf, and probably the one that will get the most laughs, dancing. You heard me right, or read me for that matter, dancing returns. Last seen on GTA San Andreas, dancing adds a little rhythm game to the mix, and where you may smile a bit is when you partake in a group dance. Something about seeing a group of video game characters doing the Electric Slide makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. Then there's a set of Drug Wars that's available for your standard turf wars type scenario. Finally, you can manage the clubs that Gay Tony owns which will consist of a few quick missions from throwing some drunks out of the bar or helping some celebrities to make sure they have a good time. A fight club has been added for some bare knuckle fighting to make the time pass by.
Being that the game uses the same engine, there are very little improvements on the graphics. It's more about cleaning up the visuals making them look neater and less washed out making for a more polished look to the game. A few more songs and radio segments have been added to the already massive music on the in game radio stations. Like the other games, voice actors are not well known actors or anything, but they still do a great job. Luis and Gay Tony have an especially unique dialogue that is entertaining on its own.
Keeping with just to story missions will keep you occupied a good 8-10 hours with plenty of action on the side to make GTA The Ballad of Gay Tony well worth the price of $20. While not a lot of new changes to gameplay as the Lost and the Damned, there's still enough game here to make it feel more than just a few new missions to do.