Storyline – Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony PC Review (5 out of 5)
The Ballad of Gay Tony follows Luis Fernando Lopez, a new member of the Dominican drug dealers group and a personal bodyguard to Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince, a social high-flyer and owner of two of the biggest nightclubs in Liberty City. Through the course of the episode Lopez will meet a variety of new and interesting characters, while fighting to survive in a world of guns, drugs and money as he fights to free his boss, Gay Tony, from the debts on his nightclubs. The conflicting loyalties facing Lopez play a massive part – with conflicting interests in Gay Tony, Lopez’ mother, his childhood friends, and a rich real estate developer named Yusuf Amir. Lopez must decide who is truly loyal toward if he is to achieve his goals.
One thing that the developers of the Grand Theft Auto series need to consider is the use of a non-linear storyline. With so many rich storyline areas there would surely be a way the player could be given a choice as to where their loyalties lie. However, in constructing such a wholesome story as Rockstar Games have managed to create, the linearness of the story must be expected.
Gameplay (5 out of 5)
The game features the same winning combination of the main game, with players able to choose their own way around, whether it be legal or highly illegal. There isn’t much that needs changing from the mold introduced in the full game, so The Ballad of Gay Tony retains a full score on the gameplay front.
One returning feature from the previous game in the GTA franchise, San Andreas, is the ability to parachute. This allows the player to BASE jump as well as skydive, allowing some well earned leisure on the way through the game’s main campaign. The parachuting feature has also been worked into a new online mode, allowing players to compete in base jumping contests, where they are not only able to piece together their own massive BASE jumping adventures, but also to sabotage their opponents, with conventional weapons or rotor blades.
Several new minigames have been introduced for The Ballad of Gay Tony. There is a driving range activity available to players looking to hone their virtual golf skills. Lopez is also able to attend Gay Tony’s nightclubs, where he can participate in drinking and dancing-based minigames. Lopez can also manage the club’s security. This involves dealing with unruly club patrons, and seeing to it that the other patrons are well catered for.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
The graphics of Grand Theft Auto IV are really starting to show their age. Through no fault of their own, due to an exclusive deal with the xbox 360, Rockstar Games have shot themselves in the foot, as players will not look at the graphics of this new expansion as anything more than weak, outdated and lacking any sort of edge.
That being said, players have never looked to Grand Theft Auto series as any sort of graphics-powered series, and the rich, powerful storyline and intuitive controls more than make up for this, and the graphics stand as simply a way of conveying these features to the player. The game’s HUD is completely usable, with simple maps and cartoon-style weapon icons to make sure the player is on top of the what is going on around them.
Sound (5 out of 5)
Despite the age of the base game, the sound in The Ballad of Gay Tony still stands up to any criticism. The characters of Lopez, Gay Tony and Yusuf are wonderfully voiced, as are all the characters in the expansion. Rockstar Games have done a terrific job selecting a voice acting cast, and some of the best characters from GTAIV and The Lost and the Damned make cameo appearances.
Apart from the voice acting, the overall sound quality is immense. The sound in the city setting is beautifully layered, and players will experience a living, breathing city with cars speeding by, trains rumbling past and pedestrians talking as Lopez passes by. The sound is by far the best part of the game, and players will be rewarded for paying attention to the world around them with humorous conversations and exchanges between pedestrians.
Verdict (5 out of 5)
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony is a very solid end to Liberty City’s story for the current iteration of Grand Theft Auto. It will feature a myriad of different activities, missions and characters to interact with, keeping the core strengths of Grand Theft Auto IV in the fore.
The Ballad of Gay Tony is not just a small pack of missions. It is a whole new game to itself, and the content it includes more than warrants the price tag. This reviewer would suggest that many would be willing to pay much more for a game of its worth.