The lights are on
>>GraphicsPoor. GTA IV'sengine has aged noticeably since 2008
>>TechnicalThe PC version is an atrocity of dropped framerates and lag
When you think about it, Grand Theft Auto IV is a colossal
game. Everything is scaled up to match Rockstar’s sizeable vision. Just like
Texas, everything is bigger in Liberty City. That includes downloadable
Where some games are content to release a few missions or
horse armor for DLC, Rockstar went all out for their first downloadable add-on.
The only way to match the sprawling size of Grand Theft Auto IV is to have a
similarly large DLC pack. The Lost and the Damned is more than a couple more
missions- it’s a full-blown story in its own right. As much as I loved Niko
Bellic and his world, Rockstar did the right thing by starting over with a new
protagonist, new side characters, and a tale separate from our favorite Eastern
The new guy on the scene is Johnny Klebitz, the vice
president of The Lost Motorcycle Club or “Lost MC.” As far as Rockstar
protagonists go, Johnny is a refreshing change. Niko and John Marston are both
perpetual outsiders who tolerate working for others in search of a greater
goal. They trust no one and believe in nothing except their own gain. Johnny
Klebitz is a bit different. He’s a guy who actually believes in something. His
life is all about his brothers in The Lost. Everything he does is calculated to
help the club and its members.
They need a hell of a lot of help, too. The club didn’t name
themselves “The Lost” for nothing. These are guys who are confused and don’t
know what to do with themselves. Instead of settling for a normal life, The
Lost MC does its best to break all the rules and screw over everyone they meet.
The Lost hate anything that is not part of the club.
The drive of Johnny and his gang to piss off the entire
world takes the story in some interesting places. Over the course of the tale,
The Lost MC is buffeted by betrayal and bad luck. By the time all the bullets
are done flying, everything has changed. I was satisfied with the ending,
although it didn’t really stand out.
That could be the epitaph on the gravestone of The Lost and
the Damned: Good, but nothing that stands out. The missions are fun but lack
the excitement of watercooler moments from IV. Really awesome stuff like the
bank robbery and helicopter chase are nowhere to be found in the DLC.
On the other hand, there is a lot of solid content. I
finished roughly a third of the side missions and the entire story mode in
about ten hours. That’s a pretty good amount of time for a DLC pack, especially
considering the amount of stuff I still never got around to doing. There are
gang shootouts and races aplenty that continue after the main story is done. Saddling
up with other bikers to take on a rival gang should keep anyone entertained.
You know, I take back that comment about The Lost and the
Damned not being exceptional. If there’s one thing this DLC is good at, it
would be making you really feel a part of a motorcycle club. The game strongly
encourages you to travel by motorcycle; something I felt was underutilized in
the main game of GTA IV. You can even call other members of The Lost and have
them bring you a bike.
When you get on said bike, the radio tends to switch itself
to the rock and roll station. Rolling down the highway with six other members
of The Lost at your back with Iron Maiden blasting from the radio was the
highlight of my time with The Lost and the Damned.
The club ethos extends to gameplay as well. If you’re going
on a tough mission, you can call two other bikers to ride with you as backup.
Members of The Lost are willing to fight and die for each other in battle,
something that makes missions a hell of a lot easier. The sometimes-caustic
difficulty in Grand Theft Auto IV is reined in with this addition of teammates.
It’s a lot easier to get stuff, too. Call the club, and
they’ll bring you a van full of illegal weapons. The new weapons are a delight
to use. Pipe bombs are essentially the same thing as grenades, but having a
fully automatic shotgun makes a hell of a difference in battle. Ditto for the
new sawed-off and automatic pistol. If I could get a samurai sword, this game
would be complete.
Speaking of cool new stuff, The Lost and the Damned features
entirely new content on the radio and TV. Radio is a mixed bag. The rock
station is dramatically improved with a fantastic mix of classic hits and more
obscure tracks, but the rest of the stations are noticeably worse. Worse of
all, Radio Broker sucks.
At least the new stuff on TV is funny. This DLC comes with
new episodes of Republican Space Rangers
and a new anime spoof, Princess Robot
Bubblegum. Republican Space Rangers
is hilariously vulgar and completely awesome. Seriously, it’s worth buying The
Lost and the Damned just for the two new episodes of RSR. They are brilliant. Princess
Robot Bubblegum was pretty good too, although I didn’t get a lot of the
jokes. This is what happens when you don’t watch anime.
The Lost and the Damned is not Grand Theft Auto V. Those of
you expecting another 60-hour epic, temper your expectations. This is a smaller
story intended to run parallel to Niko’s. It’s also not a mind-blowingly
amazing piece of gaming, but it is a lot of fun. If you enjoyed Grand Theft
Auto IV, then this DLC is a great excuse to spend some more time in Liberty
City. I was sad to see the story end when everything was done. It was a hell of
You know what they say… brothers for life, lost forever.