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Grand Theft Auto IV The Lost and the Damned XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.7
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.8
Value 8.9
Distributor: Rockstar
Review Date:
March 2009
Andrew Bistak


Grand Theft Auto IV
The Lost and the Damned

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Rockstar have created a truly unique addon for Grand Theft Auto IV called "The Lost and the Damned" which is a fully fledged GTA game that can be downloaded via XBox live. Unfortunately for PlayStation 3 users, this is a XBox 360 exclusive and unlike the Russian mafia in the previous installment, it's all about bikers!

The story revolves Billy Grey, the president of the Lost Motorcycle Club who returns to the world after spending time in rehabilitation. Unfortunately when Billy returns, he discovers that his club has turned into a professional criminal organisation and their gang arch rivals, The Angels of Death now have a strong truce with them.

Billy is a traditionalist biker with old school motivations and values and this new direction for the club doesn't sit too well with him which creates an uneasy tension with interim president Johnny. It's a classic Grand Theft Auto storyline that features strong social commentary about a variety of issues within the United States.

Of course, the classic gameplay of the series still remains, however where this current game does shine is through the characters, the story and good old fashioned action that in my opinion, makes this a more entertaining game than Grand Theft Auto IV. Unlike the aforementioned game, the characters in The Lost and the Damned are more relatable and realistic than the ultra violent, clichéd and gruff Nicko.

In its essence, the game is a true sandbox game that allows you to explore almost every facet of this fictional gaming city that contains a plethora of entertaining missions from easy to some quite difficult. Add in a wide gamut of mini-games that are all linked to the well scripted story and feeling the hum of the "Harley" really lets you get lost in this decent game.

The mini-games in the title are quite fun and involve activities like arm wrestling and even a Tetris clone which helps spice up the main gameplay or just gives you that entertaining break. Although some may see the Lost and the Damned a carbon copy of GTA IV as you are playing in the same city,  I tend to differ as it's a different perspective on this interactive world, told from the perspective of these rough and tough bikers that don't take no for an answer.

The elements that made GTA so strong are still present in the title from police chases to taking out competitors in some most unusual ways that when matched with the sandbox approach, it's almost up to the gamer and gives you a sense of ownership to what and when you want to do things. The developers have fixed some of the complaints from the previous game with the introduction of new checkpoints during missions which means you don't have to start from scratch again which is definitely the way the series should have started.

Once you have finished the single-player game which should take most gamers between 15 - 20 hours to successfully complete, it's time to take on multiplayer aspect. Rockstar have ensured that this is still a strong suite of the franchise and have added a new mode called Lone Wolf Biker that has the gamer playing against a team of gamers. Chopper vs Chopper is another great addition that lets gamers challenge each other with bikes and helicopters, you really need to see it in action to appreciate it. Of course, there's the classic Team Deathmatch and some other enjoyable multiplayer games that almost makes this more than just an addon.

Graphically, the title is on par as the previous game, Grand Theft Auto IV as it's virtually the same city, with new characters that are all extremely well animated and work well with the gaming environment. This is probably the most realistic virtual gaming city that I have seen and hopefully Rockstar can sell this engine to other developers, for instance, a Super Hero game set in the world of GTA would be fantastic. There's new radio stations which has always been a strong point to the series and needless to say, the voice acting of this current installment is extremely professional as per all good Rockstar games.

At the end of the day, GTA IV: The Lost and the Damned is a great addon for the series and is not just a quick money making addition to the series but rather something substantial to this franchise. With great characters, a brilliant gaming engine, there's little if any to complain about this addon that we could happily recommend to all people who have the original GTA IV and loved it. I think the addon is actually better as it's more contained and some of the nuisances have been fixed from the previous game.

Get your motor running and download this now!


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