Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned Hands-On

We get our motor running and head out on the highways of Liberty City in this hands-on with the upcoming Xbox 360-exclusive expansion for Grand Theft Auto IV.

The Lost and Damned has been somewhat of a mystery thus far, with few concrete details known about the upcoming expansion to Grand Theft Auto IV other than that it would focus on a brand-new protagonist (biker Johnny Klebbitz) and that it would add plenty of content in the form of new music, rides, weapons, and characters. So as you can imagine, we have been keen to find out more and jumped at the chance to roam the streets of Liberty City again when Rockstar opened up its offices to us this week for an early look.

Is he lost, or damned? Answers on a postcard...

From what we saw at our hands-on session, The Lost and Damned expansion is certainly much more than horse armor or a few extra added missions. Rockstar claims this Xbox 360-exclusive addition features the same attention to detail and production values as the original Grand Theft Auto IV. While we couldn't pin down our local Rockstar rep on exactly how many extra hours of playtime goodness 360 owners can expect, it seems that there will be plenty to do as you explore this new story set in a familiar place. The biggest GTAIV fans will, unsurprisingly, get the most out of The Lost and Damned, with seemingly plenty of nods to Niko Bellic and a difficulty level that presumes from the get-go that you know your way around Liberty City.

Unlike the mostly solitary fish-out-of-water tale that was Niko Bellic's narrative in GTAIV, Johnny's journey in The Lost and Damned is more about brotherhood. So while Niko--a new arrival in Liberty--had to work at getting safe houses and contacts for guns, backup, and cars, Johnny (as a longtime resident of the city) will have all these at his disposal right from the start of the story. Safe houses are where you can interact with your other brothers in the Lost, with new minigames such as arm wrestling and card games joining old favorites like pool. There will be plenty of missions where you'll ride out as part of a pack of Lost, with your brothers helping you out in the tougher firefights. You'll be encouraged to keep your bros alive, and surviving members of your gang will receive a stats boost to their health, accuracy, and damage dealing after each mission. If a Lost member does die, he'll be replaced with a new brother with set-to-zero stats. Simply put, the longer they stay breathing, the more help they'll be. And the attempts to make you feel like a member of a real biker gang don't stop there. When you're riding with your gang, a Lost logo will appear on the road to indicate where you need to be in order to stay in formation. If you stick to the logo, you'll be rewarded with dialogue with your brothers, as well as a small health boost.

Here's Johnny... Expect fireworks.

Main character Johnny is the second-in-command of the Alderney-based biker gang The Lost, while gang president Billy is serving a stint in rehab. The Lost and Damned begins with the violent and unstable Billy finally making it out of rehab, taking the reins of the gang back from the more profit-oriented Johnny. Billy's first order of business is to shoot a member of rival gang The Angels of Death directly outside the Lost clubhouse, ending the truce Johnny brokered and sparking off a new gang war. The Rockstar rep had control of the demo at this stage, taking Johnny as he and the rest of the Lost got on their hogs to chase down the remaining Angels as they sped away from the clubhouse. It was here that we saw a new weapon--the sawed-off shotgun--which Johnny used one-handed to bring down the Angels. We also saw the first of the new vehicles promised: the Hexer, Johnny's custom-built bike, which is unique in the game. And when we say unique, we mean it--apparently there is no way to recover the bike should it get destroyed during a mission.

We grabbed the controls at this stage and set about walking Johnny around to see how different a character he was to Niko. He certainly acted differently onscreen, exhibiting a unique set of mannerisms from what we were used to with Niko. The first mission we took on was called Action/Reaction, in which Billy ordered the Lost to attack the Angels' clubhouse in retaliation for the supposed murder of a young Lost member (fans of GTAIV, however, will remember that it was actually Niko who capped that biker in the No Love Lost mission). Johnny starts the mission off with a grenade launcher, pegging an explosive through the Angels' clubhouse window to start the pain. Plenty of Angels then stream out of the building, starting a large firefight with the five or so members of the Lost who are acting as backup. After the opposition is cleaned up outside, Billy and Johnny make their way into the clubhouse to finish off the remaining Angels. In the basement, Billy orders another Lost to take the Angels' stash of heroin, prompting Johnny to suspect that revenge was never Billy's motive for the attack.

The next mission we took on once again intertwined with a storyline from GTAIV. If you played the full game, you'll probably recall one mission called Blow Your Cover, where drug queen Elizabeta sent Niko and Playboy X to broker a heroine deal in some abandoned apartments. It seems that the heroine was actually the gear the Lost stole from the Angels, and Johnny hooked up with Niko and Playboy X to try to sell the smack. In The Lost and Damned, you'll play this mission, now called Buyer's Market, from Johnny's point of view. Of course, the deal ends up being a police sting, and while Niko escapes by heading to the rooftops and sneaking away, Johnny decides to go the direct route downstairs and take on the cops. This is, of course, a pretty tough option, because there are plenty of police with heavy armor standing in between Johnny and the Hexer. We're not ashamed to say we found this fight quite tough, but it's going to be a good challenge for experienced GTA veterans..

The Lost and Damned starts off pretty tough--but Liberty City veterans probably won't mind.

The final mission we played harked back to the old on-rails shooting challenges of previous GTA games. In the Shifting Weight mission, yet another drug deal goes wrong, and Johnny and Uptown Riders gang members Malcolm and DeSaun have to flee the police. You control Johnny as he rides on the back of Malcolm's motorbike. The Lost gang member is armed with a cool automatic shotgun with unlimited ammo, which is handy given that dozens of police cars are in pursuit. This section was pure fun, with a palpable adrenaline rush as you pound police car after police car (and even two low-swooping police helicopters) with shotgun pellets as you zoom through the city.

From our brief hands-on with The Lost and Damned, it's clear the expansion will feature the same mature narrative, great voice work, and action-packed mayhem of GTAIV. It's especially rewarding to see the intertwining stories of Johnny and Niko play out. We'll have more on The Lost and Damned in the weeks leading up to its release in mid-February, so keep it locked to GameSpot for more information.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

489 comments
NightXElite13
NightXElite13

I reckon it's ok, but not great. 'cause the story isn't as lengthy or fun as GTA IV, and The Lost and Damned in't in full HD(1080i,1080p), its only 720p. It's the only Xbox 360 game i've played that's not full HD: (

AssassinJul95
AssassinJul95

Looks awesome...probably even better than the original GTA IV imo...

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

they already got their money for it from microsoft. they paid em off to keep the first two expansions from going to PS3 or PC

manofcars
manofcars

why in the world would they only come out with the expansion on xbox 360? They could have made a ton of money if they have made a PS3 version too. I know I would have bought it if it came out on PS3! Beside, Grand Theft Auto was originally on PlayStation when it first hit the consoles, not xbox. That didn't com til San Andrea's! So why should Rockstar switch over to Xbox 360 when PS3 has way more potential. And what happened to the PC update for all that matter?

tevic
tevic

How is it GS didn't do a proper *review* of TLAD, this is ridiculous, and all the more confusing as there is no obvious mention of TLAD in the main GTA4 review.

cmdcanito1984
cmdcanito1984

this game brings sum of san-andreas's ideas to the table and makes them better, its more rpg like/gang members follow u around/and its way more mature than gta4, not to mention the other new add-ons

driftster7788
driftster7788

Dudes this expansion kicks ass too the max! i can honestly say its worth 20 dollars and worth playing. the sawedoff shotgun owns. Also, it has some great deathmetal to listen to while you kill **** and run over people. i got my download for 18 dollars XD HELLL YEEEAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GameFreak523
GameFreak523

The only annoying thing is that you need to have GTA IV to play it. Which means I would have to sell my PS3 version and buy that.

beothees
beothees

DaveA6489 Its a download as far as I know, not a actual game...

ratavaquera
ratavaquera

bibbistorie wrote: dose anyone else have graphics problems when they install it to the hard drive on the 360? Yup, if you install the game you will suffer extreme texture popping

DaveA6489
DaveA6489

Damn this looks good :D I get the feeling I may hve to pre-order this...

simonsworld
simonsworld

oh yea looks dam good,gonna spank some tight rim pipes oh yes baby,oh yes

method115
method115

@toaman please dont tell me which GTA game is better. It's pure opinion this is my favorite in the series simply because of all the things you mentioned in the beginning that with the amazing graphics are great.

method115
method115

@Ssmokes yea the story sounds great. I can't wait, a great day to be an 360 owner.

method115
method115

@transmit You need to be dissappointed in Sony they had the chance to get the DLC. I had PS3 and this is one of the few reasons I sold it and got a 360. I could have had both systems but thats just dumb to me. I like only having one system I had MS and love Sony but they just didn't get it done this generation.

bibbistorie
bibbistorie

cant wait i loved the game when it first came out but then got court iup in all the comments complaining about how it dosnt have this and that which turned me of it for a while but now im back and loving the game like im playing it for the first time. dose anyone else have graphics problems when they install it to the hard drive on the 360?

Giants42
Giants42

All of the new additions are great, but where are the RHINO TANKS and FLAMETHROWERS! I WANT TO BLOW S**T UP!

tramsit
tramsit

Probably a deal with microsoft to get rid of the last of the crapboxes before they bring out a new system ..... this is pathetic it isnt coming out on PS3 and doesnt have a release date so much so I traded my copy of GTAIV for Shaun White Snowboarding which sux aswell..... dissapointed in you rockstar games.......

bumpies
bumpies

man i love gta4 i still play it everyday but its too bad i have a ps3 i might just have to buy a xbox aswell just for this game

lgevo
lgevo

it has new multiplayer options but no one knows yet.

Sparky2002
Sparky2002

Man I hope im wrong but gut feeling thier going to do a damn SIMS on us,

Sparky2002
Sparky2002

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Sparky2002
Sparky2002

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lexluxon
lexluxon

This game would be that much better if they made it so everything you get in the new game, goes into the old game (like fallout). and it would make a beast of a game if you can like have a squad or a team or whatever, like godfather 2? You can like tell them what to do and move them around, stuff like that...It'd make the game that much better

BioShockOwnz
BioShockOwnz

This looks almost like an entirely new game. And all for $20? Insanity, I tell you! Day one buy, without a doubt.

nathace
nathace

if it had multi player in it it would have said im shure they would of made it 1 of the top things to brag about dont u?

jimbo_24
jimbo_24

this better not be like 10 missions long

diamond2d
diamond2d

ZZZzzzzz GTA IV suks, Saints Row 2's much better... wel gameplay wise

Vvgamepro
Vvgamepro

Anyone have any idea whether this will have an included multiplayer like GTAIV?

Machallo
Machallo

yeah, i remember this mission too :)

thesimpsonsno1
thesimpsonsno1

i remember when roman got kidnapped he told niko he got taken by some bikey guys, hopefully that will be a mission :D

lordrave
lordrave

@kaiokenx100 they gave DLC for free after some few times, like Halo add-on maps, maybe.. Btw, they also gave expansion for Fable 2 knothole for free. Well, same goes to games industry, they never let us get their stuff for free =)

Gtgamer13fresh
Gtgamer13fresh

It cost $20 or 1600 MS points. Has you can see its fairly cheap for an all new storyline and weapons such has: grenade launcher, pistol, machine gun, and a sawed-off shottie.

ryanc_xbox
ryanc_xbox

this looks insanely good, i love the way rockstar have put in a new character instead of using niko again. as good as the other gta's were being a african american gang guy got very old by the last game. with a bikie as the character its going to be a new great experience. icant wait

kaiokenx100
kaiokenx100

Are you kidding me? when was the last time Microsoft gave ANYTHING for free, they'd charge you to breathe if they could! Also RE 5 is just different entirely bro, two different gamestyles and genres, still look forward to it, trust me its good.

Cidious84
Cidious84

Does any1 know if this expansion pack gonna be free or are we gonna have 2 use Microsoft Points ?

toma91
toma91

For me its: 1. GTA IV 2. GTA:VC 3. GTA3 4. GTA:SA Not including PSP ports because though they were fun, they sucked

Thing2
Thing2

vice city was the best gta ever =p

salman06p0020
salman06p0020

Cool. I hope they release it on PC too. Until then Xbox360 owners rejoice.

torontomapleafs
torontomapleafs

I'm looking foward to this more than RE 5 so it better be as good as it sounds.

8smokes
8smokes

This new perspective on Liberty City is going to be awsome! Also, it's really interesting how everything fits in with the plot of GTA IV. If I do recall, After the "No Love Lost" mission, Weasel news reports that a gang war just recently sparked between the Lost and the Angels of Death, and the death of the new Lost memeber is probably a result of a gang shootout. I guess the war started when Billy ordered the Lost to kill an Angel member. Now that's interesting!

bukkookkub
bukkookkub

looks good, although i hope the end up releasing it for the ps3 sometime. Unfortunately I HAVE to wait..

toaman89
toaman89

Here's the thing with GTA IV, it's graphics are a huge improvement over previous installments. The combat system has received a much needed overhaul and the storytelling and voice acting have never been better. However, when you compare GTA IV to say.....San Andreas, just take a look at how much you could do. The map was much larger than IV's and you could honestly look around San Andreas and felt like you owned the place. There was just so much more to do and that's always been a central theme of the GTA series. GTA IV is NOT better than San Andreas, but it's not horrible either. After you're done with the missions that's really it, not much else to do. This DLC could give it more of an edge. Hopefully we'll have more to do. As far as exclusivity for the 360 is concerned, that's just the way consoles work. We all know that whether we want admit it to or not. I have a 360, I'd love to play MGS4, but I'm not going to buy a PS3 and I'm not going to complain that it's only on the PS3. Exclusivity will continue to exist as long as companies make money.

vedomedo
vedomedo

can't wait, sounds awesome!