GTAIV: The Lost and Damned Impressions

The first downloadable episode for Grand Theft Auto IV is a great excuse to revisit Liberty City.

Downloadable content isn't something that we review right now, but that doesn't mean that we don't have anything to say about a release as significant as the first downloadable episode for Grand Theft Auto IV. If you've come here looking for a recommendation on whether or not you should buy The Lost and Damned, the short answer is that if you enjoyed GTAIV, I can't think of a better way for you to spend $20 when it hits Xbox Live tomorrow. If you want to know exactly what's included in the download, then keep reading. I had an opportunity to play through the entire Johnny Klebitz storyline using an advance copy of the DLC on one of our debug consoles last week, and I promise I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

The first thing I think you should know about The Lost and Damned is that it's best played after you've already beaten (or at least played a long way through) Niko Bellic's story in the original game. That's because the two protagonists' paths cross on occasion, and Johnny could conceivably spoil some of Niko's surprises for you. It could also be said that Niko spoils some of Johnny's surprises of course: The Lost and Damned doesn't just acknowledge that you've likely already beaten GTAIV, but it also delights in it and affords you an opportunity to see key events and characters from a different perspective.

Obviously I don't want to talk too much about Johnny's story, but what I will say is that it's 20 or so missions took me the best part of 10 hours to play through and that the narrative was every bit as compelling as Niko's. Where gameplay is concerned, the new missions aren't radically different from those in GTAIV, but there are some great new weapons to play with (the grenade launcher and assault shotgun are favorites), and you'll find that a number of them--including pipe bombs and the sawed-off shotgun--can be used while riding a bike. Bikes are a lot easier to ride with Johnny at the handlebars than they were for Niko, but they're still prone to getting thrown up into the air unrealistically if you hit a curb or another small object at the wrong angle and speed.

While we're on the subject of bikes, much is made at the start of The Lost and Damned about the fact that Johnny's ride is unique and that, supposedly, it can't be replaced if you let it get destroyed. Based on my own experiences with it, I suggest you not worry about it too much--not only are there plenty of better bikes in Liberty City, but Johnny's custom Hexer has a habit of finding its way back to you anytime you lose it. I parked a completely different bike outside a Burger Shot one time, and after I was done eating, I walked outside to find that it had been replaced with the Hexer. Another time, shortly after parking the Hexer outside the gang's clubhouse and going inside to save my progress, I walked outside to find two of the "unique" bikes parked next to each other. Obviously none of this stuff really impacted my enjoyment of the game, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

The quality of the missions varies somewhat, as does their difficulty, but there are some really great ones in the mix, and if you fail one at any time, you can restart from a checkpoint within the mission rather than from the very beginning--an option I'd have welcomed in the original game. I didn't spend nearly as much time riding alongside the rest of the Lost gang as I was expecting to in the story missions, but I did take advantage of the option to call brothers in for backup once or twice when things got tough.

In addition to the story missions, there are a number of optional missions that you can undertake for characters old and new, and two new activities that are very much in keeping with the biker theme. The first, which I had no idea about going into the game and was thrilled to discover, is a series of 12 bike races in which you can use a baseball bat to attack opponents on either side of you. I was a huge fan of Road Rash back in the day (who wasn't?), and I suspect that if that series were still going it would have evolved into something resembling these races by now. The second is a gang war system that highlights the locations of enemy biker gangs on the map so you can go and do battle with them alongside a few of your crew. There are 25 gang-war scenarios to play through, and while they generally don't take very long, they're a lot of fun while they last.

Other additions to Liberty City are less significant, but taken as a whole they go a long way to making The Lost and Damned feel more fresh than DLC for an existing game has any right to. There are loads of new bikes and a few other new vehicles on the roads, there are new arm wrestling and hi-lo-card minigames (don't get too excited about those), and those pigeons you could exterminate in GTAIV have purportedly (I say that because I've yet to see one) been replaced with 50 equally hard-to-find seagulls. There's new content to find on the in-game Internet, there are new shows on the TV (check out the new episode of Republican Space Rangers if you're not easily offended), more than 50 new music tracks have been added to the radio stations' playlists, and there's even a new comedy act all the way from Scotland.

Even the visuals in The Lost and Damned feel a little different from those in GTAIV. A muted color palette and an optional noise filter that's turned on by default give the episode a grittier feel than the original, and Rockstar North's attention to detail even runs to equipping Johnny with a cheap old cell phone. Like Niko's before it, said phone can be used to get into multiplayer games, and this time there's an instant action option that lets you bypass the lobby system and get right into a game. New multiplayer modes include Bike Races, Chopper vs. Chopper, Club Business, Lone Wolf Biker, and Own the City, as well as biker-gang-flavored Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch variants. At the time of writing I'm afraid I haven't had a chance to check out any of the new multiplayer modes for myself, but after reading Brian's recent Lost and Damned multiplayer preview, I can't wait to do just that.

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338 comments
Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@stephSpot you just STUPID or what!! GTA actually first released on PCs not Playstation!! the only Playstation can do is stealing franchise from their original platform!! just look about Battlefield, Call Of Duty, GTA, Fallout, Dragon Age, Mafia, Deus Ex, Portal, Wolfenstein, Unreal Tournament !! & many of them first released from PCs.. now ported for wannabe PC system!! called PS3 lol ;) at least learn somethin' do ya!! :D

Tommy21030
Tommy21030

Start GTA IV. Any saved game slot will do. Then hit start and go to the game menu and go to load game. Select new and the option for The Lost and The Damned should be there if you saved to the HD.

metalheadg
metalheadg

Ive just downloaded it and i cant find how to play it ive tried loading the game then starting a new game to get the option but it still wont work. Do you have to be signed into xbox live to play it????

konvict67
konvict67

@ KingJduro Thats because you need to load a game in GTAIV and then go to options >> game then create a new game (this will give you the option of L+D or GTAIV). Took me some time also :P

KingJduro
KingJduro

I recently download the lost and the damned i have gta IV in the 360. For some odd reason i cant seem to find the pack to actually play it, the very first time it came up i didnt have a chance to save. Now I WANNA Play but I cant find the game. I have downloaded it 3 times and i still cant find it need help!

tevic
tevic

"Downloadable content isn't something that we review right now" Why ??? GS, evolve ! all the other sites did one. This DLC is the size of a full game, so it should be reviewd, no ? Also it is confusing because there is no clear link between this page and the main TLAD page, nor of TLAD in the main GTA4 review.

sullylarkin09
sullylarkin09

does any one know if this game can cause the red ring of death cause when my 360 crashed with the red ring of death i was playing it and i was wanting to know if it would be safe to play it on my new one

tonyhawksP8
tonyhawksP8

Yay! Road Rash got mentioned that was a special game.

Romeric87
Romeric87

Best DLC ever. Rockstar are really good at this. I was worried before this came out on so many levels, but once again they have delivered big-time. Love the new story, bike physics, guns and characters. If nothing else this is a great reason to return to Liberty City.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

right so ive been reading alot of comments and ive had enough of so many sony bum-boys going on about the PS3 aint getting DLC for games like GTA or FO3. shut up...., the PS3 has some many exclusive games its rediculious, its about time the x360 gets a damned exclusive. the PS3 has great games, resistance, metal gear, and your complaining...get over it. and this isnt timed, microsoft paid yes PAID with money for this exclusive. the only way sony could get it is if they pay for it but we all know sony cant beat MS when it comes to money. have a go at sony for no being bothered, and one more thing, Bioshock is getting exclusive DLC for the PS3 so shut up.

nypd66
nypd66

what are the trying to do to us do they want us to by a clone of gta4 accept with a different character? this worlds jacked up

clue942
clue942

the gang wars seem intense, kinda like how they were on san andreas

man-man-man
man-man-man

u cannot buy it . it's a dlc so u ,ust download it from xbl.

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

Go buy it in store as you get a poster and 500 mpoints plus gtaiv gamerpics from preorder time last year.

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

Its absolutely pathetic to hear the jealousy and denial in ps3 fanboys posts. Do you people not understand what this exclusive dlc to XBOX 360 means? Do you not understand what Partly developed by MICROSOFT means? It means SONY will NEVER EVER GET THIS AWESOME STUFF (20 new vehicles, 10 new weapons, 70 AWESOME new songs plus countless other enhancements go read my review). You have to admit you're wrong sometime don't you? Bite the bullet? No? Well go play your inferior version of gtaiv PS3 LOSERS. Rockstar rewards the true players!

moose_knuckler
moose_knuckler

50 million dollars....who did they kidnap, Chelsey Clinton? Anyways, I don't find it worth that much just for 2 dlc exclusives but time will tell.

guitarist131
guitarist131

Well first to all ps3 fanboys don't understand Microsoft pay 50 million dolars so this could be exclusive forever not timed forever so never this is gonna be on ps3 maybe for pc but not for the ps3 and if not believe check Rockstar web page . This is the first dlc for the xbox 360 there will be 1 more. Rumored that Microsoft wants to purchase Rockstar games rumored its not a fact only rumored

KingKevo71789
KingKevo71789

wish you guys had warned me about the um....massage scene...

Aang007
Aang007

someone plox list the weapons u get with this. I hate that u only get 2 sets on regular gta 4.

chris707
chris707

I own a 360 but i just love videogames altogether I could give a Sh*t bout this fanboy my console is better than yours rant. GTA basically just took a more realistic turn if you go past the gameplay and features, the storytelling is great people just feel that a gta game isn't a game if you cant drive a tank down the street. Second i'm with you PS3 owners you should've got the episode too seeing to the fact Sony did give Rockstar a leg up on the Playstation 2.

Hoski0999
Hoski0999

To all of you saying this is a XBL exclusive download and not available in stores i have a lil infor for ya lol. Gamestop sells and reserved codes for ppl so they could download it, sure you still have to get it off XBL but it can be purchased in stores lol. N dont come back at me saying well you can still only get it off of XBL, that is not the arguement, you guys are saying you can only BUY it off of XBL

amkalfus
amkalfus

gonna wait til i get a 360 for this game for sure!

Thaymez
Thaymez

Awsome!!! Full frontal nudity!

Skullcandy
Skullcandy

WHHHHHYYYYYY isn't DLC something GS would review. I'm pretty sure Braid was DLC and it received a GS award for some reason. Wake up and understand that more and more games will receive DLC as we march into the digital future. Get over yourselves and review the damn game.

vampiro1313
vampiro1313

gamespot may not review DLC (lame by the way), but if i could give it a score, i would give it about a 9. very well made, good voice work, and for $20 you get about as much game as you would for $60. my only gripe is that all the stuff( i.e. guns, bikes, etc.) doesn't port over to niko's story, which sucks cause i would have loved to play as niko with the assult shotgun. all in all though, well worth the purchase, OH!!, and there's full frontal nudity!!

sK2003
sK2003

"Only for XBOX ? what a shame... GTA was originally only for PlayStation, then for everything (and I have no proble about that), but an add-on only for XBOX when the original was for both is a shame!" Why dont you kids realize that GTA started off big on the PC in the late 90s and if it wasn't because of the success of the first two, your precious console ps2 gta3 wouldn't even exist.

systemfan1188
systemfan1188

Yeah you don't pay $25 million an episode for "timed" DLC. Anything after these two episodes MS owns - PS3 might get. I might have to re purchase this game - i wasn't real excited for this DLC - but I like the biker gang theme - and they added ALOT more than I thought. Hopefully the next episode they'll make a new part of the map...doubt it but it would be cool.

sK2003
sK2003

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

GhostfaceL94
GhostfaceL94

@ChandlerJ61 You are obviously stupid because i never said that GTA sucks. I said that majority of people do not like it and most of you fools said that GTA4 was one of the most overrated game.....

dark_aprentice
dark_aprentice

@ trapper94... no it is not a timed exclusive... Microsoft purchased the rights to both this and the next GTA4 DLC... So not only do PS3 owners not get this, they don't get the next DLC either... Ever... It is owned in part by Microsoft... i'll say.

astarothgate
astarothgate

glad to see them finally adding on to this...kinda weird to me that it would only be xbox exclusive when playstation started the console craze with this game. As far as the 360 vs. ps3 junk I'd have to say that I have always owned a playstation since the ps1 came out but when it came down to the ps3 I simply wasn't impressed at all and bought my first 360 the whole time regretting it solely because of FFXIII but low and behold ffxiii will be on the 360 too...seriously I'm starting to feel sorry for ps3 owners they need some much needed love

GamesMaster08
GamesMaster08

just completed it have to say the DLC is amazing its sooo good but the ending let me down man :(

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

hate to rain on your parade Trapper, but this isn't a "timed" exclusive. Unfortunately it will never see the light of day on the PS3 because Microsoft bought the rights to this, and the rights to the next DLC for gta.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

@Plasma-Dog Actually how do you know that if they released it on PS3 Rockstar would get more profits? We don't know how these things work [And as a side note, if MS was the one bankrolling production, of course MS isn't going to release it on PS3]. But more importantly, look at something like EA paying the NFL tons of money to have Madden be the exclusive NFL game. You'd think the NFL made more money when 2K and other developers made football games too and paid the NFL royalties for the license. But EA and the NFL went ahead with it anyway. Doesn't make sense to me either but obviously it must make the most financial sense to them or they wouldn't do it. As I said, as a PS3 owner, it sucks. But we don't know the ins and outs.

dp909
dp909

um what is up GameSpot's ass? ohhh we don't review DLC ... who cares? review this ... it's a big deal numb nuts. fan's wanna know what's up with it. plenty of other gaming website's WILL review it and fans will go there for it if you don't got it.

Squeets
Squeets

@ trapper94... no it is not a timed exclusive... Microsoft purchased the rights to both this and the next GTA4 DLC... So not only do PS3 owners not get this, they don't get the next DLC either... Ever... It is owned in part by Microsoft...

moose_knuckler
moose_knuckler

I betcha that when the 2010 game awards start we'll start seeing awards for DLC's for games, not like extra maps but stuff in the category of Lost and Damned. Soon we could have exclusive DLC for multi-platform games start becoming more of a craze than exclusive games themselves (doubt it but it certainly is possible). Although, the down-fall would be another reason for fan-boys to start arguing about "which DLC is better" haha now that would look totally pathetic.

trapper94
trapper94

the DLC is a timed exclusive...Like Boishock was, we got it with in a year, so I belive that we will get this DLC with in a year.....Suplax.

suplax
suplax

Hahahahahah . XBOX PWNZ To bad for ps3 dudes... i will play... you not...

jenagrad2003
jenagrad2003

you can purchase a redeemable card in stores but you still have to download it via x-box live. therein lies the confusion. but it is strictly dlc

kenny911sp
kenny911sp

mrexamm This is X-Box DLC exclusive not in stores

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

Coming to a PS3 near you! (not, RS joins the long list of Micro$oft sell outs, the crowd at the Alter Of Bill is getting many rows deep)

mrexamm
mrexamm

This is available in stores, too.

Mighty_Tyr
Mighty_Tyr

"Downloadable content isn't something that we review right now" Why not? It's an expansion pack, isn't it? You reviewed Shivering Isles and Knights of the Nine for Oblivion. Just because they were available in stores and not only on XBL Marketplace shouldn't matter. I could understand not reviewing it if it's just some miscellaneous DLC, like if it was just a package with some new vehicles, weapons and clothes or something but this seems to be a full-fledged expansion that adds quite a bit of new content to the game

choburen
choburen

Also, if the new graphics are p##sin you off, go into game options and turn off noise filter option. Graphics revert to normal GTA4 style! Oh and yeah, not only has this DLC messed up its own multiplayer options but it has also changed the settings on the original GTA4 multiplayer! I cant even play that online anymore! I'd love to slap someone at Rockstar! What a bunch of turds!

choburen
choburen

Why is everyone moaning about 360 v's PS3? Who cares!! Why is no one else complaining that Rockstar have F'd up the multiplayer on 360 with this DLC, bigtime?! Have none of you tried it online yet? I've been looking forward to this for months, what a huge dissappointment! Ps3 owners, you're missing F all! Once the DLC missions are complete there's nothing to keep you coming back to it anymore! No autoaim disable anymore, no friendly fire enable & no cops in free mode! It's been reduced to ponceing about in cars and wandering around pointlessly on foot, i might as well just go for a stroll through my home town! You cant even kill other players by running them over, how gay

ELICBELICBOOM
ELICBELICBOOM

Not fair, do you want to tell me I cant get it because I dont want to have xbox ???

ELICBELICBOOM
ELICBELICBOOM

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

stephSpot
stephSpot

Only for XBOX ? what a shame... GTA was originally only for PlayStation, then for everything (and I have no proble about that), but an add-on only for XBOX when the original was for both is a shame!