Interesting storylines, fun gameplay in missions and mini-games, and diverse characters make each episode worth playing.
In The Lost and Damned Johnny Klebitz is the Jewish protagonist who is part of a biker gang known as The Lost. He regularly has differences with gang leader Billy Grey. It later turns into a case of betrayal by the gang leader and Klebitz will eventually have to become gang leader. This game makes you feel like teamwork is very important, as you must show loyalty to your fellow gang members and you must ride your motorcycle when taking them out to eat, dance, drink, visit strip clubs, or undertaking a story mission. The Lost and Damned includes new weapons such as a grenade launcher, pipe bombs, and shotguns. The shotguns are varied in that there are sawed-off ones and assault ones. It is possible to use shotguns while riding a motorcycles and wreak havoc, an ability that is not present in GTA IV. The side missions are a lot of fun, although it may feel repetitive to participate in gang wars after shooting it out with rivals so many times.
There are occasions in The Lost and Damned when Klebitz and GTA IV protagonist Niko Bellic will cross paths sporadically. This occurs in missions that are told from Klebitz's perspective rather than from Bellic's perspective.
The one problem that I found in The Lost and Damned as well as in The Ballad of Gay Tony is the occasionally bad AI. There are times when vehicle drivers drive like they are retarded or out of control. This is most evident when driving on the bridges of Liberty City. When a train passes through a bridge vehicles suddenly move from one lane to another. These sudden moves lead to annoying accidents and these moves are not necessary since the trains are using a railroad in the middle of the bridges.
The Ballad of Gay Tony stars Luis Lopez as the Dominican American guy with a criminal record. The narrative indicates that the friends from his Northwood neighborhood also have a criminal record. Lopez is basically a hired gun and engages in drug trafficking. Like Klebitz, Lopez will cross paths with Niko Bellic in some missions starting from the beginning when a bank robbery is committed by one of Bellic's friends. One great main story mission requires you to jump to the top of a train so that a Middle Eastern tycoon can steal the front car. The Ballad of Gay Tony is more varied with more activities than The Lost and Damned. There are mini-games that include dance competitions, champagne contests, and parachuting. There are a few missions that require parachuting and parachuting is plenty of fun and adventurous during those missions. There are other side activities such as underground cage-fighting and golf. They are at least as much fun as arm wrestling and hi-lo-card games available in The Lost and Damned. There is also the ability to use the helicopter in a few of the main story missions of The Ballad of Gay Tony. The helicopter is very entertaining to use for shooting at targets given to Lopez. In my opinion, The Ballad of Gay Tony is more challenging and more entertaining than The Lost and Damned, as The Ballad of Gay Tony has more varied side missions.
The graphics of GTA: Episodes from Liberty City are not bad, but they are showing a little of age. There is some clipping throughout the game. Hopefully, the next iteration of GTA will at least decrease the clipping issues. But the graphics issues are not so bad that they will discourage you from playing the game. There is the pleasant addition of the auto-save system that saves your game automatically after completing a main story or side mission. The auto-save system is not present in GTA IV. This system makes the game easier and less tedious especially if something goes wrong after completing a mission.
The main story missions and the activities on the side for each episode will keep you playing for dozens of hours. The storylines are intriguing, some of the characters are so over the top that they pique your interest, and the gameplay is a lot of fun. I think GTA IV fans and others will find plenty to enjoy in each of the two episodes offered by GTA: Episodes from Liberty City.