GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Spare a moment to consider the poor sods that only own the PC and PS3 versions of Grand Theft Auto IV. Not only have they already missed out on the first Xbox 360 exclusive episode, The Lost and Damned, they're also missing out on its follow up, the curiously titled Ballad of Gay Tony. Mainly revolving around the heart of LC's nightlife in Algonquin amid the glitz and glamour of the city's glitterati, BOGT is a much different prospect to Lost and Damned.
Where Lost and Damned was a taut, dramatic yarn centred around Johnny Klebitz - the tough, reliable core of a fierce Hell's Angels gang, all filtered through a grimy lens, Ballad of Gay Tony is a combustible mirrorball, draped in fluorescent colour that swaps motorcycles, baseball bats and the smell of oil for expensive cars, excessive glamour and sparkly bling. This is less a ballad, more a riotous symphony of explosive action and wanton destruction.
Our good friends at Rockstar recently invited us over to their London base to get some hands-on time with the upcoming DLC chapter and with the sound system cranked and the enormous telly fired up, we step into the shoes of the titular crime boss's personal bodyguard, Luis Lopez, venturing balls deep into Liberty City's seamy underbelly once again.
Gay Tony's protagonist will be familiar to those who remember him lying on the floor during the 'Four-Leaf Clover' heist mission, but rest assured he can handle himself just as capably as Niko or Klebitz. And he just so happens to be packing the best weapons set to ever feature in a GTA title, more on which in a bit.
First we're shown a mission where Luis teams up with a heavy named Timur, as the pair infiltrate the offices of the Liberty City Rampage ice hockey team in a bid to raise Tony's stakes in the franchise which he's unwisely sold off at too low a price.
Luis and Timur attempt a stealthy entrance, only to be caught on CCTV making the only remaining option to go loud and waste the security guards. Luis can shoot steam pipes to scald unwitting enemies and slide between cover on his knees, which makes firefights feel incredibly dynamic, especially given the power of the new weaponry (we're getting to it, honest). Eventually, Luis fights his way to the top floor making his escape through an open window using the parachute, finally reinstated from San Andreas due to popular demand. Clearly, BOGT is all about the action.
As far Tony Prince's (that's Gay Tony in case you were wondering) financial problems are concerned however, ice hockey shares are just the tip of the iceberg and raising some extra cash to keep the creditors at bay is the name of the game. Tony's part of the old guard, the king (or should that be queen) of Liberty City who is on his way down, so Luis must run errands to help the floundering kingpin out wherever possible. As his henchman and business partner, it's in Luis' best interests to help Tony get back onto his feet and regain his position on the crime ladder. A serpentine plot full of double crosses, shady dealings and drama is of course a given, natch.
Despite your money troubles, you still get to roll around LC in style at the wheel of a Rolls-Royce Phantom convertible-esque ride and you have access to a ludicrous cache of hardware. Given the opportunity to go on a no-holds barred rampage to test out the brand new weapons, we whip out the new Assault Shotgun and blast away at a cop car, putting a huge dent in the bodywork and setting the engine on fire with a single shot. That's just for starters.