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Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City review

GTA IV's downloadable episodes drop together in one mayhem-filled package


  • Two complete
  • kickass GTA adventures on one disc
  • Injects Liberty City with tons of new activities
  • Mid-mission checkpoints are a huge improvement


  • No extras on the disc
  • Lost and Damned's bleakness verges on depressing
  • PS3 and PC owners still left out in the cold

It’s strange to think that, as of this writing, Grand Theft Auto IV is more than a year and a half old. It’s even stranger to think that the story it began is finally complete, with the two downloadable episodes – The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony – filling in plot holes and offering up inventive new ways to explore the city that most GTA fans probably thought they’d exhausted of possibilities by now.

Above: Looks like you’ve got some more exploring to do

The episodes follow the stories of biker-gang lieutenant Johnny Klebitz and club-owner flunky Luis Fernando Lopez, both of which take place in roughly the same timeframe as, and run parallel to, the events of GTA IV. The three storylines frequently intersect, and only by playing through all three of them can you really get a complete picture of what happens, and why.

If you haven’t downloaded either add-on yet, then you might want to consider picking up Episodes from Liberty City, which collects them both on one disc that you don’t need Grand Theft Auto IV to play. It doesn’t offer any new features over the downloadable editions, unless you count a static game-select screen as a “feature,” but if you lack the time or the bandwidth to wait for the lengthy downloads, or just don’t have GTA IV, this is the best way to get your hands on them.

Above: Seriously, this screen is the only thing the disc version has over the downloads

Besides, while the episodes are just add-on expansions by themselves, bundling them together makes for one badass, two-part adventure that easily rivals GTA IV’s greatness and makes Episodes from Liberty City – and the score we’ve attached to it – a little greater than the sum of its parts. In short, it’s awesome, and if you’re any kind of GTA fan and haven’t played the episodes, you should pick this up immediately. Here’s what to expect:

The Lost and Damned

While GTA IV’s story is far from cheery, The Lost and Damned takes the game’s tone in an even bleaker direction, even going so far as to add a grain filter to make everything look as washed-out and depressing as its protagonists. Focusing on an aging, decaying biker gang called The Lost, TLaD introduces players to Johnny Klebitz, who has held the gang together while its belligerent leader was in court-ordered rehab – and who is then forced to watch as said leader comes back and tears it all apart in the name of nothing more than petty greed and the thrill of living fast.

Above: Not that Johnny is exactly a saint, of course

While TLaD’s story offers up a look at the grungiest aspects of Liberty City’s already-seedy underworld, it also brings a raft of new gameplay features and improvements, not the least of which is the ability to stay on your bike if you suffer a minor collision. Throw in sidekicks who level up the more they’re used, a few new weapons and new, biker-centric multiplayer modes, and The Lost and Damned is a fun – if unrelentingly gloomy – romp through GTA’s even-rougher side. For a full rundown, check out our Super Review:

Above: Click the image for the full review!

More Info

DescriptionEnjoy GTA IV but don't have the internets to get the DLC? Well just in time for the second episode, here's a disc that contains both DLC episodes (The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony) and you don't even need GTA IV to play it. Taken together, these give a new and amazing experience based around an already phenomenal game.
Franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
UK franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
PlatformXbox 360, PS3, PC
US censor ratingMature
UK censor rating18+
Alternative namesGTA IV: The Lost and Damned, GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Release date29 October 2009 (US), 29 October 2009 (UK)


After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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