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Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

A literal struggle with Billy is inevitable, of course. A blatant satire of the Bush administration, he comes tearing out of rehab eager to fight doomed wars against the rival Angels of Death (a clear analogue for the multinational Hell’s Angels) and anyone else who might start breathing down the Lost’s neck. There’s also Johnny’s meth-addled ex-girlfriend Ashley, who helps reveal Johnny’s softer side, but whose ravaged face and pathetic junkie excuses send a more powerful anti-drug message than a thousand lame PSAs.

And then there’s Congressman Stubbs, the obligatory politico in need of a henchman, who makes his debut showing off what might be the first non-user-created dick ever to appear in a console game.


Above: To see Stubbs' full naked glory, download the game

Speaking of Stubbs, we’ve got to hand it to Rockstar for coming up with new ways to make even jaded fans feel uncomfortable with their actions. The game frequently brings up the current recession, and it just so happens some of Stubbs’ biggest contributors might have directly caused it. Because they’re in police custody, he needs Johnny to rescue them and put them on the path to a country without extradition treaties. Yes, it’s only a game, but in this era of mass layoffs and whispers of a depression, that shit hits home. Which is probably the intent.

The story’s consistently compelling, but that doesn’t mean it always makes sense. It’s not always clear why Johnny commits certain crimes or kills certain people, and his ideals (and apparently diplomatic pre-game disposition) often go out the window if it suits a mission’s setup. It’s like Rockstar has mastered the art of creating sympathetic, world-weary criminals, but hasn’t quite figured out how to make that jibe with the mass murder and indiscriminate mayhem that GTA missions call for.

Story and missions and their occasional contradictions aside, The Lost and Damned brings a lot of new stuff to Liberty City. There’s no new island, although there are some new building interiors to explore (like the Lost clubhouse), and you’ll also have a few cool new weapons to play around with, including pipe bombs, a machine pistol, a grenade launcher and the monstrous “street sweeper,” an assault shotgun that fires shells at a rate of about six per second.

Being an American citizen, Johnny has the entirety of Liberty City open to him from the start (regardless of how far you’ve made it in Niko’s story). He also has his own friends, whom he can call up for the usual social activities (eating, bowling, going to see a show), as well as a few new ones (air hockey, arm wrestling and awful hi-lo card games). They almost never call him, though, which is great. Johnny doesn’t date, either, so don’t bother trying to scour Lovemeet or Craplist for new girlfriends.

If socializing with imaginary people isn’t your thing, the optional gang wars (which are really more like turf battles) and Road Rash-inspired races (in which you clobber opponents with a baseball bat) might be more your speed. They’re joined by new TV shows, websites, radio content (with new songs and new DJs, including Funkmaster Flex) and performances by stand-up comic Frankie Boyle. And if you’re still not satisfied, you can hunt down the game’s 50 hidden seagulls, assuming you’re some kind of masochist.

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55 comments

  • Greed - July 2, 2009 10:40 p.m.

    First!
  • Forsakenday - May 28, 2009 11:52 a.m.

    I got this recently and I love it. Its so awesome Johnny is badass. Get it if you got the money.
  • Japanjack - February 24, 2009 5:12 a.m.

    :/ Everything on Live Marketplace is getting more and more expensive . .
  • iluvmyDS - February 20, 2009 6:49 p.m.

    @understudybass: This is a multiplatform site. Just because Mikel is the Playstation editor doesn't mean he only reviews PS3 games. He took journalism for a reason. Besides, wouldn't only doing PS3 games make him "biased"? ;]
  • iluvmyDS - February 20, 2009 6:46 p.m.

    That's a lot of funny money to spend. Thanks Microsoft. It sounds worth it though.
  • Gameguy151 - February 19, 2009 1 p.m.

    just for the record, the "Assault Shotgun" is the DAD-X Protecta out of Army of Two. and for everyone wondering, TLAD gets that one point taken off for it's completely abrupt ending...
  • otharu - February 19, 2009 12:11 a.m.

    wow by minute 1:37 Niko appeared (i think)
  • fatcat275 - February 18, 2009 7:55 p.m.

    makes me wish i had x-box live even more. and a 360.
  • MilitaryRaiden - February 18, 2009 1:19 p.m.

    Great review and the added comparison between other DLCs an excellent option which keeps things in perspective: TLAD might be a game expansion but it sets the bar for DLC from now on - it's the closest thing to a whole new game and is much better than many games already on the market. I'm playing the game, taking my time and enjoying it immensely - the radio talk, the obscene variety of extras, the new weapons, music, bike-handling, the characters - amazing!! A must-buy-and-download all the way. But the first couple of hours trying to by-pass an idiotic region-lock for the dlc from 360 accounts across the map -from Switzerland and France to Australia along with some UK residents- was hellish and downright unnerving. Thank god M$ quickly resolved this issue...
  • theschwartzb - February 18, 2009 11:45 a.m.

    I wish that people like KakashiXIII would stop saying first on the comments, what is so great about being the first to comment, other than the fact that you spent your time hunting for an article on this site that had not been commented on yet? It makes you look especially moronic when you type FIRST OMFG ZOMG FIRSST FIRST when you actually are second.
  • Cwf2008 - February 18, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    Oh dear how else are videogame companies gonna extort money off crappy games? And i thought extortion was illegal anyway...so how do bungie and rockstar get away with it?
  • BeardGuy - February 18, 2009 3:26 a.m.

    So I was all set to download this today but my 360 crashed for the FOURTH time last night. How's that for bad timing? Does anyone else suffer from nervous breakdowns when their 360 dies?
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - February 18, 2009 3:08 a.m.

    @KillDrone: the You'll Love/You'll Hate sections of our reviews aren't meant to be taken as tacit summaries of why the games are getting the scores they're getting. They're an opportunity to sum up key issues, or to praise/dis/just generally recognize anything we didn't address during the review proper. If you want to know why Lost and Damned got a nine instead of a 10, read the review instead of just zeroing in on the last box.
  • super-saint - February 18, 2009 2:58 a.m.

    im dowlaoding it right now... unfotunalty its at at 40% and now i really really wnat to play it
  • Amatarasu - February 18, 2009 2:02 a.m.

    also,WHY THE HELL IS THIS TAKING SO LONG TO DOWNLOAD?!
  • heartskuppy - February 18, 2009 1:45 a.m.

    looks like i'll be renting a 360 some time in the near future.
  • Samael - February 18, 2009 1:37 a.m.

    Downloaded it today, very fun so far.
  • Ravenbom - February 18, 2009 1:15 a.m.

    Playstation Editor Wikiparaz reviewing an Xbox exclusive! Bias! GamesRadar is totally in Microsoft's pocket! Bias! :P j/k Semi-serious, shouldn't you give this a 10 so Rockstar doesn't hate you like they hate OXM for the GTAIV 9.5?
  • Ddz53 - February 18, 2009 12:50 a.m.

    Seems great
  • jamminontha1n2 - February 18, 2009 12:43 a.m.

    I hope they make a video guide of how to find the seagulls.

Showing 1-20 of 55 comments

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