What do you think of the new storyline and theme?
"I’m actually really excited by it. Just getting to see another side of GTA IV’s story is interesting to me at this point, but I like that they’ve taken it in a more lighthearted, colorful direction, because The Lost and Damned’s grain filter gave the proceedings a more depressing, joyless feel than I think Rockstar intended. Everything’s big and loud and colorful and explosive." Mikel Reparaz
"I really like that Rockstar is using Luis’ position in the centre of the hedonistic and affluent club world as an excuse to go screaming-mad-bonkers with the gameplay and mission design. No longer do we start as a lowly crime-loving pauper scrabbling around for peashooter and cheeseknives." Dave Houghton
"The idea of focusing on Liberty City’s gay scene is interesting. I just hope they don’t treat it with the series’ usual broad-brush stereotyping - one Florian Kravich was enough, ta very much." Dave Meikleham
"The theme and storyline are spot on. They hark back to the colourful and comical world of Vice City and the amount of things to do (base-jumping) in San Andreas." Nathan Irvine
"I'm never massively fussed about storyline. As long as I get to do plenty of stupid crazy shit along the way in a GTA game, that's me happy. And Ballad of Gay Tony looks like it'll keep me happy." Matt Cundy
Is Luis Lopez a good choice as lead role?
"Yeah, he strikes me as an interesting guy. At first I was leery about playing as a character who’s at the beck and call of a single boss, but if you think about it, having to protect Tony and run missions for him probably won’t be all that different from Niko’s relationship with Roman." (MR)
"So far I have no reason to think that Luis is a bad choice, but I’ve seen nowhere near enough of his character to decide whether I really like the guy or not. At the moment he’s just another gritty, put-upon GTA anti-hero, but at the moment I’m happy to believe Rockstar will make him more interesting than that. Let’s hope it does." (DH)
"The only GTA lead I’ve ever really taken to was Tommy Vercetti. To be honest, I’m fed up with playing supposedly conflicted characters, trying to go on the straight and narrow that have an aversion to killing, who then go on to garrotte more people than Genghis Khan. Luis’ story looks like it might be set in this mould, which would leave me a bit cold." (DM)
"Not particularly. We’ve only seen a glimpse into what makes the guy tick, but he's a carbon-copy of Rockstar’s previous leads. Tough? Check. Shady past? Check. Torn between doing right and wrong? Check. Will kill indiscriminately either way? Check. Rockstar may have missed a trick by not making Gay Tony the lead. It would’ve been interesting playing as a gay man who'd rather swing a handbag than a baseball bat." (NI)
"Rockstar has gone to the trouble of giving the interface a completely fabulous makeover and the trailers suggested a dazzling neon sparkly disco-ball vibe. So I didn't get why I was playing as such a disappointingly not fabulous lead. Lopez looks like he would be at home in San Andreas. But here? He just doesn't feel like he fits the glitz." (MC)
What did you think of the new OTT weapons and vehicles?
"The weapons are fantastic, especially the auto-shotgun with its explosive shells. At the beginning of my hands-on time, they gave me a minute to just play around with the guns, and the devastation I was able to wreak on the cops was breathtaking." (MR)
"I judge the fun factor of video game hardware on my patented Scale of Giggle. If a gun makes me smile, I like it. If it makes me titter, it’s a winner. Gay Tony’s cranked-up death-kit took me from 0 - demented cackle in about 1.5 seconds flat." (DH)
"The new shotgun, which packs bus-bashing, copter-crashing explosive shells, is amazing. I kept deliberately failing missions simply because I couldn’t resist shooting the fuzz in the face. The new helicopter seems like a hoot, too, and was much easier to manoeuvre than GTA IV’s unruly whirlybirds." (DM)
"GTA’s going out with a bang in this one and the new assault shotgun and sticky grenades are there to encourage carnage in the most entertaining way possible." (NI)
"The exploding shotgun shells bring a new meaning to devastation. You want carnage? Holy shit kickers. This is two barrels of super-sized wrecking ball Armageddon carnage. If you've got a bad-tempered elephant, this is the gun that can take it down. Oh, and Sticky grenades + pedestrians = GOOD TIMES." (MC)