So you’re done with Nico Bellic and you’re itching for some more GTA action. Well thank the Lordy Lord for some truly decent downloadable content from Rockstar in the form of The Lost and Damned. This extra gameplay is absolutely huge, delivering over 10 hours of story gameplay, along with extra street races, gang wars and mini games to enjoy – as well as new music and TV shows to keep you amused if you’re fed up with shooting.
So what’s going on this time? Well, in a story running alongside Nico’s antics, you play as Johnny Klubitz, vice-president of biker gang The Lost. Since your big boss Billy’s been in rehab the streets have got safer and the gangs have been getting on pretty well. Of course, at the start of the game Billy’s released back into the community and the usual sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll antics begin.
The great news is that straight away, I was more engaged with these leather-clad thugs than I ever was with Nico. The conflict between Johnny and Billy bubbles like a pressure cooker and Billy reminds me of an intimidating Dennis Hopper when he’s being his most scary. Facial animations are superb and there’s a real sense of drama and pathos throughout.
So enough about the story and action, what’s it like to play? The good news is, as tight as ever. Most of the time you’ll be riding bikes around Liberty City and Rockstar have made them even smoother to control. They’re actually my number one choice of transport in this expansion and that’s definitely new for me. There’s also some cool new weapons, such as the sawn-off shotgun and a very tasty grenade launcher to scare your enemies witless.
When it comes to missions, there’s a variety of where and how you fight but it’s what you’d expect in terms of GTA. Ride somewhere, kill loads of people or nick something or blow something up, then go to the next mission, escape the cops or follow someone to a new location. Most of the time, you’ll have your gang with you to back you up who actually improve in combat as they go on missions with you without dying. Another great new addition is mid-mission checkpoints, something that will have you cursing less if you’re between locations in a mission and accidentally drive off a cliff or into the water.
So single player is typical GTA fodder with a little extra spit and polish, but there’s also so much more with new multiplayer additions. There are new street races on bikes where you fight on the move Road Rash style, new multiplayer battles titled ‘Witness Protection’ and ‘Own the City’ and a ‘Chopper vs Chopper’ mode where a bike takes on a helicopter.
There are some minor annoyances such as your team mates getting in the way in combat and on the road but these won’t spoil your fun in a major way. This has to be one of the best DLC packages there is – some would say it could have been released as a full price title all on its own so it can’t get any less than a great value 9 out of 10.