In the Ballad of Gay Tony you don’t play as club owner Tony Prince, but his business partner Luis Lopez – yet another guy trying to do good but hanging out with deadbeats and getting into all sorts of bother which involves fast cars, loose women, guns and of course a high body count.
Whereas Lost and Damned gave us an emphasis on bikes, this time around the emphasis is on taking to the skies, whether it’s in one of the many helicopter missions or base jumping off building and out of planes. You can also try your hand at managing the glitzy clubs and even take to the dance floor in a mini game which plays a bit like PS One title Britney’s Dance Beat. Although the prize for doing this in some instances is going into a back room with one of the ladies and letting her take care of your…accounts.
Once again this story crosses over with the Grand Theft Auto 4 and Lost and Damned stories and mainly concentrates on those diamonds which keep getting everyone into trouble. You’ll meet some new characters along the way including Yusuf, a gold Uzi-touting Egyptian who likes to call everyone the ‘N word’.
The story’s predictable but fun and the dialogue and characters are once again what make the game work so well. Some of the conversations in the cars are laugh out loud funny.
Combat can feel a little bit awkward this time around (especially if you’ve just played Uncharted 2) and the helicopter combat really needs you to have 14 fingers. Still, flying about Liberty City is certainly fun and parachuting above it and trying to hit checkpoints Pilotwings style is also a welcome change to what’s achievable in this huge sandbox playground.
The game does have some difficulty spikes but to be honest, as long as you make sure you have full armour and health when you go into a mission and you keep hold of some of the more powerful guns you’re given on some missions, most missions are actually a little too easy. Thankfully there are generous checkpoints mid mission so if you do die or get busted, you don’t have to go right back to the start and drive over half the city again.
You’ll complete the story in just over 6 hours if you don’t take part in any of the base jumping or drug wars missions but whilst you’re playing it, you are going to have a lot of fun. Oh, and be warned, this is probably the most explicit of all the GTAs I’ve played with lots of sex and even the C word so it’s definitely not something you should play around your kids.
Gay Tony gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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