|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rockstar North||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Rockstar Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 13, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The previous characters' escape involved running for the rooftop, but Johnny's has players blasting their way out of the front door and evading the police on the back of a bike. This type of interweaving is pretty tastefully done throughout and helps fill in GTA IV's story, although it can eventually begin to feel like playing a game of "Where's Niko" when watching cinemas or listening to dialogue.
The look of the expansion has also been slightly modified to make it stand out from its disc-based predecessor. Most of the color choices in the game have been changed, utilizing more reds, grays, and blacks throughout its menus and maps. Even the minimap located in the corner of the screen appears to be covered in scuff marks, accentuating the tough life lived by the expansion's protagonist. There has also been a noticeable filter applied to the entirety of the game that adds to the game's gritty nature. Unfortunately, while I understand the intent of this grainy filter and even appreciate it at times, it makes what was an amazing-looking title appear as though it was filmed using a cheap camera in low light.
In addition to its remarkably lengthy single-player experience, which easily provides upwards of ten to fifteen hours of gameplay, The Lost and Damned offers up several multiplayer options as well. The standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Free Mode are all included along with six other newcomers. Club Business is essentially a variant of GTA IV's Mafiya Work, having players completing numerous random jobs given to them via calls to their cell phones. Own the City involves taking over as much territory as possible by killing its current defenders. Witness Protection pits two teams, one made of The Lost members and the other of N.O.O.S.E. agents, against one another, where the objective is to destroy a bus carrying a state witness or to deliver it safely to a police station, respectively.
Chopper vs. Chopper is an interesting addition as well, with one player driving a motorcycle through checkpoints while the other attempts to destroy this mobile target using an attack helicopter. If the helicopter is successful in annihilating the biker, the two players switch vehicles and continue. The same also occurs when playing in the Lone Wolf Biker mode. Here one player starts out as the target, attempting to make it through checkpoints while evading the other players. Everyone else is attempting to kill the lone biker, which in turn makes them the next target. And perhaps my favorite of the bunch are the Races. This is about as close to the classic game Road Rash as any game has come in probably a decade, having players racing through checkpoints on the backs of motorcycles while brandishing a baseball bat. With a push of a button you can swing it towards the left or to the right, making it rather easy to crack adversaries in the skull while sliding through turns at high speeds.
The sheer amount of content in The Lost and Damned is truly impressive considering its modest twenty dollar asking price. With its lengthy single-player experience that provides a good amount of new content, while also shedding light on some of the events of GTA IV, as well as its enjoyable new multiplayer options, it would be impossible to not recommend this title to fans of the series. Hell, the inclusion of checkpoints in every mission throughout the expansion, avoiding the frustration experienced in GTA IV from having to drive back to every mission after failing, is worth it alone. Actually, the only real downside to this expansion pack, besides perhaps that grainy filter I mentioned earlier, is that it is completely self-contained. None of the new weapons, vehicles, events, mid-mission check points, music, or multiplayer modes carry over to GTA IV. While this would have been an excellent option, it certainly isn't a deal breaker. Seriously, if you have GTA IV and twenty bucks, what are you waiting for? It isn't very often that DLC is done this well.
CCC Staff Contributor