768th played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: PC/Playstation 3/Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games

I’m playing this set of one hundred’s GTA game nice and early. The final few don’t have quite as much staying power – The Lost and Damned, today’s entry, is an expansion pack sequel for Grand Theft Auto IV, set during this game but with a different protagonist and set of missions but the same world. There’s some overlap between them and a bunch of characters are shared, but it’s more a bunch of references than that there’s an outright impact.

Our Thoughts

One of the big advantages of a tie-in game like this is that the game doesn’t feel the need to tutorialize. It takes you through the controls and systems, but they’re quick references while the game doesn’t really linger on them, while the main game tends to have longer missions that slowly introduce concepts. It’s nice to be in the middle of things straight away, getting you into things, without the enemies immediately overwhelming you.

With the game being about a biker gang, there’s a lot of bike riding, and this game does it well. Often, it feels too uneven in these games until you get used to them – cars just feel better. Here, the controls are better and riding feels stabler, while still faster and lighter than cars are. It’s incredibly satisfying to drive around, while you feel more of a part of the world – you can avoid cars and deal with traffic better, but do need to keep paying attention.

There’s a small but to that – driving as a group is important as part of a gang, and for conversations to continue you need to be in the right place in the group. The triggers for that are finicky and it feels like they work against you learning more. A smaller issue is that when you’re following, you’re not allowed to get ahead – which is annoying they suddenly brake, but you don’t always have enough room to slow down and follow at a safer distance. I’m sure there’s ways around that, but I felt scolded for no reasons a few times.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this entry in the GTA series – it felt easier to get into and work a bit better. The story is tighter, the game looks better and I’ve just been enjoying myself more as I cruised around the city. There’s a lot of other options, keeping the world open, but at what felt like a better scale and speed. I’m genuinely looking forward to the next one.