View Full Version : [HOLY S**T!] GTA: Gay Tony gets a 9.5 "Incredible" from IGN

Real King Kong
10-28-2009, 08:05 PM

Australia, October 28, 2009 - You've got to hand it to Rockstar; the mighty developer knows how to chase a headline. From the outset, putting 'gay' in the title raised eyebrows – even though it shouldn't have. But it did – it grabbed players and begged to be investigated further. As it turns out, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony isn't some unabashedly obtuse grab for attention but a one-two punch that aims to surprise – the ultimate set-up for one of Rockstar North's finest dozen or so hours of recent years.

The familiar structure is in place; Luis Lopez is a likeable thug working for nightclub owner and underworld figure Anthony 'Gay Tony' Prince. Luis has a heartfelt professional admiration for his boss and, as the story progresses, this relationship is strained by Gay Tony's unfortunate financial predicament.

Luis has his apartment, missions to complete, women to liaise with in toilet cubicles, mini-games and events to participate in (including a hilarious dance-off at a gay nightclub). While also the most outlandish of the three GTA IV scenarios this iteration, Gay Tony is also arguably the most heartfelt and endearing.

Unlike The Lost and Damned's Johnny Klebitz , who was an unlikeable mess of a lead character, Luis is at heart a good guy, more along the lines of Carl Johnson in GTA: San Andreas. Luis is a family man, running missions to help his mother and to keep his dysfunctional family on the right side of the thin blue line. His allegiance to Tony is touching at times, scooping him off the floor of a stress-induced drug binge, splashing water on his face (well, dropping his head in a sink and flushing it with water). As a character, he's compelling – and it makes the action moments all the more surprising.

The dog has been let off the chain: things explode with pleasing frequency in The Ballad of Gay Tony. The gameplay we've been craving since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is back – and by the gods, it makes a big difference to the tone of the tale. Without spoiling things, take this one mission as a good case-in-point.

You're thousands of feet above the Statue of Happiness, taking part in the ultimate triathlon. Diving from the helicopter, you spiral towards the earth below. Activating a parachute, you weave between three other competitors, each vying for a speedboat below. After landing on the boat, you race through a series of checkpoints, skimming between a wrecked ocean liner and a sheer cliff face. Sliding onto land, you race by foot to a lethally-fast sports car, equipped with a gutbustingly-fast nitro kit, and slam into the turns in a cross-city street race to the finish line.

Oh hell yes.

Whether it's defending a tank that you've just plucked out of the sky while it was being airlifted or scaling the tallest building in the city and fending off choppers with an explosive-shell-equipped shotgun, the action bar has been raised yet again in Gay Tony, addressing the overall lack of big-ticket action thrills in the first two games.

The ***** is back.

As a direct result, we had a heck of a lot more fun with Gay Tony than The Lost and Damned. Of course, these two releases couldn't be more different tonally and from a storytelling standpoint; whereas The Lost and Damned told a story of respect and violence in the context of a bikie gang, The Ballad of Gay Tony is almost exclusively a glamorous, well-funded and excessive affair. You never struggle for cash and weapons, the women (and men) are beautiful, the drugs are plentiful and the characters are amongst the most unhinged and entertaining in the GTA catalogue.

Remember Brucie? The hyperactive, muscle bound sometimes-buddy of Niko from GTA IV? He has a brother – and, incredibly, he's more offensive and egotistical than Brucie –at one point, reducing him to tears over a game of Chess. Oh how we laughed.

The characters are complimented by greater mission variety than you might expect; the typical 'ridin' dirty' missions are in there, as are the straight-up gun fights. But the aerial battles add a new playing field to tackle, the BASE jumping points are endlessly entertaining and the city has a newfound verticality that you can really take advantage of. It's never been easier – or more fun – to rack up that six-star wanted level.

Real King Kong
10-28-2009, 08:06 PM
While GTA IV overdosed on depth-of-field, dithering and times of day where the lighting would filter the colour out of the landscape, The Ballad of Gay Tony is almost always crytal clear and saturated with colour. Like the grain and ruddy browns of The Lost and Damned, Gay Tony has its own distinct look – and it's now our personal favourite. Minor improvements to an already impressive engine make this the best looking of the three episodes.

The only real area that is beginning to suffer visually rests with the character models themselves. There have been some impressive leaps in facial animation and texture work in the industry over the last eighteen months, and the somewhat blocky models and stiff lip-synching is a little bit disappointing.

At the same time, the dialogue and storytelling is so strong that you'll forgive the inevitable dating of the RAGE engine. Hopefully, given a couple years of media blackout, RAGE will be updated and we'll all be wowed yet again.

There are a few dents in the bodywork gameplay, however – and ones that stick out more and more as other solid action titles emerge. For one, the cover system remains somewhat unintuitive; the automatic detection of surfaces behind which you can hide is decidedly hit-and-miss (no pun) and the clunky ladder-climbing and inability to fire from ledges or while on ladders adds to the frustration.

The Ballad of Gay Tony will restore your faith in the GTA series - assuming it was shaken in the first instance.

While the inclusion of helicopters and choppers is a grand move, the lack of lock-on aiming (or any kind of aiming reticule or way of honing your precision) is baffling. If your enemies can lock onto you, surely we should be offered the same option.

Finally, walking is cumbersome. It is. The turning circle, while naturalistic thanks to the glories of NaturalMotion's Euphoria engine, is imprecise. During a heated battle in say, a carpark full of SWAT, exploding cars and heavy machine gun fire, you're already struggling with the cover system – you don't need to worry about trying to manipulate Luis in just such a way that he's behind a pillar.

Going down the list of content additions, improvements and refinements, it's a wonder that these points weren't refined. Still, it's hard to sniff at more multiplayer maps, a bevy of incidental missions with hilariously dirty characters and twisted outcomes. There is a predictability to the Grand Theft Auto formula that The Ballad of Gay Tony just can't shake, but for what it's worth, it's still addictive, fun and, at times, thought-provoking.

As DLC, The Ballad of Gay Tony is an incredible offering, but when combined with The Lost and Damned in 'Episodes From Liberty City' at retail, it's irresistible. If you haven't played the first episode, make sure you read our review here. Between these two offerings, there's more content than the original Grand Theft Auto IV – and the variety makes for a wholly more enjoyable experience than both previous titles at times.

Closing Comments
Frankly, if the 'multiple-perspective-narrative' is what Rockstar North envisions the series moving towards a couple years from now when we have Grand Theft Auto V in our mitts, we'll be happy campers. As it is, Niko, Johnny and Luis have a lot to be proud of; three wonderful, fully-featured games that weave together beautifully. The Ballad of Gay Tony is the sweetest possible swansong for a stellar Grand Theft Auto entry.

9.0 Presentation
Mostly functionally identical, but small touches and improvements, including the the option to replay missions and more polish.

9.5 Graphics
With the blur pushed back toward the horizon and colour returning full-force, Liberty City has never looked better. The character models are starting to age, though.

9.5 Sound
Once again, the script is truly A-class material and the accompanying voice talent shine. Great soundtrack, lovely environmental audio and plenty of humour.

9.0 Gameplay
The same issues we held against GTA IV hold true, but Gay Tony is a welcome return to over-the-top action, high-society lifestyles and sex, drugs and Russian rock and roll. Love it.

9.5 Lasting Appeal
On its own, The Ballad of Gay Tony is as rich and fully-featured as you'd expect from a GTA. As half of 'Episodes From Liberty City', it's tremendous value. Dozens of hours here.

Incredible OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)

- v e t -
10-28-2009, 08:14 PM
GTA this gen sucks.... its that simple... i got it midnight launch and while liking it for the first few days, was over it THAT quickly....

mailed it to by pal, who's a big GTA fan... and even he said, f*ck it.... and quit

10-28-2009, 09:36 PM
I dont hate GTA4 but this addition has all the things the original game should of had in the first place.

Grand Champ
10-28-2009, 10:04 PM
Holy ****, can't wait!!

10-29-2009, 05:46 PM
I'll probably pick them all up when they are released on one disc.

Real King Kong
10-29-2009, 07:55 PM
I'll probably pick them all up when they are released on one disc.

They are, you can buy Gay tony and the lost and damned as a standalone game on one disc, it is pretty cheap too ($40) , considering the combined length is roughly the same as gta 4 and you have the entire of Liberty city avaliable to you.

I was going to get it today (release day) but it is sold out in all 3 game stores where i live.

Real King Kong
10-29-2009, 10:16 PM
Gamespot said: This superb episodic download would be easy to reccomend even if it were a full retail product selling for 3 times its actual price

Gamespot Review Score 9.5


Grand Champ
10-30-2009, 02:17 AM
This game is ****ing awesome!! Playing as some cuban with an Toney Montana accent in the rich night life. Achievements is cool, story is ****ing nice. I love this add-on

10-30-2009, 08:46 AM
Just completed Gay Tony now, what a ****ing game!!!! Yusif Amir is the man!!! It just strengthens the fact GTAIV is one of the best ever.

10-30-2009, 02:11 PM
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10-30-2009, 02:25 PM
The guns are also awesome of TBOGT. Explosive shotgun ftw.

Real King Kong
10-30-2009, 04:12 PM
I love it how Rockstar always manage to make awesome stuff, this is as good as a full game imo

10-30-2009, 04:26 PM
I love it how Rockstar always manage to make awesome stuff, this is as good as a full game imo

Yeh deffo, i would have bought this game for £39.99. It's awesome.

We're getting A-rab Mon-AY!

10-30-2009, 06:34 PM
What is the difference between this game and GTA 4? It looks the same.. Graphics, guns, same ****.. Different story.. Dissapointed.

Real King Kong
10-30-2009, 07:13 PM
What is the difference between this game and GTA 4? It looks the same.. Graphics, guns, same ****.. Different story.. Dissapointed.

It is a different story, with new mission, mini games, vehicles and weapons, It costs 1/3 the price of GTA 4, its not a full release game.

If you buy GTA 4 Episodes from Liberty City, for 40 bucks you get this and Lost and the Damned which is over 20 hours of new story missions and all of liberty city.

Real King Kong
10-31-2009, 06:15 PM
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