|09-16-2009, 11:28 PM||#1|
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Grand Theft Auto: Gay Tony Preview
Australia, September 16, 2009 - There's no arguing that both GTA IV and The Lost and the Damned were great games. The Liberty City created in these games is the most atmospheric and believable open world environment we've ever seen and the shooting, driving and animation (Euphoria) engines are all top-notch. We have however previously criticized both GTA IV and The Lost and the Damned for failing to provide the over-the-top fun that GTA: San Andreas had in spades. Removing San Andreas' planes, tanks, parachutes, fighter jets and alien technology because they didn't fit Niko's story was a gameplay downer.
The Lost and the Damned introduced a couple of cool weapons and features but it's The Ballad of Gay Tony that finally takes some serious strides towards combining GTA IV's amazing atmosphere and physics with San Andreas' explosive fun factor. Here are the 10 most exciting new features that we think make Gay Tony the most enjoyable GTA IV chapter yet.
1. Black Power
San Andreas' star, CJ, was black and that game was awesome. Gay Tony's star, Luis Lopez, is black – ergo this game will be awesome too. Boom! Jokes aside, Luis being one of Liberty City's elite gives the player access to far better weapons and vehicles (which we'll get onto shortly) than Niko or Johnny had so there is a gameplay payoff tied to his character.
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Nothing says 'road rage' like a gold-plated Uzi.
2. Best Shotgun Ever
Shotguns may be one of the oldest weapons on the gaming shelf but we guarantee you haven't seen anything like this. The new AA12 shotgun comes with explosive shells that hit harder than one of the Hulk's right hooks. Shoot a person and they'll be sent flying through the air. Shoot a car with the AA12 and the fun really starts. One round fired into a moving car with stop it dead in its tracks and mash the bonnet into a mangled mess.
3. Hollywood-style Shootouts
Think of the iconic Die Hard action sequences and you'd have a fair handle on the first mission we saw, where Luis blasts his way through a private army in an office tower. Packing the new P90 machine gun (more on this later) Luis unleashes a ridiculous amount of bullets, either taking down enemies directly or crippling them by shooting nearby steam pipes. When he's out of the maintenance tunnels and into the office proper, firefights see glass walls shatter and computers explode in an adrenaline-packed sequence. The mission finale sees Luis shoot-out a window, then freefall towards the street below, before pulling the ripcord on his parachute and gliding onto a truck cruising below. This mission was insanely cool, and thankfully things only get better.
4. Parachutes Are Back
Skydiving and parachuting antics make a thrilling return in Gay Tony. You can either mess about with various base-jumping checkpoint challenges scattered about Liberty City or you can just grab a parachute from your hideout, steal a helicopter, jump out and skydive down to any location on the map during missions. And yes, we did try skydiving out of a chopper and hurtling right into the ocean without pulling the ripcord on Luis' parachute and were stoked to find out he survived it. Parachuting right into the seat of a moving convertible will be on our To Do List when we get the game.
5. Sticky Bombs
Part GoldenEye's remote mines, part Halo's plasma grenades – all fun. Luis can cause an instant warzone to erupt in Liberty City by tossing about his sticky C4 charges. Packing a far bigger punch than grenades and being able to stick to passing cars, the C4 charges transforms traffic into rocketing fireballs of wreckage and pedestrians. The C4 doesn't currently stick to people but fingers crossed they tweak that in the final game.
6. Money Train
We got to play through another intense Hollywood-style action sequence where Luis leaps off a bridge, lands on a speeding train and then attempts to walk along the roof of the carriages while dodging machine gun fire from police choppers. To help even the odds, Luis is packing his explosive shell shotgun (AA12) which can take the choppers down in 2-3 shots. Seeing these choppers erupt in an explosion of flames and shrapnel as the train hurtles past looks fantastic. Once Luis has disintegrated at least a dozen police choppers and made it to the front of the train, his buddy flies up in a heavy-lifter chopper of his own and picks up both Luis and the train carriage he's standing on. Impressive stuff.
7. Attack Chopper
Speaking of choppers, the final mission we played introduced a highly maneuverable (and lethal) new chopper. The chopper is small and speedy like a Maverick but packs more punch than any previous chopper seen in GTA games, thanks to its combo of twin chainguns and missile launchers. It was our pleasure to use this bad boy to sink a handful of boats. Our first target was a huge luxury yacht, filled with enemies firing back with machine guns and rocket launchers. As there's no lock-on aiming for the chopper it can be a little fiddly to initially line-up firing runs as you speed over the yacht. By using the chaingun as a tracer for your rockets it's soon relatively easy to pound a few explosive missiles into the yacht with each pass. After that we got to blow up a few powerboats as they attempted to flee the carnage. When we took out the first powerboat with a well-placed missile, the explosion sent a passenger flying into the air where his body was then struck by our chopper's rotors and sent spiraling off into the ocean. Did we mention how much we love the realistic Euphoria-based animation system?
8. Serious Firepower
As well as the P90 machine gun (which spews out 900 rounds a minute), fans of Modern Warfare (and big guns in general) will be stoked to see the M249 appearing in Gay Tony – it's a belt-fed, seriously heavy machine gun. When you walk out onto the street with one of these and start carving up police cars you become a one-man army. If you can't riddle the windshield with enough bullets to kill both cops before the car's even come to a stop then you're doing something wrong. Gay Tony also packs more powerful versions of pistols, sniper rifles and Uzis (oh, and the Uzi's gold-plated too, covering all your blinging and banging needs in one tidy package).
9. It's Got Every Weapon In It!
On top of Gay Tony's lethal arsenal of new weapons, the game also features every weapon from both GTA IV and The Lost and the Damned. Want to mix it up with Niko's rocket launcher or Johnny's automatic shotgun? This game let's you go nuts with firepower.
10. Tanks For Coming
Although we didn't get a chance to see it in any of the missions we played, Rockstar assured us that Gay Tony also marks the return of tanks for GTA. Now that Luis can jump in a tank and cause chaos in the Liberty City streets it'll be interesting to see if the game will also see the return of Army forces when you get to six stars on the wanted system. It's hard to imagine how regular SWAT teams would be able to stop you in a tank, but we'll just have to wait and see.
So there you have it. Tony might be gay but he sure isn't lacking any testosterone, as this macho, balls-out action-fest proves. Thanks to its over-the-top action sequences, and explosive new weapons and vehicles, The Ballad of Gay Tony is shaping up to be the most exciting GTA IV chapter yet. Gay Tony will be released as a DLC chapter on Xbox Live Arcade for 1600 points on 29 October. Both The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and the Damned DLC chapters will also come packaged on a stand-alone disc release (titled Episodes From Liberty City) for $69.95 AUD on the same date.
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