On Friday night I paid the princely sum of 1600 Microsoft points on my Xbox LIVE account to download the latest episode from Rockstar’s GTA brand: The Ballad of Gay Tony (TBoGT). My broadband connection is not the fastest in the world, but is sufficient for my usual online gaming and downloading requirements. TBoGT, however, measures a whopping 1.8 gigabytes and my Feudal age connection simply couldn’t download it as quickly as I would have liked. I sulked a little and then resigned to leave the system switched on and downloading overnight.
On Saturday morning I woke up earlier than usual, without the aid of an alarm clock and bounded into the front room, hoping that TBoGT had completed its journey across the Internet to my Xbox’s hard drive. Success; with the download complete my latest gaming adventure could begin.
TBoGT is just as visually stunning as it’s parent game and from the opening sequence, weaved cleverly into a cut scene from GTA4, the old familiar GTA style is evident. It appears that the player character is, once again, smart and resourceful (let’s be honest, Rockstar aren’t going to insult their customers by making them take on the guise of a moron) and, once again, has a shady past which he seems keen on putting behind him. The game-play is familiar but with the promise of new tweaks such as the much-touted base jumping and parachuting as well as the ability to get behind the controls of an agile attack helicopter.
The story line, so far, has been filled with clever and witty dialog, a fair spattering of toilet humour and the obligatorily offensive content for which we all really buy these games. The addition of an underground cage-fighting aspect to this DLC gives the player another distraction to elongate the gaming experience and after every mission you get a percentage complete screen with targets which will allow you to compare your progress and skills against others around the world over Xbox LIVE (but only if you complete the mission without any replays).
So far TBoGT is living up to the hype. I am only a couple of hours in but I have already hit golf balls at a hapless goon tied to the front of a golf cart, engaged in a drive-by shooting and a car chase in the afore mentioned sporting vehicle, blown up a super-yacht with a prototype attack helicopter and killed a loan shark who had been harassing my dear-old mum. There are a few passing references and crossovers to GTA4 and The Lost and The Damned and this looks set to continue. More to follow…