Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost & Damned

Right after I beat GTA IV last week I downloaded the new expansion, GTA IV: The Lost & Damned.  It’s $20 but it’s been receiving very strong reviews (average: 9.1) and I’m kinda insane for GTA so I got it!  First, I should mention some horseshit that IGN.com has spread about the game.  In their previews, they originally mentioned that the story mode requires 12-20 hours to complete.  Then they changed it to 12 “plus hours of extra content”.  Then their final review said 8-10 hours.  Well, the truth is it’s much closer to the lowest number.  After completing the expansion, my save file showed 6:40 of playing time.  If you add in the times I turned off the game without saving it still doesn’t add up to 8 hours.  Sure, there are plenty of ‘bonus’ things to do like 25 gang wars that are all basically identical, or 12 races that are not fun, or 50 pigeons to find throughout the city.  That stuff isn’t fun.  I know there are supernerd GTA devotees who do all that stuff but the only fun things in GTA games are the main missions plus randomly causing mischief.  In spite of the shortness of the game, the same IGNdiot, Hilary Goldstein, mentioned in an editorial that GTA IV: The Lost & Damned could have been released as a full-priced retail game.  Seriously?  Fucking seriously?  Who thinks $60 for an 8 hour adventure is a good investment?

That said, Lost & Damned is pretty good for what it is, which is a side story to GTA IV.  The events of Lost & Damned occur concurrently with the main GTA story and even intersect a few times.  L&D is all about bikers, which COULD have been pretty cool but really it’s over before you know it.  The biker gang stuff isn’t nearly as fleshed out as the street gang element in GTA San Andreas but it’s still cool.  Some of the missions are pretty standard but some were quite nice, including a PRISON BREAK-IN!  As an example of how real-world GTAIV can sometimes be was demonstrated by the outcome of a somewhat difficult mission I was having trouble with: 4 carloads of hitmen are after me and I have to kill them all.  On my third or fourth attempt of this mission I accidentally murdered a cop and suddenly I had hitmen AND cops after me.  I thouht I was screwed until the 2 groups intersected – and began fighting EACH OTHER as I imagine they would in real life.  I patiently allowed them to thin out each other’s ranks and then I cleaned up.  Lovely.

Lost & Damned is decent but it should have been $10 NOT $20.  I can’t believe these dumb cunts at IGN and other sites are heaping such praise on a simple expansion.  Remember (if you already knew, that is) you have to have a physical copy of GTA IV for Lost & Damned to work.  All the download adds is the new missions, some new characters, and some new weapons, for the most part.

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