Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony - Xbox 360

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Game Description: In this second downloadable episode for the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV, players are exposed to the glitzy excesses of Liberty City through the eyes of Luis Lopez, main thug of famed night club titan Tony Prince (aka "Gay Tony"). Featuring new vehicles, new songs, new weapons and much more, the last chapter promises to bring the GTAIV saga to an explosive and brilliant conclusion.
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Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Hands-On Impressions

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Hands-On Impressions

By Sterling McGarvey - Posted Sep 16, 2009

When Grand Theft Auto IV launched nearly 18 months ago, Rockstar Games promised a revamped Liberty City that was bigger than anyone lurking in it. It was a bold claim to make; after all, the PS2-generation GTAs always ended with you in control of the game world. But at the end of Niko Bellic’s American tale, two words brought that chapter to a close: “you won.” It was an ironic statement, since Niko finished out the game as a small fish in a big ocean. With The Lost and Damned, Johnny Klebitz discovered the sobering limits of loyalty and brotherhood with his biker gang. And with Rockstar’s final chapter of this GTA story arc, The Ballad of Gay Tony, we’ll see the seedy underbelly of the city’s glamorous nightlife. Probably after filling it with buckshot.

In Gay Tony, you'll step into the shoes of Luis Lopez, armed enforcer for "Gay Tony" Prince, a long-time nightlife impresario who runs the hottest clubs in Liberty City, Maisonette 9 and Hercules. As the old adage goes, with more money comes more problems, and Tony's at his wit's end with debt and mobsters attempting to use their invested money to take over his businesses. It's up to Luis to keep the creditors at bay, which most likely involves a variety of odd jobs on the wrong side of the law.

Despite the title, which seems hell-bent on getting your attention, Gay Tony is really focused on GTA4’s “Pulp Fiction”-esque “Museum Piece” mission. If you made it that far in the game, you probably remember the “Impossible Trinity” Achievment/trophy that popped up once you cleared it. If you’ve been playing on 360 and burned through TLAD, you likely recall playing through the mission from Johnny’s perspective. Gay Tony promises to show you Luis’ side of the encounter. If you haven't played TLAD yet, Rockstar also plans to release both that biker adventure and Gay Tony on a single disc titled Episodes from Liberty City on the same day that the latest DLC episode is available on Xbox Live.

Both myself and The Feed's Jake Gaskill got hands-on time with separate missions from Gay Tony. Here are our documented adventures and ongoing dialogue.

Best Escape Plan Ever?

Sterling: In my first hands-on mission, “Dropping In,” Luis must break into the offices of the Liberty City Rampage, a hockey team that Bulgarin, GTA4’s ruthless Russian mobster, wants to purchase. And he won’t take no for an answer. I’ll spare you the details of shooting my way through an office building -- you’ve undoubtedly done that in a Grand Theft Auto game at some point -- and point out the big difference in this expansion pack. Aside from amusing menu color choices (the pause menu is rainbow colored, and your weapon icons have been redone in a lovely lavender), Gay Tony boasts new weapons, including a P-90 that does nasty damage. The biggest takeaway from the mission came at its finale: after shooting through waves of armed guards, Luis takes out the team owner. Unfortunately for the Rampage owner, he topples backwards toward the office window and takes a multi-story dive.

If it were a Niko mission, you’d have to shoot you way back down the fire escape, take a car, and hightail it. Fortunately for Luis, he came prepared. Luis makes a call to Timo, one of Bulgarin’s associates, who’s circling the block in a flatbed truck. Luis leaps from the skyscraper, ejects his parachute, and maneuvers his way to a safe landing on the truck. Gruesome deaths and base-jumping? Indeed. With the mission complete, I discovered another post-GTA4 element that Rockstar has implemented into the new pack: mission scoring and replays. If you were one of the thousands who picked up GTA: Chinatown Wars, you might’ve noticed that you could replay certain missions to get better results on Rockstar Social Club. Gay Tony will allow the same feature for console players. I got to ice a guy, watch him die Hans Gruber-style, then base jump to safety, but still, I’m pretty jealous of Jake’s mission.

Don't Pull the Cord...Yet

Jake Gaskill: My time with Gay Tony was split between several base jumping challenges, and one story mission, entitled “Going Deep” (ah, classic Rockstar). One of the much-discussed aspects of Gay Tony is the return of the parachute, and as you'd expect, it's as thrilling and enjoyable as ever. Best of all, your next jump is never more than a phone call away as you can purchase chutes from a friendly gun runner whom you can summon just like in GTA4 and TLAD.

Now, while you can use the chutes whenever and wherever you want, they’re only good for one jump. When you aren’t randomly and joyously throwing yourself off buildings and bridges, there are also dozens of base jumping challenges scattered all over Liberty City that you can "jump" into whenever you choose. These challenges include activities like passing through a series of rings as you plummet to the ground or locating and landing on specific targets. The skydiving controls are similar to those found in GTA: San Andreas in that they're super easy to get a handle on and they are very satisfying, especially when you're rocketing towards the Liberty City skyline. Plus, gliding through the skies above the metropolis gives you the chance to enjoy the visual splendor of the architecture and design of the city.

For “Going Deep,” Luis is tasked with setting satchel charges in an underground parking garage in order to prevent a cadre of corrupt cops from planting evidence against him and his crew. Needless to say, things got pretty ugly pretty damn fast, as is bound to happen when you set up a gauntlet of massive explosions in a confined area like a parking garage. The ensuing battle gave me a chance to check out a few of the games new weapons including a golden uzi, a new sniper rifle and a new assault rifle. All the weapons pack a devastating punch, and, best of all, the fit in perfectly with Gay Tony's tone and theme of excess and greed.

The Biggest Souvenir Ever

Sterling: The next mission I tried out was “For the Man Who Has Everything.” Yusuf, a wealthy (and completely insane) property developer, is opening a Liberty City-themed resort in the Middle East. What could accentuate the hotel and casino more than an authentic Liberty City subway car? Nothing. That’s why he taps Luis to detach the lead car, at which point he will send in a chopper (normally used to transport military vehicles) to acquire it. The mission starts above the off-ramp of a freeway. Armed with a shotgun bearing explosive rounds, Luis must jump onto the moving subway car from the off-ramp, then work his way to the front of the train. Naturally, LCPD aren’t too keen on the theft, so they’ve planted sniper along the subway route to prevent Luis from getting there.

My time with this mission was probably the most exhilarating part of the demo, if you can believe that shooting down police choppers (and clicking the left stick to duck down as they attempted to swoop in on me) could be more exhilarating than playing as a base-jumping assassin. It’s got the right amount of volatile intensity that I’ve seen in great GTA missions. Hopefully, it’s one of several intense highlights, rather than a climactic point in the overall experience. I'd hate to think that I played the coolest stuff during the demo.

Jake: The cultures and histories of the periods in which Grand Theft Auto games are set aren't just backdrop to Rockstar. They help to inform and influence the virtual societies the developer teams create and the stories they tell. Whether it’s a mute thug freshly sprung from jail looking to make a name for himself on the original streets of Liberty City, or a savvy killer caught up in the drug-fueled chaos of 80s Vice City, or a tough-as-nails gangster climbing the criminal ranks in the urban warzones of San Andreas; each tale brings to life a singular, creative vision of modern crime inspired by the societal and cultural forces surrounding their main characters.

For Gay Tony, that vision is excess, greed and extravagance, which is a brilliant counterbalance to Niko Bellic’s immigrant tale and Johnny Klebitz’s grungy story of betrayal and redemption. Leave it to Rockstar to reintroduce skydiving in the DLC chapter that will provide the most dramatic shift in perspective yet seen in the GTA4 saga.

Sterling: I just hope I can base jump from hundreds of feet in the air and drop grenades. That’s just excessive enough for my taste.

Comments are Closed

  • numarpompillious

    @crackingcody, javahouse, and JohnnyBuku
    You guys can have your pathetic little console flame war. I however have a career with a good salary and don't have to rely on the pittance of an hourly wage or mommy and daddy for my games and consoles. I'll be playing all those games you guys are flaming each other over since I have all consoles and a sweet gaming rig. I m so glad that Ballad of Gay Tony is getting back to the ridiculousness that I ve come to know and love from the GTA series because GTA4 was a little bland for my taste.

    Posted: September 23, 2009 10:25 AM
  • SneakySnipes1

    this game looks a little rusty, don't really wana dust the case off to play the dlc, ill wait for GTA 5 even though i got both consoles....

    Posted: September 22, 2009 8:24 PM
  • Rmoney777

    LMAO PS3 gets nothin always not that im a fan of the Xbox360 but wow they really get nothin. no wonder people love the xbox over the PS3. I give them one thing though PS3 never lets its owner down whle the Xbox gets the red rings.

    Posted: September 21, 2009 5:54 AM
  • FuzzyLumkins

    I expected to hear from Raymond Padilla on this topic.

    I won't buy this Add-on because it exploits gay lifestyle, and homosexual stereotypes.


    Posted: September 20, 2009 7:06 AM
  • Peatore

    I happen to think the console flame war is stupid. There is no way to possibly win it. the 360 and ps3 both have great games. especially Now that the ps3 is only $300 it kinda evens out the playing field a bit. The ps3's high price was the only thing stopping me from buying one before. Now I have a 360 and a ps3. And allthough each console has it's pros an cons they both offer great gamming experiances and I don't like one over the other. I have had my 360 for quite a while with no ROD that being said i know there are issues out there but microsoft have been pretty good about repairing or replacing ROD consoles from what i hear.

    anyways GTA4 episodes from liberty city looks amazing. i never played lost and dammed so i am glad they are releasing both on the same disc.

    Posted: September 20, 2009 6:00 AM
  • harlemzhome

    i think xbox is doing a great job in keeping things just for the xbox players. i have fnds that choose to buy a ps3 but find them wanting to play or hold my xbox360. (why is this?)

    Posted: September 19, 2009 6:42 PM
  • ggamer25

    im a big ps3 fan (go uncharted 2, heavy rain and ratchet and clank) but i also see how xbox is great( fable, gears and splinter cell conviction) and they always have the dlc for games like fallout and others like gta4 but im ot gonna choose one or the other cause they both have great stuff. im getting a 360 and then ill get all this awesome stuff and really enjoy it, so all this fighting is useless, both are great systems and boths have their ups and downs, grow up guys.

    Posted: September 19, 2009 12:29 AM
  • thegunslinger777

    can't wait huge GTA fan looks awesome and hope niko is the main in GTA 5

    Posted: September 18, 2009 7:14 PM
  • TheDrunkardHu

    awesome! can't wait to download it!

    Posted: September 17, 2009 2:01 PM

    Microsoft paid rockstar to relese TLAD and GAY TONY first on 360 not becouse thay dont look bad but to, well get more sells and me being a Xbox 360 owner, im happy that Microsoft paid so i could have it first

    Posted: September 17, 2009 6:59 AM
  • yeyo


    Posted: September 16, 2009 8:06 PM
  • yeyo


    Posted: September 16, 2009 8:03 PM
  • yeyo

    really, nothing 4 ps3 yea thats nice tnxs 4 the loyalty

    Posted: September 16, 2009 8:02 PM
  • alex707perez

    the only reason this is for xbox 360 is because microsoft bought it so they dont look bad i use to have a xbox360 i got it new at the store then i got a new game and it broke and scratched it this also happened to my friend 3 times so i got a ps3 way better !!!!!!!!!!

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:18 PM
  • mikdudboy2

    what about episodes from chinatown

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:15 PM
  • fuxbox360

    fuxbox360's comment is abusive and has been removed.

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:14 PM
  • fuxbox360

    fuxbox360's comment is abusive and has been removed.

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:13 PM
  • fuxbox360

    fuxbox360's comment is abusive and has been removed.

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:10 PM
  • fuxbox360

    fuxbox360's comment is abusive and has been removed.

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:09 PM
  • fuxbox360

    fuxbox360's comment is abusive and has been removed.

    Posted: September 16, 2009 6:08 PM