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Xbox 360 Review: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

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After months of school work and the busy season at my job, I finally got a chance to do all that needs to be done in the Grand Theft Auto IV expansion pack The Ballad of Gay Tony. It is certainly a must buy for everyone who loves GTA games or anyone who just loves exploring wide open in-game areas.

In this latest episode from Liberty City, the player is Luis Lopez, an employee of "Gay" Tony Prince. Unlike other GTA games, Luis is already rich and just works for Gay Tony handling some miscellaneous items for the Liberty City nightclub owner.

The heart of any GTA game is the missions. These missions take place in Algonquin, the largest borough in Liberty City. Most of them are the typical GTA missions in which people must be killed or feature you trying to get away from the police. However, the way you kill folks here is often different from the other GTA games. As an example, there is a mission in which throwing someone out of a window is necessary.  At times, both helicopters and trains have to be stolen as well.  There are also missions in which shootouts occur in the air while flying the chopper. 

In The Ballad of Gay Tony, you also get a score that is tallied up at the end of the missions.  If you don't feel as though you've scored enough the first time through, there is a chance to redo the mission to try to do better.

There is no GTA without weapons and this game gives you a lot of them. There are the normal weapons one usually sees in GTA, but there are some new additions including P90 SMG and the tank. This tank is a nice touch because it is small but still able to crush cars and helicopters.

The heart of the gameplay is the same as the rest of the GTA games, but it is a formula that still works exceedingly well.  There are also some additions in this one that stays with the theme of the night life. You can manage the club for Tony Prince, but playing club manager the only thing to do is walk around and find trouble and deal with it.  The ability to dance in the club is also included as a minigame in both the gay and straight club.

Lastly, there are a couple of multiplayer missions that are offered. The game modes here include deathmatch, team deathmatch, free mode, race, and GTA race.  These multiplayer missions still allow use of all the new weapons available in the single-player portion.

I highly recommend adding this expansion pack to any gamer's collection. It is available for download if you have the base game or with the first expansion, The Lost and Damned, for $40 on a disc (in which case you need not own the full GTA IV). As a download, the single episode costs $20 and is well worth it — it will keep anyone playing for hours.

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol.

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