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Review: Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City - PC, PS3

by Steven Williamson on 17 May 2010, 09:34 4.5

Tags: Grand Theft Auto Liberty City, Rockstar Games (NASDAQ:TTWO), Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Action/Adventure

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Two action packed episodes

Additionally, there’s a revamped follow mechanic. If Billy isn’t around, your bike takes lead position, whilst the others spread out behind you in a V-formation – it’s both visually impressive, and highly immersive. Disappointingly though, at high speeds the bikers aren’t actually much good at following, and routinely crash into lampposts. The game employs ridiculous catch-up logic so they can make up the distance, but it’s usually out of sight and doesn’t particularly spoil the fun.

Most importantly, the “friends” feature has been cut down – and it makes a lot of sense. Johnny needs a gang of hardened allies, not drinking buddies. You can still ring a mate and play pool, but you’re far more likely to start a turf war, hopefully giving your group the vital boost in readiness that might just tip the balance in the next mission. Equally though, they can be killed, so you have to watch their backs, and you feel a real sense of loss when one of your long-term allies doesn’t make it out alive. Naturally, you can still be the traditional GTA one-man army, but it’s a welcome addition – at least “social time” actually counts for something now – and gunning down rival bikers is far more entertaining than a cut-scene of a burger.

There’s only one major downfall with the game, and it’s the result of the gang-based theme. You might expect some drunken brawls, perhaps a few thefts, and at most a hit on a particularly troublesome individual – instead within minutes you’re hurled into enormous shootouts, leaving scores of bikers and police dead. It’s fairly evident that if this was standard fare, The Lost would have been wiped out years ago, but more importantly you lose the context of your actions. Rather than having the tension and craziness slowly build as the situation becomes more desperate, everything starts insane and finishes in similar fashion.

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