Mini-review: Grand Theft Auto IV – The Lost and Damned


As if driving around Liberty City and throwing down with a Serbian national isn’t enough, now you get to do it donning the colors of a fictional badass biker gang. That’s the premise of this new downloadable episode from Rockstar, which further sharpens the edge of one of 2008’s best games.

When I first reviewed the game, I talked a lot about the depth and dimensions of the character of Niko Bellic. Johnny Klebitz, the biker protagonist in this new episode, doesn’t have Niko’s grizzled Euro charm, but his presence and the presence of his friends infuses the Liberty City experience with a gruff dose of old-fashioned Americana. Johnny rarely loses his hog-riding machismo, whether its delivering drugs, fighting rival gangs or talking business with a fully-nude senator in a spa.

I also thought it was interesting how attached I was to Johnny’s customized chopper. The GTA series has usually encouraged the player to be a vehicular nomad, but it looks like Rockstar has an understanding of how biker culture works, at least on a surface level. If anything, it’s added a little more enjoyment to the simple act of traveling from one end of town to the other. Some of the characters are already staring to grow on me, and the voice acting, once again, is top shelf. The game also does a pretty solid job of weaving together the storylines, so you’re going to see some familiar faces — you know, before some of them die.

Overall, I almost forgot how much I enjoyed Liberty City the first time I went through it. Now that I’ve got a bike (and biker) to call my own, I certainly don’t mind visiting it again.