PS3 Reviews: Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Review

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Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Review

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Graphics:

 

8.0

Gameplay:

 

9.0

Sound:

 

10.0

Control:

 

9.0

Replay Value:

 

9.5

Online Gameplay:

 

9.0

Overall Rating:       9.0

 

 

Publisher:

Rockstar

Developer:

Rockstar North

Number Of Players:

2-16

Genre:

Genre

Release Date:

To the informed gamer, it's no surprise that I'm sitting here playing my copy of Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City...on my PlayStation 3. The alleged Xbox 360 exclusives were never believed to have been true exclusives, and numerous slips from both Sony and Rockstar reps have confirmed as much for years now. Unfortunately for Microsoft, who invested tons of cash on securing a timed exclusivity deal for the two expansion packs, these GTA side-stories didn't sell as well as they had expected it to. My personal belief is because the expansions debuted far past the hysteria of Grand Theft Auto IV, they didn't sell as much as they could've. So now it's time for the PlayStation 3 versions to pick-up the slack and Rockstar's hoping the Sony crowd eats this up. But should they?

First off, the most important think to know is that you can either buy the retail copy of this game, which includes both "The Lost and The Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony". The retail package runs $40, which is not a bad deal for, what are practically two full-fledged games. Both stories are not as long as a typical GTA game, but are certainly longer than most games we have today. Now, if you buy the game disc, you don't need GTAIV to play it. Alternatively, if you do have GTAIV, you can download the episodes from PSN ($20 each) and that syncs the expansions with the original game by combining all of the music - which gives you access to over 300 songs no matter which GTAIV experience you're playing.

So, that out of the way, how do both games play? Well, they essentially play the same as GTAIV does with a few enhancements added here and there to freshen things up. The expansions introduce new weapons, cars, aerial crafts, online modes, allegiance struggles, minigames, and best of all...checkpoints during missions. Now no longer do you have to redo the entire drive to a mission after you've died, you'll be able to select retry and spawn right before the action goes down. Basically, between both expansions, there are a ton of new features added, enough to satisfy the GTA fan.

But it's the stories in particular that suck you in, and both episodes really do a fantastic job of making you feel a part of the experience. You really take a liking to your respective characters, and you especially boil up on the inside when your enemies confront you. So seeking vengeance continues to feel great. The way both episodes intertwine with GTAIV's story is pulled off exceptionally well, and the plot twists you'll encounter throughout both expansions is brilliant, filled with a number of "ohhhhh" moments. Rockstar really did a fantastic job with both stories.

There isn't a whole lot to add as far as gameplay, I mean it's basically the same formula we've all come to love. I will say this though, don't expect anything radically different, because at the heart of it all lie the same mechanics, which do stand the test of time for the most part, but may be considered a bit old to some gamers who are always looking for leaps in the next iterations. If you're that type, these expansions are not for you.

Moving on, one of the things I most looked forward to from these expansions is to see whether or not visual changes have been made to the games. Thankfully, fixes have been made. For starters the framerate has seen improvements, and it's certainly less jumpy than GTAIV's was. Moreover, that comical pop-up which would draw cars and trees right in front of you, not to mention buildings, has been cured for the most part. There is some pop-up left to be seen, but it's definitely a lot less than before. The resolution runs at a cleaner, and proper 720p now, as opposed to the sub-HD 600p resolution found in GTAIV. Though don't expect anything high-caliber, either. This is a fairly dated game engine, and it does show its age today. Though, all in all, the visuals are still a marked improvement over the original GTAIV.

As you'd expect, the audio here is top-tier stuff. In pure GTA fashion the voice acting is nothing short of perfect; no annoying accents, no annoying off-beat characters, and no cheesy dialogue that makes you want to gag. Grand Theft Auto continues to do its voice acting right, and I'm always thankful for that. As far as the soundtrack, like I mentioned earlier on, downloading the games from PSN in conjunction with owning the original GTAIV will net you a combined total of around 300 songs. Purchasing them stand alone on a retail disc gets you 150 songs. Either way you look at it, it's a ton of songs, and the rest is just down to preference - thankfully the multitude of stations make preference an easy thing to find.

So, for a total of $40 are these expansions worth it? Absolutely. Episodes From Liberty City is a great way to soak up 30-some hours on a sandbox adventure. Combine the two titles together, and the stories add up to about the length of a standard GTA game. With a horde of new features and modes for both online and offline gameplay, there is definitely no reason a GTA fan should be without Episodes From Liberty City for the PlayStation 3...unless of course, you've already played them last year on the Xbox 360.

4/15/2010 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (54 posts)

thj_1980
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 5:59:34 PM
Reply

Nice review Arnold!!!
I agree with, the audio as well Rockstar always has great voice acting, they really do take pride in recording the voices well.

I hope they make an update for the current GTA IV because the online really sucks, it lags and freezes constantly. Also I can never join my friends in a match, without having to wait 15 minutes before the invite comes, and by that time they already left the game!!!

Last edited by thj_1980 on 4/15/2010 6:05:09 PM

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Superman915
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:14:23 PM
Reply

great to see its now 720p, not bad 600. That song syncing thing is awesome too, but I'm not sure i have the space for them.

Maybe I'll wait for a sale on PSN.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:13:08 PM

Ya, the song syncing makes me regret selling my copy of GTA4.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:15:34 PM
Reply

Don't care if this got an 11, I refuse to support these business practices. No purchase.

Agree with this comment 10 up, 8 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:25:15 PM

You and Saint need to find a picture and stick with it. It's the internet your avatar means something.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:09:30 PM

I just don't wanna wind up with something sucky as a permanent one. You know, like yours ;P

Agree with this comment 6 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:12:13 PM

...and to think I paid for the appetizer last night, you're a jerk!

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:15:59 PM

Oh snap!

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:10:45 PM

lol, good times.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:22:16 PM
Reply

Thanks for the review Arnold. I'm going to be skipping this currently but I'll eventually get around to playing them.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

redman479
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:32:44 PM
Reply

2 late, nobody wants 2 year old dlc.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 8 down Disagree with this comment

Minishmaru
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:38:36 PM

2 year dlc? Has it been out for the xbox that long?

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:10:37 PM

No.

Lost and Damned has been out for a little over a year while The Ballad of Gay Tony came out this past October so it's only been 6months roughly.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

faraga
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 12:01:17 PM

I do still want it though. So make that nobody minus one.

Last edited by faraga on 4/16/2010 12:02:18 PM

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www
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:33:10 PM
Reply

Will definitely get this, but seems faaaaar cheaper on the 360.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

VicTheMighty
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:59:14 PM

it retails at the same price as the 360 version at my store (Downtown Montreal) 49.99 CAN.

Fun Fact: with the 2 week delay it came out at the same time as 360 exclusive splinter cell and you know what? It sold more LOL 80ish copies vs splinter 50ish XD XD

Last edited by VicTheMighty on 4/15/2010 8:03:58 PM

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Minishmaru
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:39:34 PM
Reply

I might have to pick this up, I wasn't too impressed with the main character in the original GTA4 his accent I couldn't get over for some reason

Agree with this comment 2 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

Mr Bitey
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:41:25 PM
Reply

Too little, too late. It's year old DLC for a 3 year old game. There's nothing new and it's being sold for more than the 360 version. It's insulting.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

DemonNeno
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:55:08 PM
Reply

This sounds interesting! I'll probably give it a shot in a couple months.. After I play everything else I wanna get my hands on! :D

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Jed
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:13:35 PM
Reply

Who the hell do they think they are selling these for $40! I really liked GTAIV, and I really want to play these games. I loathe the whole timed exclusives practice, but the games are here now and I can overlook that.

But charging us more for a game that came out on another system over a year ago, well that just straight PISSES ME OFF! As if the wait wasnt enough, I just feel like we have been stabbed in the back again.

I guess they want to the online price equal to that of the retail version. but did they forget that we paid them money for GTA4 in the first place???

I'm happy that it got a good review, but I'm so disappointed that I am going to have to wait for a price drop before I can pick them upl.

Agree with this comment 9 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

VicTheMighty
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:08:12 PM

Well I said that a few posts higher but here the 360 and Ps3 versions are the same price. And that pricing stands for the whole Canada. And it is from FutureShop and Best Buy. Can't be that different in the US no?

Same content same price... Kinda fair.
And EvilSoft paid em good enough for them to get it first sooo... In a way its fair that they got what they paid for XD. And anyway, alot of good games kept me going and I didn't even look in GTA IV's expansions way until now XD so I might just grab it in a few weeks or when it hits Greatest hits LOL Man so many good games at the moment. I don't know where to throw what little money I have left hahaha.

Last edited by VicTheMighty on 4/15/2010 8:13:10 PM

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Kai200X
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 1:30:46 AM

I'm totally with you. I am pissed that we have to wait for a year to play those DLCs. I thought they should either make them cheaper or add new contents.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jed
Saturday, April 17, 2010 @ 10:46:54 PM

I feel stupid now. I heard that we were going to have to pay more and just went crazy about it, without actually checking for myself.

I loved GTAIV, and I am happy that we finally have the chance to play the DLC. But paying full price for such an old game, and the fact that I am not exactly "financially sound" at the moment, means that I am going to have to wait on this one.

I still with that they could show us some appreciation with the downloadable versions. I bought the collector's edition of IV the midnight it came out, and still have my original copy sitting right here next to my TV. That should at least get me a pat on the back.

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Alienange
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:21:33 PM
Reply

Well thank goodness they didn't listen to the cry babies and went ahead and added checkpoints. A lot of people think it makes the game easier but I say it makes the game less boring. Driving around was fun and all, but the action is where it's at in GTAIV.

I'll grab this when they price it right and it looks like I'll be enjoying it.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Mavfan321
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:08:25 PM
Reply

I may be in the minority here but I can't get into GTA IV as much as I loved GTA 3-San Andreas. Maybe these characters can be more endearing to me than Nico but I doubt it. Come on Ray Liotta vs. some guy doing an Eastern European accent is a no contest.

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TEG3SH
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:52:20 PM

somebody had to say it " minority in my water-park minority" lol southpark reference for those who are not familiar with it

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TEG3SH
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:08:36 PM
Reply

dont care anymore, keep it to urself Take 2, @LV nice too see ur bak, it was hard being the only jerk round hya

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NeoHumpty
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:12:13 PM
Reply

I loved Niko and the other characters. Hated the sluggish controls (running and driving always felt so slow). Thanks for letting me know it's a good story, though. This looks like it may be an ebay purchase WAY down the road.

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NeoHumpty
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:14:25 PM

Gotta keep in mind that you guys loved GTAIV, I guess. On second thought, so many better games are out now.......pass.

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TEG3SH
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:19:17 PM

@ neo ha ha , schizophrenia is a bi*ch

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Deleted User
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:15:54 PM
Reply

I'm thinking about getting the disc of these, but I haven't played GTAIV, (the story/character of the main game don't really interest me)

would I need to play the main game to understand the stories?

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faraga
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 12:07:07 PM

Probably not, though it would help to catch a couple of references to the original story.

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McWhoopin
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:25:47 PM
Reply

Hey Arnold, I had a question about the new music in these, does that include new talk radio segments as well? Always loved the banter on those and was hoping for more of it.

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hadouken
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:31:32 PM
Reply

I've been waiting for this for a long time. I agree that time exclusives suck but Ms offered rockstar a reported 50 million. How could anybody turn that down? I don't care if it's late it's here now.

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Kai200X
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 1:26:28 AM
Reply

Just finished The Lost and Damned. Granted, I didn't complete all the mini quests, but that's because I want to have something to do after I completed the main quest. Overall I like it and I can't wait to play Gay Tony.

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RebelJD
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 2:16:08 AM
Reply

I was a big fan of Vice City, not so much of San Andreas. I lost interest in GTA IV and never finished it. These expansions remind me more of the GTA III feel and I'm digging that. I'll be buying these puppies soon enough. Maybe they'll sell way better on the PS3 and Rockstar will "F" off Microsoft. lol

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___________
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 2:23:22 AM
Reply

this gets a 9 and just cause 2 gets a 7?
now THIS is Exactly! the reason why i ignore reviews these days.
i played the DLC when it released on disk last year and to be honest its just as boring as GTAIV.
they added a few things, but the truth is they should of been added into the original game.
so in depth its too late!
GTA has gone down the sh*tter just like my other favorite series!
oh what i would give for GTAIV to be vice city with updated graphics.
please R*, please make it happen!

GTAIV liberty city stories = the biggest waste of 70 bucks in the history of the world!!!!!!!!!

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Kr3sn1k
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 4:06:00 PM

just cause 2 was a horrible game

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

FM23
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 4:00:38 AM
Reply

^^^ Wow, GTAIV doesn't suck at all. When IV came out, I was glad they made the game more mature and realistic because I hated the over the top story in San Andreas, but then I missed the endless free world. I won't lie...VICE CITY is the best GTA and I would love to see a PS3 make over, but with all the new mechanics. You might hate that, but to be honest, those games were very arcady and I am at an age right now where I want gaming to feel serious and not some childs play. And But seriously, GTAIV is a masterpiece and you guys calling it boring must hate games with stories and games that don't have over the top action left and right. Maybe, when you get older or mature, you might feel different. I am not trying to insult anyone and that is not my intention, I am just basing my opinion off of your comments. I don't know you all like that so my opinion could be bull...but as of right now...if you consider Just Cause 2 to be a great game, then you don't know what true quality is. I just bought JC2, and it is actually pretty fun, but outside of that, it has nothing I will remember. JC2 is what you call a kickback and bullsh*t game, nothing I would recommend. Again this is just my opinion.

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LimitedVertigo
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 4:19:10 AM

You could have just replied directly to his comment, there is a reply button.

I don't recognize your name so you may be new to the site, if so you'll learn to glance over NoName's comments since they often times are mindless rants.

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DeathOfChaos
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 8:22:39 AM

I never play the story to the GTA games. I just slaughter countless civilians with a bus...in the park.

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swapnilgyani
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 1:06:26 PM

^^

And they say the "No Russian" level was taking it too far...

:P

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Banky A
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 5:56:40 AM
Reply

Aw man I so need this in my life as well.

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DeathOfChaos
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 8:20:42 AM
Reply

I'm kind of wanting to buy the original and get the ones of the PSN so I get ALL that music! But that's like $80 all together, right? lol. Still kinda sounds worth it. I wouldn't mind doing that...I love the music in the GTA games, so that would be great.

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bOnEs
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 9:52:05 AM
Reply

i'm on the second add-on right now and i have to say, the lost and damned was a lot of fun... if you liked GTAIV, your gonna like these...

and for me, it's like getting GTAIVa since this feels more like a new GTA game set in the same universe... it's been so long since the original release that it feels like a new game to me... and more GTA is always a good thing...

i don't care how long it took to get this, i am still excited about playing it :D... GTA 4 LIFE...

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Kingharris
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 10:39:18 AM
Reply

It needs reigniting, bring GTA back to it's homeland. London :p

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Simcoe
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 1:47:34 PM
Reply

Does anyone know how big (MB or GB) both episodes are?

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BadBrad
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 3:42:45 PM
Reply

The term "TIMED" exclusive ...well my way of making sure these sell out developers get whats coming to them , is by buying their games 2nd hand ...like bioshock 1 , lost planet 1 ...these dev's forget where they made their millions before ....i will do the same with splinter cell..
this gen only 1st party titles get my hard earned cash !

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556pineapple
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 4:57:24 PM
Reply

After reading this review, it sounds like they'll be worth my time eventually. I am absolutely broke right now though, so I'll have to wait.

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FM23
Saturday, April 17, 2010 @ 1:48:17 AM
Reply

@LimitedVertigo

Man I did that so 'everyone' could see where I'm coming from...duh...and I am not new to this site, I just don't comment every five minutes like you do. That may 'read' negative, but I am just stating the obvious with no disrespect intended, I just see your name flooding every comment area...lol...anyway, can't believe this guy thought JC2 was better than GTA IV.

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Mounce
Saturday, April 17, 2010 @ 10:27:26 AM
Reply

If you download them off PSN, they essentially aren't running off of a disc then, would that mean by downloading them off PSN that would take up HDD space, would that mean the 2 episodes would run better or have better load times compared to the retail version?...

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King James
Saturday, April 17, 2010 @ 6:32:40 PM
Reply

Great! Thanx for the review Arnold. I'll have to catch this one on-sale or something. I just don't feel right paying $20 for some old DLC. Didn't do it with Fallout 3. Won't do it with GTA4.

Now, back to GoW3.

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Gamer46
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 @ 8:33:01 PM
Reply

Nice review. I wasn't a fan of the main GTA IV game but the expansions are both very fun.

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TheCanadianGuy
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 3:52:46 PM
Reply

leaving this totally late but i gotta say gay tony is phenomenal. by far the best of the 3 GTA IV chapters and the best sense San andreas.

i hope GTA V is more like Vice. San andreas And gay tony than it is IV.

Last edited by TheCanadianGuy on 6/3/2012 3:53:35 PM

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