I was going to
have to skip posting today. It is just too damned crazy of a day.
Then someone messed up their job and it trickled down to my job, and
now I'm in cruise control. Works out well since I finally beat The
Lost and Damned last night and wanted to share some final
thoughts...spoiler free final thoughts.
For one thing,
TLaD is longer than one would expect for DLC that cost 1/3 the price
of a full game. I clocked in at around 12 hours when I finished.
This doesn't count reloads. While the game (including GTA4) lets you
restart a mission from the start, if you die or get arrested, it's
sometimes better to reload.
For example, if
the mission restarts not far from your save point location, you may
have to think of picking up some new armor, tracking down a good
motorcycle (a good amount of missions and side events require one),
or stocking up on needed weapons. In cases where it would just save
me the hassle of re-buying or re-finding everything I needed, I
My actual play
time is far closer to twenty hours. Some missions were hard, but
others just showed off my sloppiness when I was in too much of a
hurry. For example, either of the beach based motorcycle races saw a
lot of reloads as my bike was lost in the ocean and I didn't want to
waste the time to drive back to the safe house to find another good
quality racing bike. Yes, you can call Clay for a new ride, but he
will not do so if you've already done it recently.
Most of all, TLaD
is harder, on average, than GTA4. The only real exception is if you
compare final missions. The final mission of TLaD is pretty much a
cake walk with a free fully supplied Johnny when you start the
mission (including free unlimited rocket launcher refills). There's
also no clumsy bike chase mission on the beach to make things that
much more aggravating.
mission on TLaD is a definite step in the more challenging
direction, but without being frustrating. It's like a well planned
and choreographed movie action sequence. It may look difficult and
frustrating at a casual glace, but in reality it's all well
choreographed and just requires one to think in the moment.
Best of all, for
myself, as I played TLaD was how well it did tie in with Nikko's
adventure. Nikko encountered diamonds, a kidnapped cousin, a heroine
deal gone wrong, and was responsible for killing a couple members of
The Lost MC. As Johnny, you get to see why the diamonds ever entered
the scene, how Roman was kidnapped, where the drugs came from and
who owned them originally, and how The Lost felt the loss of two of
their more important members. These games really do go hand in hand
when it comes to plot.
The only complaint
I have at the end is that Nikko cannot use Johnny's stuff. The
improved bike physics, the new weapons, the new cars, the new
bikes...none of it enters into the original game. This is especially
sad when the bike physics and the new weapons are so damned awesome.
Most of all, there's the new grenade launcher, sawed-off shotty
(awesome for bike drive-bys), and street sweeper assault shotgun
(best weapon ever in a GTA).
Still, for a price
of $20, I feel quite happy. If GTA4 gave me about 35-40 hours for
$60, then TLaD giving me around 15-20 hours for $20 is a bargain.
I just hope
Rockstar doesn't pull a Valve. Another episode is due out before
GTA5, and I don't want to see it dragged out for all time like Valve
has done with Half-Life Episode .