Review: The Ballad of Gay Tony

We finally reached the limit on the PS3’s hard disk a few weeks ago. Although I had the option of reformatting the hard drive to reclaim the 10gb after Sony disabled OtherOS* it seemed a lot easier to get a newer more spacious disk. A quick trip to Amazon later and a very simple backup and upgrade and my PS3 was wallowing in a spare 300gb of internal storage which should be enough for all the DLC we can afford for a while.

The Ballad of Gay Tony has finally finished it’s exclusive stint on the Xbox360 and is now available on the PS3. Being a long time fan of the GTA series I forked over my hard earned cash for the ~2gb download. When you first start GTAIV again it detects the presence and offers you a chance to start a new TBGT based game complete with a new disco friendly loading sequence.

Although the game takes part in the same expansive world of Liberty City it involves a brand new set of characters and a new protagonist in the form of Luis Fernando Lopez who is the titular “Gay Tony” Prince’s right hand man. The story line is what you expect from GTA although being DLC skips a lot of the build up from the main game dumping you almost immediately into the sort over the top gun battles and movie inspired chase scenes that are the GTA’s forte. Refreshingly your character starts tooled up for the job without having to start at the bottom of the equipment tree like Nico does. A couple of other gameplay tweaks are also evident including the ability to restart sections of the mission (although you lose trophy bragging rights if you do) as well as rudimentary targets to aim for in each mission. A few new mini-games are also introduced including golf and the ability to take a more proactive role in managing Tony’s night clubs.

The game benefits a lot from the solid foundation created by the GTAIV rendition of the living detailed Liberty City. Even after finishing the original game I found there is still a lot of discovery possible. Given the amount of effort invested in building the city simulation the DLC model should prove lucrative for Rockstar providing the story, characters and acting keep up to the high standards expected of the series. So far for me TBGT has done exactly that, it’s just a shame I had to wait so long for it to turn up on my platform of choice.

* Brief aside: Yes I’m pissed off at Sony for removing OtherOS but realistically I never really used the functionality as the core operating system support for media and streaming is already very good. It does provide yet another salutatory lesson on how we don’t really control our modern consumer hardware anymore though.