The Ballad of Gay Tony continues the story of Grand Theft Auto IV, the popular (and highly controversial, as usual for this series) sandbox action game. If you, for some reason, don’t know what GTA is all about – you take the role of a gangster trying to climb up his “professional” ladder in a modern-day town, and the player is free to do whatever they want on the streets – hijack vehicles, attack random citizens, etc.

Gameplay

In TBOGT, the game is played from the eyes of a new character, Luis Fernando Lopez, who’s personally responsible for protecting his boss, Anthony Prince – the “Gay Tony” the title of the game refers to. Prince, being a very well-known figure in the town’s community (and especially in the underground one), gets involved in some business that he soon realizes may cost him his life, and this is where the game picks up.

You begin engaged in a bank robbery which fails dramatically, and as a result Tony is unable to repay his debts to some high-ranking gangsters. Thus, he begins completing various tasks for them to make up for the debt, and the player is tasked with following him and covering for him – which soon turns out to be quite a demanding task.

The game will give you several new weapons to play with, as well as a few new vehicles, which are mostly sports cars but also include some heavy-duty vehicles and even a new aircraft. Air vehicle control has been improved greatly, and flying a chopper is now much more convenient, as the radar provides you with more useful information. You also have the option of going back to already-completed missions and attempting to do them better, getting a higher score as a result – this adds a great, albeit small, competitive edge to the game.

Graphics and System Requirements

Not much has been changed since the original GTA4 engine. The city still looks as beautiful and realistic as it did before, the new cars have been detailed as precisely as the ones we already had – and the new characters look simply great and absolutely fitting to the game’s setting.

GTA4 made great impressions on players and critics thanks to the fine details it included, and this trend is continued here – for example, when you’re walking up/down a set of stairs, you actually see your character’s legs realistically move from step to step instead of looking like you’re gliding across a flat ramp.

The system requirements haven’t changed either, for better or worse – and the game remains highly demanding in terms of hardware for those who’re playing it on a PC. You’ll need a very powerful DX9-capable video card to handle the rendering, and as for the processor, even a dual core may turn out to be too weak if it’s not clocked high enough.

On the other hand, the engine has been specifically optimized for quad-core processors, and you should see a tremendous improvement in your framerates if you switch to one, as opposed to a single/dual core.

Other

We loved the Fight Club references when the player decides to do some management on Tony’s club security – you’ll see some underground fighting matches to decide the next candidates, and you’ll get to directly participate yourself if you wanted.

Conclusion

The Ballad of Gay Tony is a tasty new addition to the GTA series, and one that should keep the game’s fans occupied for a good while.

Categories: ActionReviews

Lauren Richard

Dr. Patterson's research interests include ethnobiology, community-based conservation, biocultural diversity, and sustainable development. He has worked extensively with the Maijuna and other indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon. Dr. Patterson helped the Maijuna establish an indigenous federation in 2004 and has worked with them on community-based biocultural conservation projects since 1999.

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