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why do so many people in this section hate TBOGT?

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nobum62
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#1

Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:56 PM

maybe there isn't a lot of people who hate TBOGT, but i see comments such as "i hate how colorful it is" and "luis lopez was an arrogant sh*t".

can someone please give reasons?


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#2

Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:05 AM

These DLCs were really polar opposites, which is actually a pretty cool move to make.
We relate to Johnny and his crew, the motorcycle riders, hard rockers, and government resenting rejects. I like motorcycles, heavy metal, and a good story. TLaD had all three.

TBoGT was the opposite. I played it, and I thought itwas some good, stupid fun; but will never replace TLaD. R* saw "we have two serious stories, let's just let the players have some fun with this one." Hence, explosive, auto shotguns, golden uzis, tanks, attack helicopters, parachutes, etc.
All are pretty fun gimmicks, but at the end of the day, I appreciated the good, gritty, rag-tag simulation of a street gang in TLaD more than just mowing down NPCs with new toys.

As for characters, I really don't like Luis, which was a good deal why I couldn't appreciate Gay Tony's story. He's uptight, inconsistant, and has no real motivation or niche; just really tacked on. Niko was a former soldier looking for revenge, all the way realizing what a vile place Liberty City was and what a hollow effort his quest for revenge was. Johnny was one tough motherf*cker, who lived one tough life up until his terribly written death in V. He did everything for his club and his brothers and all the while sticking to his principles.

Luis was "i gess im a murdering maniac lol" with no real background or explanation as to why he was such a bad motherf*cker when it came to dispatching half the mafia in LC. He would complain incessently to Tony and his friends, and I think was much more of a negative figure on screen than people put Johnny out to be.

At the end of the day, it just comes down to the classic devision of video games: gameplay or story and atmosphere? Jetpacking in San Andreas, or enjoying the sun soaked beaches in Vice City? Throwing exploding punches into a guy's car, or pack riding with your brothers in the pouring rain?

I'm sure people in the TBoGT section, with twice the posts of TLaD, hated thejr gritty biker adventure, limited to sawn-offs and pipe bombs. There's really nothing wrong with either choice, but I prefer story; and consequently, TLaD. It's a shame this story favoring crowd wasn't much entertained with the short, lackluster campaign of V.
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B Dawg
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#3

Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:35 AM

One of the main reasons I hated TBOGT were the theme and the colors, which made Liberty City look awful, over saturated.


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#4

Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:24 AM

I like TBOGT.

DrunkenC. - Luis was a "badass motherf*cker" just like all GTA protags, he did some time in big house, was in the military.

And his motivation was to save Tony who was his best friend.

 

i did not like TLAD soo much it was to short and had not much things to do and the end was week.


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#5

Posted 15 October 2013 - 01:49 PM

I like TBOGT.

DrunkenC. - Luis was a "badass motherf*cker" just like all GTA protags, he did some time in big house, was in the military.

And his motivation was to save Tony who was his best friend.

 

i did not like TLAD soo much it was to short and had not much things to do and the end was week.

Luis was not in the military. those pictures are of his father.

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Vagos MC
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#6

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:44 PM Edited by Vagos MC, 15 October 2013 - 04:50 PM.

The reason why so many people in this section dislike Tbogt is because of the theme. Luis Lopez moaned alot meanwhile he didn't do anything to help himself. He just complained more and murdered more. He was a tough guy but he didn't stand up to anybody really. He practically enjoyed Rocco pushing him over. Another thing I couldn't handle was the amount of realism. There was no realism. I don't know of any ghetto guys who could defeat and kill half of the Russian and Amercian Mob. 


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#7

Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:50 PM Edited by DarkKingBernard, 15 October 2013 - 05:05 PM.

One of the things I also hated is having to work in a club with the sh*ttiest music ever! Why couldn't we work in Bahama Mamas which actually had some decent music in the game, and a better interior. Although LMG spraying all over the club is fun when you want to have fun in a sh*tty game.

 

Vladivostok FM TBOGT > Electro Choc IV >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Electro Choc TBOGT

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Drunken Cowboy
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#8

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:19 PM

One of the main reasons I hated TBOGT were the theme and the colors, which made Liberty City look awful, over saturated.

 

They just didn't suit Liberty as TLaD's theme of scratched out old English and blood-spattered font did. The neon pink suited Vice City, because, especially in the 80's, Miami was a sun-soaked, neon and florescent city. If you've ever been to New York or New Jersey, there's some nice parts, granted, but for the most part it's really just gritty, dirty, grimy, dangerous, etc.

If the TBoGT theme was more flashy to represent the fast cars and golden Uzis Luis was used to, I think that would have been a bit more tolerable. Instead, they were all pink and rainbows. Why? Because a supporting character happened to be gay... It just didn't make much sense, and it wasn't visually appealing.


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#9

Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:07 PM

One of the things I also hated is having to work in a club with the sh*ttiest music ever! Why couldn't we work in Bahama Mamas which actually had some decent music in the game, and a better interior. Although LMG spraying all over the club is fun when you want to have fun in a sh*tty game.

 

Vladivostok FM TBOGT > Electro Choc IV >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Electro Choc TBOGT

well, i agree that bahama mamas was better. its music was awesome!

maisonette's music was meh.....


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#10

Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:22 PM

I really enjoyed it, TLAD and IV are better, TBOGT was just like the last dance. it was decent because of the fun it had, but characters and story were not as good as the other two.


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#11

Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:12 PM

I really enjoyed it, TLAD and IV are better, TBOGT was just like the last dance. it was decent because of the fun it had, but characters and story were not as good as the other two.

 

Sad thing is, at the end of the day, I think Gay Tony had more memorable characters and almost as memorable missions as GTA V.


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#12

Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:49 AM

 

I really enjoyed it, TLAD and IV are better, TBOGT was just like the last dance. it was decent because of the fun it had, but characters and story were not as good as the other two.

 

Sad thing is, at the end of the day, I think Gay Tony had more memorable characters and almost as memorable missions as GTA V.

 

are you saying TBOGT hardly had memorable characters? c'mon man, they had YUSUF AMIR!!! 


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#13

Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:22 AM

I really enjoyed it, TLAD and IV are better, TBOGT was just like the last dance. it was decent because of the fun it had, but characters and story were not as good as the other two.

 
Sad thing is, at the end of the day, I think Gay Tony had more memorable characters and almost as memorable missions as GTA V.
are you saying TBOGT hardly had memorable characters? c'mon man, they had YUSUF AMIR!!!

ARAB MONEY!!
But at the end of the day, Yusif, Mori, Tony, maybe Rocko, the rest of the characters either couldn't match the humor or personalities of TLaD or IV's... based solely on my opinion, of course.

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#14

Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:11 AM

I say TBOGT is meh because of it's weak story. The Lost & Damned was much better in the story department. I still prefer Luis Lopez though.


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#15

Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:35 AM Edited by Peachrocks, 18 October 2013 - 02:40 AM.

First off, I want to say I don't hate TBoGT. I actually like it more than normal GTA4 but not as much as TLAD.

 

There's nothing wrong with the underlying theme or idea it's just not well put together when compared to TLAD which has a very straight theme and doesn't stray from it. TBoGT is just all over the place and Luis and the theme of the story is just full of contradictions.

 

I found it really hard to identify with Luis and figure out just where he's coming from. Drunken sums it up nicely with Niko and Johnny's motivations. With Luis, it's... just not there. It could have been though but it seems the writers couldn't make up their minds for what Luis' motivations actually were beyond 'breaking out of the neighborhood' theme which they've done over and over.

 

Luis' words throughout the entire story is 'I don't wanna be a killer' but everything he does indicates the opposite. Granted a GTA game wouldn't be all that interesting if he didn't do things that way let alone one that was meant to be all about bling but it creates inconsistency in the character and the story and sure most of the time he reluctantly does these things but when he does get to make a few decisions it reinforces the fact that he really does want to kill people.

 

Why in God's name does he agree to work for Bulgarin, he knew damn well who he was and knew he was bad news regardless of how much the club needed money and surprise, surprise, that ended up badly for him.

 

I always thought it was odd that Niko kills Dimitri and Luis kills Bulgarin when it really should have been the other way around. Niko and Dimitri had no history prior to him arriving in LC, Dimitri could have still betrayed him but not been the primary focus, Bulgarin should have been the primary focus seeing as how Niko runs away to LC at least partly because of him only for him to... not really do anything to Niko aside through Dimitri.

 

Dimitri betraying Luis would have made much more sense because Dimitri seems much more of the 'business man' type and the whole 'everything has a price' theme that TBoGT was going for compared to Bulgarin who's just a bit of a maniac. They may not have planned that far ahead but even in writing vanilla GTA, Bulgarin taking a backseat simply makes no sense and that lack of foresight spills over into TBoGT's storyline.

 

I think if it'd gone down that way, it'd have created the 'sneaky but action packed' atmosphere TBoGT was going for.

 

Another thing that doesn't help when comparing TLAD to TBoGT is that Johnny  has Jim, Terry and Clay who are all enjoyable characters with strong likeable personalities. Luis has Armando who is a real asshole almost all the time for very petty reasons. Armando does have abandonment issues but it still creates a very poor character and that doesn't help Luis' development. Henrique is alright and I like his character but Armando being tagged onto him really drags him down


simonp92
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#16

Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:30 AM Edited by simonp92, 20 October 2013 - 09:33 AM.

I dislike TBOGT, because the story was pretty lackluster compared to GTA IV and TLAD, but it had some highlights like Brucie comming out of the closet, and Bulgarin turning on Luis. The missions were leagues better than GTA IV and TLAD, and the new guns where fun, but the story was just plan boring. Luis BTW is the worst protagonist R* has ever written in my opinion. Quite possibly because 20 something missions weren't enough to really get him to develop. 

 

Why does he hang out with Henrique and Armando? They always get him trouble, and he keeps saying things like "I'll never help you again", and "why do I hang out with you guys?" Come to think of it, it sounds allot like Franklin and Lamar's relationship, but for some reason I didn't find it as bad in GTA V, possibly because it only took up about 3-4 missions out of 69, whereas in TBOGT it was 3-4 missions out of only 26. 

 

Why does Luis wanna do EVERYTHING for Tony? He obviously doesn't like any of the associates, Tony makes him work for. Luis doesn't actually seem to like any other character except for Tony. Why does he like Tony? Tony is obviously pretty stupid, borrowring money from mobsters, taking drugs and dating that meathead Evan. We do not get enough backstory as to why Luis blindly helps Tony with everything. We know that Luis was in prison, but how did he even come to work for Tony in the first place? 

 

Luis was just not likeable, he is hostile towards EVERY character he meets. Where Niko shared that character trait, he reserved it for the characters, the player wasn't meant to like either, like Dimitri and Vlad, and he usually did it in a homourous way. Luis was just hostile for no apparent reason, except for Rocco which was, from the very get go, the obvious antagonist. 


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#17

Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:32 AM

I enjoyed both. TLAD was raw and had a personal struggle with Johnny. TBoGT was a different but equally great story focusing on friendship and such.
Both are enjoyable and they definitely rank among my faves along with most other R* games. The TLAD fanbase was awoken by the, er, recent events that included Johnny. Niko's fans and Luis' fans are content. Johnny is grabbing peoples' interests, be it in a positive or negative way.

*SPOILERS*

Johnny grabs my interest in a positive way, in hopes of an Undead-Nightmare-esque DLC, since his end was sad and seems to have more meaning than we think. Trevor could have killed anyone.... Why Johnny? Why not Niko? The sales for his game were good and everything, so why kill him? So many pieces are missing here. A DLC could fill that gap.

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#18

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:03 AM

*SPOILERS*

Johnny grabs my interest in a positive way, in hopes of an Undead-Nightmare-esque DLC, 

 

I don't get why this is such a popular suggestion. What's gonna happen when Johnny comes back? Is he going to eat Trevor and end the game? No, Trevor would just kill him again.

 

What would be nice is something in GTA Online explaining Rockstar's f*cking retarded decision to make him a methhead shell of a man. How much work would it be to make him a mission giver? Just a couple of cutscenes and a few dozen dialogue lines; like Gerald or Madrazo. Maybe we can do some hits on TP Enterprises for a little retribution. We could trash Trevor's trailer, or explain why Ron wears a knee brace... something. 

 

Hell, they could make a whole pack out of it. Packie, Brucie, Johnny, Rocko giving you missions in GTA Online. It'd be a breath of fresh air from having to kill the Lost 6,000 times for Trevor... Luis is only the second worst protagonist to that asshole, regardless of him killing Johnny or not.

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universetwisters
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#19

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:33 PM

Luis is only the second worst protagonist to that asshole, regardless of him killing Johnny or not.

 

So Trevor is automatically an asshole for killing Trevor, a once-badass protagonist who turned into a methead junkie by V's timeline? That's kind of a bold statement...


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#20

Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:13 AM

 

Luis is only the second worst protagonist to that asshole, regardless of him killing Johnny or not.

 

So Trevor is automatically an asshole for killing Trevor, a once-badass protagonist who turned into a methead junkie by V's timeline? That's kind of a bold statement...

 

 

Uh, no. That's the opposite of what I said. "Regardless of him killing Johnny or not."

Being such a huge TLaD fan, that was the first and final nail in the coffin for Trevor's character. Nevertheless, none of his other qualities were redeeming in my opinion. He was a drug-fueled, dress-wearing psycho that bullied likable characters like Ron, Lester, Michael, and Floyd into getting what he wanted. 

Just not my cup of tea.

 

On a different note, yes, we do need to find out more about North Yankton. Why make such a detailed strip of buildings and stores if it's instant mission failure stepping foot into them? We need to go back to the midwest...

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#21

Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:42 PM

Being such a huge TLaD fan, that was the first and final nail in the coffin for Trevor's character. Nevertheless, none of his other qualities were redeeming in my opinion. He was a drug-fueled, dress-wearing psycho that bullied likable characters like Ron, Lester, Michael, and Floyd into getting what he wanted. 

Just not my cup of tea.

yes, even all of those funny lines trevor has like "you want me to get my dick out again?" weren't enough to redeem him.

i must say, trevor's gta trailer was really misleading. in the trailer you learn that he's this guy doing really weird but funny things and had many funny lines. but in GTA 5, you learn that he's not the silly funny guy in the trailer and is actually really insane

 

Spoiler


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#22

Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:42 PM

On a different note, yes, we do need to find out more about North Yankton. Why make such a detailed strip of buildings and stores if it's instant mission failure stepping foot into them? We need to go back to the midwest...

 

Yer goddamn right, amigo. There's way too much of a mystery.


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#23

Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:05 PM Edited by Peachrocks, 24 October 2013 - 01:08 PM.

 

yes, even all of those funny lines trevor has like "you want me to get my dick out again?" weren't enough to redeem him.

i must say, trevor's gta trailer was really misleading. in the trailer you learn that he's this guy doing really weird but funny things and had many funny lines. but in GTA 5, you learn that he's not the silly funny guy in the trailer and is actually really insane

 

Spoiler

 

 

See that's the really funny thing. People would like Trevor regardless of whether he had solid moments of a character or not because that crowd honestly doesn't care. As long as he does random stuff, blows stuff up and generally acts without a care of what people think of him, that crowd would like Trevor so any of the stuff with Brad, Patricia etc. is completely irrelevant because the only people who give a damn about the story and background already hate him.

 

It's one of the biggest reasons I just don't enjoy GTA V's storyline because I feel absolutely nothing for one of the protagonists and that's a REALLY bad thing. At least with all three of GTA IV's I honestly 'cared' about them and didn't feel happy whenever they got killed. Including Luis, since the topic is mostly about him after all. I just think Luis is largely an incomplete idea, it's almost there, but crucial parts are missing.

 

I honestly feel more annoyed about him

Spoiler
than killing Johnny. That action just made his character 100% nonredeemable though it'd have been a miracle if he could have somehow come back from cowardly murdering Johnny.

 

Spoiler
.

 

I definitely would love to see Johnny, Packie and Brucie give out missions. Perhaps taking an active role in assisting in some way (though not so you have to protect them excessively) rather than just being a cut scene presence.

 

Hell I wouldn't mind bringing Tony (and maybe Luis) back trying to get a night club up and running in LS and missions themed around that though preferably Tony being sober and not the drugged mess he was in TBoGT. Somewhat good for storyline sure, but development time on characters people :p.

 

I also hope North Yankton has some DLC based on it. Snow based GTA and mini games? Yes please.

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nobum62
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#24

Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:26 AM

i find it kind of weird how so many gta 4 characters coincidentally appear in gta 5. i think it would be better if there was only a maximum of 3 gta 4 characters, but there's a dozen of them for some reason. 

Spoiler


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#25

Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:58 PM

i find it kind of weird how so many gta 4 characters coincidentally appear in gta 5. i think it would be better if there was only a maximum of 3 gta 4 characters, but there's a dozen of them for some reason. 

Spoiler


Well the Lost and their ol' ladies are gonna be moving as a unit, so it makes sense all four of them were there. (Although Ashley should not have been there)
The rest felt somewhat believable why they were there. It's super coincidental, but it's also fiction. I didn't mind having those characters there, but I just hate how they were all (especially Johnny and his brothers) were portrayed. Hell, all of them either die or or can be killed (except for Karen oddly enough. I wanted that bitch dead.)

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#26

Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:55 AM

i find it kind of weird how so many gta 4 characters coincidentally appear in gta 5. i think it would be better if there was only a maximum of 3 gta 4 characters, but there's a dozen of them for some reason. 

Spoiler

I find it more weird how both Micheal and Trevor happened to settle down in San Andreas of all places, when they both had lived in North Yankon for years. 


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#27

Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:44 PM Edited by Peachrocks, 26 October 2013 - 12:44 PM.

 

i find it kind of weird how so many gta 4 characters coincidentally appear in gta 5. i think it would be better if there was only a maximum of 3 gta 4 characters, but there's a dozen of them for some reason. 

Spoiler


Well the Lost and their ol' ladies are gonna be moving as a unit, so it makes sense all four of them were there. (Although Ashley should not have been there)
The rest felt somewhat believable why they were there. It's super coincidental, but it's also fiction. I didn't mind having those characters there, but I just hate how they were all (especially Johnny and his brothers) were portrayed. Hell, all of them either die or or can be killed (except for Karen oddly enough. I wanted that bitch dead.)

 

 

Am I the only one who liked Karen post 'betrayal?'

 

I think it's funny how Niko never realizes he never would have found Darko if she didn't intervene, she introduces him to Doberman (The contact/paper guy) who finds Darko. He wasn't even in the same country for crying out loud. That said, how she appears in GTA V is less than flattering and even post betrayal, she wasn't so cold. I want to know what happened to her, though in her case its a far less stretch than Johnny's


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#28

Posted 17 November 2013 - 07:25 PM

It's not as much that I dislike Ballad of Gay Tony for what it is as much as I found it to be a gigantic 'missed opportunity'.

 

I'm as much of a fan of the older GTA's style of arcade-y gameplay like San Andreas as much as I am a fan of GTA IV's more grounded feel of the criminal genre shooter, notably from the fact that the left analogue stick doesn't makes your character run, it makes him walk.

 

So when Ballad of Gay Tony is presented as being a mixing of the two genre, I should have been pleased.

Unfortunately, the two genres just doesn't mixed well together. The new story pacing and presentation they created since GTA IV just doesn't reflect the actual style of Ballad, it in turn creates mere shades of interesting new ideas but then fumbles it away because Ballad sought after a different direction.

Then there's the actual sandbox where the game takes place in, Liberty City, which just isn't made for the old-style mayhem of the previous GTA. Parachuting for example, which was used as the first official tease of the Ballad in its pre-trailer announcement, is a redundant object to be used in the landscape of Liberty City. Why steal a helicopter to fly so high just to jump off and land in another spot? This isn't like San Andreas which presented uneasy terrains that lead one spot of the map to the other, terrains which just isn't always easy to land your helicopter properly. Liberty City on the other hand is a flat landscape, it's way easier to get from one spot to the other without resorting to air transportation.

And didn't GTA IV also introduced fast travel anyway?

 

Furthermore regarding the poor choice of using Liberty City as its sandbox terrain is the simple fact that the majority of the story missions all take places in newly designed interiors that doesn't make use of the actual layouts of Liberty City itself. This is different from Lost and Damned which makes use of the environment and terrain already present in Liberty City to conduct its story and missions. Ballad on the other hand makes the player assist into a new 'side' of the city, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in doing so it could have easily made its setting in any other GTA locations.

 

And this is just a tip of what I actually disliked regarding Ballad. I can go on about the uselessness of the new weaponry, side missions, and boring story missions. But keeping the purpose of this thread in mind, I rather go on to my two major points of criticism In Relation to GTA IV and to Lost and Damned, which is on the gameplay and story.

 

Since this is bound to be another wall of text, here's a condensed version for those that just wants the bottom line:

 

I didn't dislike the gameplay on the basis of its 'theme', rather I found the gameplay to be unfulfilling of its original premise. Basically, it wasn't explosive enough. Rather than a big storm of fireworks which is how they planned to send-off with, it was ironically a lot less impactful than what GTA IV and Lost and Damned actually managed to deliver despite the lack of helicopter gunships and explosive shotgun. Whereas those two other entries managed to deliver dramatic action through the basis of meager weaponry and grim situations, Ballad wishes to turn it up to eleven, and instead only vaguely looks like one instead of actually feel like one.

It's a rather poor show when you consider how the trailers delivered a better experience than the game itself. Not to mention that the trailers actually spoiled three quarters of the story missions, the final unspoiled quarter are in fact the most plain and boring missions that ever existed in the GTA series, missions that simply asks you to go from one spot to the other, where no interesting plot or character exposition ever occurs. And in an already short dlc game as it is, how can you afford to waste away missions like this?

 

The story meanwhile is an uneventful trifle of events, supposedly made obligatory because it is the third and final part of the Trinity situation. Despite the title of the game, it never really is about the 'Ballad of Gay Tony'. It is more like a glimpse into the life of Luis Lopez, a glimpse of his situation with his family, a glimpse with the people who knows Gay Tony, a glimpse with the people whom Gay Tony owes money to. It never reaches a proper resolution because it has no grounds to begin with in the first place.

It especially doesn't help that throughout the game, whenever Luis and Tony are discussing their situation, Luis would often remind that "we've been through worse before". We'll thank you so much for making me a witness to this ballad that is not as daring or dramatic as what you two have already been through together!

The connection and element Luis has to bring to the Trinity situation is also a bunch of events that didn't needed to be seen again, mostly because it brought nothing new to the table, there was nothing that occurred to Luis that we didn't already knew from Niko's viewpoint. Aside perhaps from the angle with Ray Bulgarin, but that was probably designed just to close off the GTA IV series rather than to make dramatic sense.

 

The more detailed and crushing wall of text is as follows.

 

San Andreas was an interesting case of story mission design in a GTA game where practically every single of its hundred worth story missions introduced the player to either a new gameplay element, a new weapon, or a mixture of the two to create an original situation which is then rarely if ever repeated.

The Ballad of Gay Tony actually manages to recreate that same feeling to an extent, which I have to give credit to. Almost every new mission introduces the player to a new weapon or side mission for the player to later have fun with during free-roaming. It especially help that the game is only twenty six missions long, so they don't have to drag it across the floor, and instead the condensed version makes it 'seem' more eventful.

It however, only delivers each situation once, yet never push it to the limit it so often wishes to give in to. This creates the feeling that the game is a series of tutorial, where you get to practice parachuting once and then move on, where you get to use the helicopter attacking ground targets once and then move on, where you get to use the helicopter to attack aerial targets once and then move on, where you get to race in tight spots and then move on.

This doesn't sound as dramatic as it is until you realize just how simple and easy each missions are. The museum mission where you use the buzzard to flee the scene and gun down chasing police choppers is one exemplary disappointment. You get to gun down three choppers, in two waves. That's it. During the second wave the police A.I. at times would prefer to smash through one of the skyscrapers and make your job even tamer. You would expect that this is mere practice for a much bigger event which may occur later on in the game, perhaps in the final mission? The helicopter appears indeed during the final mission, but it is used by a npc ally and you've got nothing much to do besides hitting the acceleration button as you drive past the more interesting action you wish you had control over!

 

And what a poor final mission this was! I'm glad I actually played Ballad before Lost and Damned, I got a much more explosive and dramatically fulfilling tension with the latter than I had with the former. A shootout in the fun fair, which is filled with angle of exploits against the enemies, a 'supposed' chase sequence on a bike, a crazy moment where our protagonist jumps onto a moving plane that would have been a lot more memorable had it not been used in the trailer, and the final big bad guy who holds a grenade in hand in the most out of character possible moment, and that's saying something considering how this character had no major personality before the Ballad, and then his character is twisted around in the span of just a couple of missions. Now you've got this James Bond standoff and I frankly couldn't have expected anything worse to follow, yet it does, by blaring a song that shatters whatever atmosphere it wishes to convey as you are expected
 to parachute your way in entirety all the way until the park.

 

The song contains a repeated lyric of "tell me what you're waiting for". On subsequent playthroughs I took it literally, and press the triangle button instead which casts Luis in free fall into the ocean. And proceed my mission in silence, on foot, or jack a car and listen to whichever other song is available.

And I was entertained, sort of.

 

As I specified in my condensed version above, this was a game that thought big but under delivers. It therefor makes me feel that a severely missed opportunity is at hand when they could have closed off the Trinity still with a big bang but by keeping the same presentation as they did in GTA IV and Lost and Damned.

You don't need a tank to deliver big explosions. Heck, you don't even need the night club excess scenery to deliver a tank to Liberty City.

The much fan demanded after tank is used in a mission where you are asked to escape the cops while riding in it. Sounds fair. But then you realize that you no matter how many times you escape the police's search radius, it will instantly pop right back on the player. The game doesn't expect you to flee in a tank, in fact it wants you to deliberately engage into a cop war Until the wanted stars vanishes! Indeed, in this specific mission, you can not evade the wanted stars by any other means than to engage the police force repeatedly until they proceed to retreat.

This design philosophy of forcing me to proceed through an explosive mayhem just doesn't sit well with me. It is of my belief that explosive mayhem are best delivered when it is either of our own makings, or, if it is but a means to accomplish an objective, but not by making it the objective itself.

 

In GTA IV and Lost and Damned, I could engage into the action by means that evoke more sense of freedom than I had with Ballad, which kind of defeats the entire purpose of this dlc doesn't it ? wasn't it the idea of making the Ballad more wacky and eventful to appease those who were not pleased with IV's new design philosophy ? then how come it under delivers ? how come creating explosive mayhem in Ballad feels a lot more forced and un-dramatic compared to what we had before ? why is it that when I successfully exploded a couple of police vehicles with a grenade in a drive by chase feels a lot more satisfying than when I flatten Star Junction's massive traffic in Ballad with the new weaponry and vehicles ?

 

The thing is that this kind of mayhem is over-kill for something as Liberty City, where it is the details of the small events that clutters together and makes it for an expansive landscape. Whereas in comparison, San Andreas wasn't about the accumulation of small details and situations, it was always about making it bigger with whatever you had.

The design philosophy of the two simply don't work that well together. Which is why Ballad never reaches the same high of insane video game fun of older GTA, while at the same time appears too loud for the new GTA design.

 

Like I said i'm mostly criticizing Ballad in relation to IV and Lost and Damned, so I won't exactly go into details about Ballad's individual side missions and other such content.

In short, they're a bit misplaced. The fight club for example seems like a missing content from Lost and Damned, whereas the parachute, as I mentioned in the beginning, is there for the sake of being there.

 

Now, onto Luis' role in the Trinity.

Again, i'm mostly going to criticize from the Trinity angle, not in the specifics of Luis or the other characters.

In short though, I said it best earlier when I call it mere 'glimpses'.

 

The Lost and Damned was a very interesting entry in the Trinity cycle. It not only manages to tell a good story on its own, but it made use of events in GTA IV with interesting consequences.

For example the killing of Jason Michaels that acted as the ignition of the Lost's cataclysm was quite a perspective. Meanwhile the successive exchange of the heroin drugs and the diamonds made for a decent connection, and the effect and consequence that one thug's actions on one side of the city has on another thug on the other side of the metropolis adds an additional layer of drama that gives it a grander feeling of this Liberty City saga. It also gave new light to pre-existing characters, notably Elizabeta and Ray Boccino.

It also plays the same way as GTA IV did, same types of mission set-up, but placed under a different context, and thus despite retaining the same structure, it carries enough shades to make it a new and unique property of its own.

 

The Ballad of Gay Tony wishes to do the same, unfortunately it has nothing much to tell on its own. The story is hindered by lacking a precise conflict or situation, and the tie-ins with the Trinity carries no weight or consequence on its own.

The game opens with Luis being a hostage in the bank heist. The scene plays out exactly the same way it did in IV. I suspected that, acting as the game's opening mission, it would have make us retrieve the last bag of money in the vault, the one meant to be carried by Saint Michael, the one who gets shot by a hostage who engaged into a conversation with Luis. It would added an interesting dynamic of how one character basically took advantage of a situation laid by a successive of others. And cheekily made it as the walking and driving and navigation tutorial at the same time.

But this doesn't happen, instead the opening cinematic continues and Luis basically resumes his usual business and on to another entirely different situation with his boss.

 

I guess the purpose of the opening scene was to make something of an establishing moment for the game's plot; that Luis is basically a bystander to the amount of random and degenerate situations that are always occurring Around Him, and not triggered by himself personally. A cursed fellow or some sort.

 

But then again, the manner in which Luis continuously engage into the various activities just doesn't seem to be rooting for something other than "I don't want to do this but i'll do it anyway, because this contributes to the humor of the story".

This is increasingly noticeable when Luis protests with the ideas and plans of Ray Bulgarin and Yusuf Amir, who offers the most daring missions in the game as well as some of its finest. Yet Luis would complain about the work he is being given in spite of the fact that he deliberately chose to work for these people in the first place. Yusuf even retorts this at one point to Luis, asking him why does he keep coming back to work for him if he isn't having fun. Luis would of course say that he isn't, but why then? why give the players some of the best missions in the game while your protagonist is sulking along the way?

 

The contrast it creates at times almost makes me believe that this was all deliberate, but more on that later, particularly with the ending.

 

Continuing on with Luis' involvement in the Trinity, the diamond situation.

So with the Lost and Damned we saw how the Lost busted the deal. With Luis, we saw the Lost busting the deal. And ... what else goes with it? In the Ballad we saw that Evan, Tony's friend, got himself involved just for the apparent sake of it. We also learn that Luis has no prior knowledge of the diamond deal until it was already underway. It again contributes to this whole 'innocent bystander' image of Luis, but where's the narrative sense in it? Why is Gay Tony buying the diamonds? to make a profit? doesn't the money he has for the diamond purchase sufficient to pay off his debts?

Again as I mentioned earlier, this further doesn't sit well with me when my two leading characters reassures to each other how they've been through worse together. It further brings a large 'meh' to this whole situation.

 

At least as an actual gameplay mission, an on-rail section at that, it was pretty entertaining, and one of the game's handful of successful missions in my view.

It also depicts how Luis took out the Lost Broker Chapter, but then again considering how this consequence is never evoked in the Lost and Damned itself, and only finds satisfaction in some insane fan fiction, it's pretty low on the drama meter.

 

Then there's the museum piece. I've already expressed my disappointment with how the mission plays out, but here i'll add on its narrative set-up. Which is to say, none.

 

Gay Tony just happens to find out that the diamonds are going to be exchanged in the museum, and Luis goes after it. There was never search finding of any kind. They couldn't even somehow work the other in-game characters into it as well. Yusuf or even Mori Kibbutz could have lend a hand into the search for these diamonds. Hell, even Armando and Henrique could have made another inclusion into the storyline from this angle. But then no, Tony just simply found out about it!

 

This wouldn't have been so much of a problem had the next mission Tony gives, which concerns finding Gracie, is ... a search mission !

Yes, you see how Luis and Tony follows Packie around town until they located the first safehouse Gracie is kept hostage. An event that is eventually moot since Gracie is then moved to another location before finally being given back to Tony and Luis.

So how come there's a set-up in finding Gracie but none whatsoever in locating the diamonds?

 

Gracie's inclusion in the Ballad's narrative is also the source of these many missions where nothing of interest happens, gameplay or plot progression wise, other than driving from one spot to the next. Interestingly it involves a different mode of transportation everytime. First by car, then by chopper, and finally a boat.

The chopper bit at least had a couple of humorous banter between our two main characters, until you realize that they could have easily made Tony into a hang-out friend and have the same humorous banter delivered there instead.

The whole simplification of the friend hang out activities is also potentially a sign of Rockstar taking too much into account of what fans had to criticize about, which leads to my thoughts at times about the game's ending, but that's for later.

 

In the meantime Luis gets acquainted with Ray Bulgarin, and then you start to wonder if Rockstar isn't making a joke on character initials; all three protagonists of the trilogy find their path going into the opposite direction at one time or another against another whose initials are R.B. : Roman Bellic, Ray Boccino, and Ray Bulgarin.

To top it all, Niko Bellic is acquainted with all three, Johnny never meets Bulgarin, but then Luis never meets Boccino.

 

So anyway, Luis starts working with Bulgarin, whose characterization is made more intimate and detailed than in IV, i'll give credits for that, but then soon enough the character is gone and is replaced by a succession of angry shouting man on the other side of the phone. It is the sleeping giant that just wakes up regardless for the sake of it being the unfinished business presented in IV. Bulgarin steals the spotlight of the antagonist and effectively makes Rocco and the Ancelotti family as unnecessary nuisance.

Seriously, why?

 

Luis then participate in the diamond exchange with Tony, as we've already seen with Niko. Throughout this time our leading characters debate on whether or not they should perform this exchange, leading to the "we have to do this" doomed by cannon stance, and I fail to see the joy in it, dramatic or otherwise.

Luis punches out Gracie in the same manner Niko did, why? You bother to make Gracie a noticeable factor in the Ballad's plot, and supposedly my reward for it is to see the protagonist punching her out? it's unnecessary sadism of boring the player, annoying the protagonist, troubling the leading character, and all of this to be solved by a knock on the jaw. It's a waste of time and effort.

 

The game then propels itself towards the end, where the nightclubs are closed by city officials, and Luis makes the choice of sticking by Tony no matter what. All is solved under a hail of gunfire, and Tony congratulates the player.

In standard eighties action film, the surviving political incorrect character appears and yells out more of his trademark dialogues, which leads to the end credits.

 

But before the end credits appear, Tony suggests to Yusuf that he ought to care for treating the consumer right, to which Yusuf exclaims "f the people. I piss all over them."

 

In the same manner that GTA IV began with "daddy's back! daddy's back you bches!" I can't help but feel that it was a deliberate point Rockstar were making.

But what 'point' is that exactly?

 

On one hand if taken literally, it sounds as if Rockstar were saying that they can essentially do whatever they want, they can trash whatever setting they create, they are in a position of power to do so.

But on the other hand, Ballad of Gay Tony sincerely appears as a reaction to the complaints GTA IV had received; Lost and Damned was already well into production so they couldn't necessarily change it to suit the demanding complaints. Gay Tony on the other hand is essentially a result of 'listening to the fans'.

It's possible that Rockstar always wanted to make Gay Tony the way it is regardless of whether people complained about IV or not, but I doubt it.

So looking at it this way, if Gay Tony was altered to fit a particular crowd of GTA fans -which it did quite successfully, and may or may not also be a contribution as to GTA V's overall style- then to whom is this 'piss all over the people' referring to ? is it a self-conscious manner of saying "this is why we didn't included jetpacks and other such things in IV in the first place, because it wouldn't have fitted the scenery. Now, see what happens when we give you parachutes and tanks and funny jive talking characters."

 

Is Luis' condition from a bystander to a participant of a world gone mad a reflection of Rockstar's own compromise into abiding to what the larger vocal community wanted?

This is perhaps the one thing I thought worth meditating about in Ballad of Gay Tony, otherwise, I would have just labeled it as "poor writing" and just let it be.

 

 

I can enjoy Ballad as a adequate third person shooter, especially comparing to the other critically acclaimed third person shooters that came out in 2009 and 2010, I had overall more enjoyment with Ballad. Nevertheless, it remains in my view one of the weakest entry in GTA, where oddly enough the inclusion of more explosive weaponry failed to create more dramatic action than what a mere handgun or a sawn-off provided in derelict warehouses, where a man jumping onto a fleeing airplane is less exciting than an on foot chase on Liberty Island where tourists and bystanders run amuck or the storming of a penitentiary by a bunch of middle aged shotgun wielding outcasts.

The saddest part perhaps being that I had more laughs with the dialogues in Lost and Damned than Ballad's comedic piece. Brian's reaction to Billy Grey's suggestion of "holding hands and singing kumbayah" beats anything Mori Kibutz had to say or do.

 

Ballad nevertheless contained one of my favorite dramatic line of dialogue in a GTA game, which is what Amir Senior responded when his son tried to pull the defense of "not to judge a book by its cover" after being caught in an irresponsible situation.

His father then taunts: "When a book is called 'The Guns, Drugs, Hookers... and No Pants', I believe I do not have to read it".

 

It's a shame therefor that the Ballad didn't reached beyond this statement. When the trailers and screenshots appeared, I was surprised to see it as a relatively different piece compared to what we've come to embrace, and knowing that I was certainly going to have a bit of bias favoritism with Lost and Damned I decided to tackle Ballad first. What I had dreaded the game to be was exactly what it was. And so too was the near universal fan praises a rather terrifying outcome.

Maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration ... but then again, what would have GTA V looked like had people not complained so much about GTA IV ? ...

 

Luckily I find GTA V to be a much more consistent product than Ballad, perhaps even superior in its own way to IV, but again it somehow manages to cause immense fan uproar.

Now I shivers as to what the GTA V DLC and GTA VI would turn out to be.

 

In conclusion regarding Ballad, there are two things that I believe could have made this final entry of the GTA IV saga more satisfactory, at least for my own sake.

 

First, if we are to keep the same story and characters of Ballad, then I would have made Tony as the playable protagonist and Luis as the always-efficient npc ally. Tony is not a killer or a car-jacker, he would be extremely inefficient in shooting even a handgun. The game therefor turns itself into a more strategic experience where management is key. You handle the club management business from the inside, you send Luis out on missions, you order him to protect you or to kill the targets for you as you stay put and avoid getting shot. Only on few occasions do you get to control Luis, notably when dealing with heavy arsenal weaponry and vehicles. This in turn makes the action scenes less frequent and consequently more memorable.

At the end of your journey, the same scene where Luis is asked to kill Tony occurs. Albeit this time the gameplay perspective shifts and instead of controlling Tony, you control Luis. Throughout the game you've been influencing and managing your club business as Tony, and only Tony could perform this task.

If Luis kills Tony, the club business as promised by Rocco, will be saved. You still get your income from the success or failures of your management, but you won't be able to improve it anymore, you just reap your reward of it, but only through Luis, never with Tony again.

Alternatively, you can refuse the offer, stick by Tony and protect him from the mafia onslaught, however Tony's business will be effectively ruined and can never be rebuilt. Both Tony and Luis survives, but they will loose all of their fortune, and no reward whatsoever to reap other than this 'friendship no matter what angle'.

Additional possible outcome from this second ending comes depending on whom your club business has been profiting with. Yusuf Amir will perhaps promise to take care of Tony in the future if Yusuf was satisfied with Luis' help. Alternatively Luis might not even survive the mafia onslaught and Tony will be left alone in Liberty City. Whichever the case, this was not going to end well and cheaply. Everything indeed, has its price.

 

...

Damn, sounds better than what I expected, think I might just copy past this in the Ballad board as well, see what they'll think.

 

The second option I thought off would have been to make a tale with the Irish. Taking place from midway in IV and proceed to end after IV's endings, with your game taking account into Niko's choice by means of tracking your save file.

You play as Gordon Sargent, who worked with Niko once and was last seen keeping an eye out to Gracie, and was even at a time considered to be a plausible candidate for a dlc protagonist by some.

 

http://gta.wikia.com/Gordon_Sargent

 

The story would have dealt with the various relationships, both friendly and adversarial, between the many Italian mafia syndicate in Liberty City. The mafia in Liberty City has a pretty elaborate backstory which you can piece together by going through the various police reports found in the database, and yet they only appear on rare occasions within the actual story of the game. Much like Ballad, the Ancelotti would still have its fair share of involvement due to Gordon's participation in the kidnapping, but the different families can always get involved in one way or another. Gordon is gambler for example, a first for a GTA protagonist, which would also continue to pursue this entire grounded approach set forth by IV and Lost and Damned.

It will make use of the events of the two previous games more deeply than the Ballad did. As a continuation from the ending of Lost and Damned, Gerry McReary would have fled from the Alderney State Penitentiary, and it would have been up to Gordon to find a suitable way to help the McReary family. We would have also gained more insight on Gerry's reaction to the failed diamond exchange as well as the death of one of his brothers, or even sister.

Next there is also Phil Bell, half irish half Italian , the plausible additional link between the irish mob and the mafia, not to mention Packie already worked for the Peggorino. With his business set in Alderney, Phil Bell could have easily got wind on both Gracie's kidnapping and of the Lost's final state of business, further tying both stories of IV and Lost and Damned more effectively than what was produced in Ballad.

Depending on the ending player took in IV, the ending of Gordon Sargent's tale with Phil Bell and Gerry would have changed as well, further bringing full circle to the trilogy.

 

Ballad of Gay Tony's method of bringing full circle comes from revealing 'who' gets his hands on the diamonds, and by doing so, provoking an unnecessary and awkward retcon, just for a couple of extra giggles.

 

In contrast, the tale of Gordon Sargent could have brought full circle by showing the extent of harm caused by both the diamond affair And to Niko Bellic's various intervention, along with a flair of the Lost's intervention, here and there.

 

Sure Gordon wasn't present in the museum, but that doesn't necessarily means he couldn't have been part of this Trinity situation, with the kidnapping, the diamonds, and to the actions of Niko and the Lost, all tying it up together.

 

It would have been even more gritty and lonely than IV and Lost and Damned, whereas Niko and Johnny at least had close friends to share the journey with, all Gordon would have had were gambling debts and various mob bosses always on the edge to pull a backstab in fear of facing the implosion of the situations caused by the other protagonists. It may have perhaps ended on a happy and hopeful note, but the journey that leads to it would have been a rather unnerving and shady experience, where the concept of 'gaining money' whatever the cost, even if it involves keeping an eye out for a constantly crying tied up woman, it could have been an interesting concept that set up as a prototype to the 'pursuit of the almighty dollar' concept later laid out in full with GTA V.

And it definitively would have made a better lasting impression than the way Ballad tackled its subjects of increasing debts and 'everybody has a price', which amounts to continue to kill everyone in sight and everything would be ok, with no loss or degradation of conscience of any sorts.

 

Perhaps after the negative reaction to the constant pessimism in IV and Lost and Damned, Rockstar decided it was best not to approach this angle ever again.

 

And that to me, is a missed opportunity.

Not because of the themes or style of the Ballad per se, but rather it is presented as a welcoming alternative and yet failed to make a better impression than it set out to be, therefor making me feel that the unused possibilities would have been better. 

 

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nobum62
  • nobum62

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#29

Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:51 PM

holy sh*t, i can't believe i survived another one of your walls of text

i don't mean to be cocky, but i think i'm a badass  :cool:

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#30

Posted 20 November 2013 - 02:15 PM

My walls of text are here to raise forum member's stamina skills, didn't yah know?

 

By the way you only made half the trip; reading it is one half, the other half is responding to it.

 

Now consider yourself lucky I didn't ask for a third objective: meditate on the wall of text.

 

Back on topic I should add, in case it may seem bizarre that I greatly enjoy GTA V yet not Ballad even though there are similarities on the mayhem scale, it is that V has redesigned a couple of functions that makes your character a lot more vulnerable.

Your health strength is greatly reduced, and although weapons have modification functions, they only barely tip the scale to your favor against the much more mobile and patient enemy A.I. , not the least of which is the shooting mechanic -as I play with free-aim-  that seem to always shoot the bullets towards places you didn't think you were aiming for, such as everywhere around the target.

 

This brings the explosive sticky bombs and heavy machine gun for example as a much more welcome addition in these situations you would have trouble surviving without.

Ballad on the other hand presented new arsenal that ends up being inferior to the ones already present in IV in terms of actual efficiency. Thus acting, ironically, as a bunch of 'dlc' weapons you would expect to get from pre-orders, exclusive weapons that appear cool on the surface but wouldn't hinder the experience to players who decides to stick with the original content. And unlike Lost and Damned, Ballad's new weaponry didn't necessarily make emphasis on the atmosphere of its story, unless perhaps the whole 'over-kill' and 'waste' were intentional. But then in that case I would have preferred another tale that didn't go for intentionally making things ludicrous just to point out its ludicrousness.

 

That's how I differentiate the two anyway.





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