The Lost and Damned
Johnny Klebitz is the Vice President of Liberty City’s chapter of The Lost Motorcycle Club. He has a practical philosophy when it comes to the group’s affairs, as opposed to their President, who thinks random acts of violence and old-school kickassery are much more fun. Soon after getting out of court-ordered rehab, Billy Grey incites a gang war with rival bikers the Angels of Death, ending the truce Johnny established in his absence. While scrambling to keep the Club together, you experience a different perspective of some of the things that happened in GTA IV, including the Italian Mob’s problematic diamond dealings.
Some missions are undertaken in a group, and you ride in a ‘V’ formation with fellow members of the Lost. You must maintain your position in order to talk with them and receive health bonuses, a process that can be monotonous at times. Thankfully, it often degenerates into a free-for-all race to the objective. Gang members will become “battle hardened” over time if they survive missions, and will be more helpful in later skirmishes. Many of them are weak and expendable, but main characters are invincible and will even be automatically upgraded with better weapons.
When you’re not rolling with your homies and need help with a mission or wreaking havoc around town, you can call for backup. It’s a neat feature – I could see it being useful in a 6-star shootout with the cops – but I hardly ever used it. I was even bombarded with texts saying I needed to make those guys get off their asses… You can also call and have a bike delivered to you if you need a ride, or for a mobile weapons shop to stop by and give you a discount. There are many new weapons including the sawed-off double-barreled shotgun, combat shotgun, automatic shotgun, automatic pistol, pipe bombs, grenade launcher, and more.
In addition to the many story-related tasks, there are side missions and other activities spread across the city. It wouldn’t be a GTA game without those, right? You can spend time in the Lost Clubhouse, or participate in skirmishes with other Liberty City gangs. For every ten of the latter you complete, a weapon is unlocked to spawn at your safehouse. There are also bike races, during which you can beat up on your opponents with a baseball bat, Road Rash style.
With the more fully-featured cell phone, GTA IV introduced the ability to immediately replay a failed mission via text message. An evolution of the “trip skip” function from previous games, this allows you to try again without having to return to the location where the task was first initiated. The Episodes take it a step further, adding checkpoints throughout a mission where you can resume your progress if you fail, letting you forego repeating parts you’ve already completed. This is a welcome change capable of preventing many headaches, particularly when dealing with tricky or tedious sequences.