Grand Theft Auto IV introduced downloadable episodes to the series. After playing through Niko Bellic’s tale of redemption, players can also experience two other tales from the world of GTA IV, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. You can either download them yourself, or buy this disc which has both episodes on them. While both episodes utilize the same frame work as Grand Theft 4, they both offer wildly different, even if condensed, experiences.

The Lost and Damned puts players in the role of Johnny Klebbitz, a member of the motorcycle gang The Lost. Johnny has to deal with a power struggle within the gang between himself and the club’s president, Billy Grey. While Niko played it solo for the most part, Johnny is a team player, seldom being without his gang. Most of the missions you’ll be accompanied by the motorcycle gang, and you can even call upon them for weapons, rides, and backup when needed.

In The Ballad of Gay Tony, you play as Luis Lopez, the business partner/bodyguard/enforcer of Tony Prince, the aforementioned “Gay Tony”. Surrounded by all the glitz and glamour of the night life, Luis tries to find his way. BOGT is seemingly a throwback to earlier Grand Theft Auto titles, particularly San Andreas. You can fly planes, use satchel charges, participate in underground fighting tournaments, and even go skydiving. After you beat the game, you have the option of replaying missions to get a higher score, which is a feature I always wanted to see in GTA. Oh yeah, and “Gay Tony” is surprisingly the least controversial aspect of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. In fact he deserves praise as one of the few gay characters in video games (and fiction in general) that aren’t depicted as a stereotype.

Both games intersect with the base game. For instance, in TLAD, you’ll experience certain missions from GTA IV from Johnny’s perspective, and interact with Niko. TBOGT opens up in the middle of the robbery that Niko and Patrick were pulling off. This disc game adds new songs, multiplayer modes, and new radio stations. Unfortunately, most of the new material isn’t carried over to the base game. Even so, more Grand Theft Auto is never a bad thing. These two episodes flesh out the world of Grand Theft Auto even more.