The episode continues with a bang.  The opening cutscene is a classic, almost Tarantino-like introduction to what develops into an absolutely out-of-control storyline.  Luis is seen lying on the floor of a bank with his hands on his head, along with numerous other bank patrons.  As it turns out, the bank is being robbed by two inexperienced criminals who are starting to lose their nerves.  When the robbery seems to be finishing up, the bandits begin telling the people in the bank that they are about to leave.  However, while in the process of doing so, the robbers reveal vital details about their identities, which begins some hot-headed bickering between the two.  Meanwhile, Luis and a fellow bank-goer have a small discussion about how they are going to get out of their current situation.  The unidentified man wants to take matters into his own hands, while Luis, who has clearly learned from his mistake-ridden past, wants to sit tight and let the robbery unfold without confrontation.  Unfortunately, Luis’ calm demeanor does nothing to change the mind of the man, leading to a fatal shootout between the robbers and John Doe.

This scene is followed by a montage of Luis walking the streets of Liberty City, stepping to the beat of more dance and Latin inspired music.  Once this is over, we get our first taste of the game’s plot and initial in-game exposure of Gay Tony, an eccentric motor-mouth club owner who is almost immediately shot due to some unpaid debt to some Italian gangers.  Gay Tony, owner of the hottest straight and gay clubs in town, started to make very ambitious and ill-fated promises to the wrong people.  Not surprisingly, Luis, being the bodyguard of this loose-lipped night life impresario, is left with the task of making nice with the gangsters whom have attained unfulfilled accounts receivables.  This could lead to anything from shootouts in Chinatown, to hold-ups in Tony’s apartment and even to one of the most excellent golf cart chase sequences ever created.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, life just isn’t that easy for Luis.  Not only will Mr. Lopez have to deal with Tony’s problems, but he will also have to endure pressures from his childhood friends who are begging to get him back into his old life of dealing drugs and other small time activities.  Luis will look for ways to incorporate the two worlds into one consolidated, easier-to-manage mess, but it will be up to the player to decide where his allegiances truly lie.

Like all GTA games in recent memory, The Ballad of Gay Tony is driven by coarse language, intense violence and criminal activity.  But, as Rockstar has learned in recent years, a game cannot only rely on these aspects to drive a game.  With that in mind, The Ballad of Gay Tony has plenty of mini games to diversify the entertainment structure.  Some of the memorable mini games include dancing, in which players must press buttons in time with the music to achieve choreographed victory, golfing, where players can go to the range and master their stroke, and champaign drinking, where Luis can go to a club and challenge others to a chugging contest of this sparkling substance (complete with vomiting and blackouts).  Overall, these mini games are successful in distracting players from what can seem like endless and repetitive main quest missions and tasks.

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About The Author

Chase Gharrity is a Blast Games correspondent.

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