So I have spent the last few days playing through the first Downloadable Content (when I was a kid the word was Expansion Pack but whatever) of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and the Damned.
Overall, I was as impressed with it as I was with the original story arc. It was really interesting to see Liberty City through the eyes of a character without the naivety and, I guess 'innocence' of Nico Bellic. While exploring Liberty City as Johnny, I noticed so many things (small things--buildings, alleyways, people) that I never had as Nico.
This makes sense. Nico just got the boat. He would see the top of skyscrapers and the statue of Happiness and, I guess, the 'tourist' America. Johnny, on the otherhand, has been here his whole life. He is in a gang; he has a clubhouse; he rides the streets confidently like a king (a president), not some nervous tourist (not even a nervous tourish with psycotic tendencies).
The characters and the acting was as top notch as the original. I truly believe no game has acting (or character animation, whatever you wish to call it) like GTA4. The dialogue is so fresh, so real, the character movements and behaviours in cutscenes is exaggerated but so real. TLAD did just as well and each member of Lost MC had a distinct personality while still fitting into the redneck-bikie stereotype.
One criticism is the speed with which the game pushes the player through the story. You finish one mission, then almost instantly get the phonecall that something has happened and they are ready for you to do the next mission. I gues this makes sense as the player has more than likely already explored all there is to Liberty City and making them wait three game days to do something might get annoying... but it made it difficult to sympathise with the characters' situation when they have supposedly been suffering for days since the last cutscene but you watched it only ten minutes ago.
I finally bought Left4Dead yesterday. Hopefully it lives up to all I have heard.
I wanted to make a post about the playstation-fanboy riots over at Edge when they gave 7/10 to Killzone2. Instead, I will just say that graphics aren't everything (though it looks damn impressive for, yknow, a pre-rendered video), and if the gameplay is anything as repetitve as Killzone, then I think 7/10 is quite good. Nevermind the fact that some amazing games get 7/10 from Edge--Fallout 3 comes to mind. 7/10 means pretty good. If you think 7/10 is a bad score, stop reading Official [console name] Magazines.