Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Highly provocative expansion with drugs, sex, and killing.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 59 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game doesn't send positive messages to players -- because of its lawlessness, violence, language and portrayal of women.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Luis, the protagonist, isn't a good role model, as he resorts to violence and intimidation to accomplish the many missions. He is a gangster who lives outside of the law.

Ease of Play

This third-person adventure is very easy to pick up, plus fans of GTA IV will be able to hit the ground running.


As with GTA IV, this downloadable episode allows players to shoot police and innocent civilians, beat up or kill criminals, and use helicopters and tanks on targets, too. The violence isn't over-the-top in the gore department, but it's frequent and ruthless.


While there is no nudity in the game, players can see the players in a simulated sex act with a woman up against the wall (with his body thrusting up and down) and another scene that implies he's receiving oral sex. There are also prostitutes in the game (one of the lead character's "weaknesses").


Expect to hear the F-bomb plenty of times in this game, including "f--k," "f--king," "f--kin' A" and "mother-f--ker." You'll also hear s--t," "p--sy," c--k," and others.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players will see drinking, smoking, and drug use in this game. Much of the time you'll be visiting nightclubs, plus some of the characters will have drugs in their possession. There's also a drinking mini-game.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this GTA IV expansion game features lots of potentially offensive content. It has a lots of violence, blood, and killing -- including innocent people and police officers -- along with strong sexual themes (but no nudity), excessive language, and scenes with drugs, smoking and drinking. As with its predecessors, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony is not for young eyes or ears.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 7, 12, and 17-year-old Written byHello N. May 31, 2018

It's not bad

Nothing inappropriate
Parent of a 13 and 13-year-old Written byShnitzel January 29, 2014

Totally educational

get it for yourself and kids
Kid, 10 years old February 21, 2014

Fun, open world experience. Second best Grand Theft Auto game.

Not much nudity, if you tell your kids not to go to the strip club which is featured in the game, there is no sexual content, period. The violence is your choic... Continue reading

What's it about?

Available as a Xbox 360 download or bundled on a disc with another episode(as Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City) , GRAND THEFT AUTO IV: THE BALLAD OF GAY TONY delivers new game-play to the controversial title, along with new weapons and vehicles that can be used in multiplayer modes. You play as Luis Lopez, a little-known and seedy assistant to Anthony \"Gay Tony\" Prince, a nightclub owner and associate of the Ancelotti crime family in the fictitious Liberty City. In one mission, \"Dropping In,\" you fly a helicopter over Star Junction (Times Square) and land on a building where The Rampage hockey team is hanging out in the penthouse suite. Your job is to take out the owner, but you must first get through his goons, and then escape by base-jumping out of the building, opening your parachute and landing on a moving truck. Another mission, \"For the Man Who Has Everything,\" Luis is challenged with stealing a train car for the over-the-top Iranian millionaire Yusef, which requires an assortment of serious firepower.

Is it any good?

If you liked Grand Theft Auto IV, then you’ll love The Ballad of Gay Tony. It offers more memorable characters, irreverent dialogue, daring missions, and a fully interactive open-world you can lose yourself in for hours at a time. Much of your attention will be on dealing with Tony's debtors, addictions, and boyfriend, while also helping to run his nightclubs and play mini-games. The $20 download is well worth the investment, or $40 for the packaged episodes (Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City, which includes the first downloadable episode, The Lost and Damned) -- but just as its risqué predecessors, those easily offended need not apply.

Online interaction: GTA IV offers multiplayer online modes but this expansion pack lets you unlock new weapons and use them in a head-to-head mode. Interaction with strangers is unpredictable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why games like this are appealing to many players. Does it let them live viraciously in a criminal underworld? Does it let them do things they'd never dream of in real life? Or are the many varied missions, open-ended environments, and humorous characters all for sheer entertainment?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Release date: October 27, 2009
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs
  • Last updated: November 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast-paced games

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