A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game GTA IV downloadable expansion is most definitely not for children, tweens, or teens (under the age of 17). It is even more controversial than its predecessors because this game has full frontal male nudity. The game lets you lead a life of crime as part of a motorcycle gang with plenty of gang violence (including pushing someone's face against a spinning mototcycle wheel in a bike repair shop), relentless foul language, drugs and alcohol, and sexual references. The star rating given to this game is based on quality of gameplay within this adult genre of video gaming and is not an endorsement of the violence within the game.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Forget everything you know about downloadable content ("DLC") for your video games, such as extra songs, a bonus level, or a new multiplayer map. Rockstar Games' GRAND THEFT AUTO IV: THE LOST AND DAMNED (1600 Microsoft Points, or $19.99), the first of two planned episodes for Xbox 360 owners of Grand Theft Auto IV, redefines what's possible in DLC with the beefiest game expansion to date. But as with the main game, The Lost and Damned is laden with mature content and should be kept away -- far away -- from children.
Is it any good?
Rather than tackle missions by yourself, this expansion is all about "gang banging" with your crew, such as riding (or racing) the streets in a pack and partaking in many gang wars together. The hogs handle nicely, so there shouldn't be a learning curve when it comes to the controls. As with past "GTA" games, The Lost and Damned can get quite violent, even from the first scene when someone's face is pressed against a spinning motorcycle wheel at a bike shop.
Along with the new single-player missions, the downloadable game offers many new multiplayer modes including the ability to smack opponents off their bikes while in a race to the finish line and a co-op mode where you can either protect a bus filled with informants or ride a hog as part of The Lost gang determined to destroy it and the snitches inside. Needless-to-say, the content is designed for a mature gamer and for someone who enjoys the virtual, visceral thrill offered by past "GTA" bad boy games. With this in mind, it truly is a fun ride worth considering.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Rockstar likes to push the envelope and garner controversy over its games? Why did they have to put full-frontal nudity in the game if it's not integral to the story? Do they correlate media outrage with extraordinary game sales? Do players expect Rockstar to stir up controversy with each of its titles, including the Manhunt and Bully series? Families can also talk about the impact of video game violence on players and why so many parents question whether GTA games are appropriate for kids. On an unrelated note, should Rockstar make this game available to PlayStation 3 owners instead of delivering an Xbox 360 exclusive?