The Rage engine isn't raging as much as it is aging. However, Liberty City is as lively as it ever has been, and the potential for unscripted chaos is ever-present. Each episode features a similar presentation, but it's amazing how far a swapped-out font can go towards establishing the theme. The Menus in The Lost and Damned look like they should be embroidered on the back of a leather jacket, while The Ballad of Gay Tony's is, well, rainbow-colored. The in-game cutscenes never go beyond what you see in gameplay, but the animations are lifelike and the attention to detail is very impressive. I did run into a mild bug that crippled the framerate enough to force a reset. I can't properly identify the problem without exposing myself for what I am -- a gamer who is completely ignorant when it comes to programming issues. Anyway, this happened only once, and under very bizarre circumstances. By "bizarre circumstances," I mean a yacht managed to ramp off a pier and into the highway, and the two enemy helicopers chasing me were suddenly left unmanned. I was wondering if the Rapture had hit Liberty City.
Exceptional sound design is something of a trademark for Rockstar's games, and Episodes From Liberty City adheres to that proud tradition. The excellent licensed soundtrack, superb writing, and outstanding voicework create an unrivaled sense of immersion. It's good in The Lost and Damned, but it's positively brilliant in The Ballad of Gay Tony. Mario D'Leon provides a good performance as Luis Lopez, but D.B. Cooper and Omid Djalili absolutely steal the show. Never before (and never this much) have I grown to love two characters as utterly wretched as Gay Tony and Yusuf Amir. The voice acting is that good.