The title of my review has a question mark, because I'm not sold on my thesis just yet.
I was in love with GTA IV when it came out. The open world was massive and interactive and often hilarious, a great place to stage an action game. But it got to a point where playing felt more like work and less like fun. The amount of side games and mini quests and phone calls and lunch dates became overwhelming.
The Lost and Damned doesn't worry as much about all that 'look-what-we-can-do' style immersion, and just gives you a good story. The missions are fun and challenging, and never feel repetitive. Rockstar also has souped up the motorcycle mechanics so that not every errant move results in an epic wipe out.
I have not yet played the Ballad of Gay Tony, but I expect more of the same.
This package is a stand-alone game, and doesn't require GTA IV to play. At $19.99 it's still cheaper than buying both as DLC on Xbox Live, but if you don't have GTA IV already, there's a complete package that has the original game plus these two add-ons for not much more than the twenty bucks I paid for 'Episodes From Liberty City.'
Either if you loved GTA IV or you've never played it, I would recommend 'GTA: Episodes of Liberty City.'