- ❝ Tough Luck is an ambitious experience that welcomes you back to the worst place in America. Just about any player of the GTA franchise alike will find themselves wanting more in this successful leap to the new generation of consoles.❞
- ―Some unspecified reviewer
Grand Theft Auto: Tough Luck is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. Set within the State of Liberty, as well as a greatly expanded Alderney, Tough Luck takes place in the year 2010, featuring the protagonist Liam O'Brien, who is a member of the Irish American Killers. It was released on November 13, 2020 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, receiving critical acclaim. However, Jack Thompson was so negative about it that he attempted to bomb Rockstar Games, but he ended up collapsing to the ground, flopping like a fish, and dying from a rage-induced heart attack.
Liam is part of the Irish American Killers, but he is by no means a high-ranking member; he is an "errand boy" and often laughed at by others. In a time where Irish crime families are viewed as obsolete and used as hired muscle for more powerful gangs, Liam is determined to raise himself to the top of the Liberty City underworld. When one of his loved ones end up disappearing, he has to find a way out of the hands of the powerful Triads while loyally sticking to his gang.
Tough Luck, obviously like almost any other installment to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, is set in an open world environment. The camera is set to a third-person perspective by default, although players may change it to first-person if they wish. In order to advance through the story, players complete missions, which are linear scenarios with elaborate objectives. Missions almost always have a momentary reward immediately after completion, although sometimes the player is rewarded drugs or a safehouse as well. Although the game is in IV's rendition of Liberty two years after the plot of the aforementioned game itself, none of its characters ever physically appear, although a few are often referenced.
The story is set during the winter of 2010, and it entirely focuses on Liam O'Brien, who the player takes control of. Players are able to customize his appearance by giving him a haircut, tattoos, or new clothes. They can navigate the game's world by foot, swimming, cars, motorcycles, helicopters, planes, jets, or biking. Weapons are always available for use, although only one of each type can be carried at a time. Weapons can be purchased from underground gun stores scattered in secluded areas of Liberty and Alderney.
They can be selected via activating the weapon wheel. Liam carries a Whiz mobile phone with him all the time, which is used for contacting friends to hang out with, receiving text messages from drug dealers, taking photos, accessing online multiplayer, and submitting cheat codes.
Stars displayed in the heads-up display indicates the aggression of police officers (which is called a wanted level), with a maximum of six. At one star, nearby cops will search Liam's whereabouts if he is hiding, and chase him with nightsticks if seen; two involves police using tasers unless a firearm is pulled out; and so on.
Many new gameplay elements are introduced, while also bringing back features not just from previous Grand Theft Auto games, but other installments by Rockstar as well.
Just like Bully, the player can grapple opponents in unarmed combat and shove them in trash cans. Liam is able to hide inside of dumpsters or porta potties to lose a one-star wanted level, or confuse any cops at higher levels. Not unlike IV, the radar displays a search radius whenever the player is wanted, and similarly to Chinatown Wars, the player can cause law enforcement cars to crash into an object, thus disabling them. The more stars the player has, the more cars they have to cancel out (e.g. having to take out six vehicles to get down to five stars).
When it comes to making income outside of story missions, players may engage in side-missions. Side-missions never truly end, and they can be executed at any point in the story. Many side-missions have helpful rewards upon completing the fifteenth mission. For example, once the Paramedic side-mission is over with, Liam can sprint indefinitely, and when all Arsonist missions are completed, Liam will be rendered fireproof. There is a drug dealing sub-plot which allows players to sell cannabis, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and depressants across the map. Huge profits are made when Liam meets the demands of specific dealers, otherwise known as "tip-offs". When a property is bought, a daily income is given each day.
Players may engage in activities for their own leisure, which ranges from bowling, to gambling in illegal casinos.
Tough Luck brings back several gameplay features that either haven't been seen since the 3D Universe, or Chinatown Wars. This includes weapons such as the chainsaw, flamethrower and katana; cop bribes, decapitation, dismemberment, vehicle-based side-missions, the military pursuing the player at a 6-star wanted level, and many others.
At the beginning of the game, only the Broker/Dukes & Bohan boroughs, as well as Short Island and Seizing Isle (both based on Long Island and Staten Island, respectively), are open, although Upstate Liberty, Algonquin and Alderney are unlocked as the story progresses. Any attempts to access the islands early will result in an automatic 6-star wanted level.
- Wanted Level
- Empire Buildings
- 100% Completion
- Random Characters
- This is the first game in the series to legitimately have snow serve as a regular weather pattern. In fact, it actually sticks to the ground this time, and snowstorms can even occur once in a while.
- This is also the first game since Grand Theft Auto IV that restricts the player from exploring the full map at the beginning of the game, and requires them to progress through the story to unlock boroughs.
- The sirens for police vehicles are reused from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.