Sunday, 19 August 2012

DLC - For Love or Profit?

DLC is meant to prolong the longevity of a game, but instead it seems more and more developers are releasing downloadable content that should have been included in the retail version.

Personally I LOVE DLC. I have spent a hell of a lot of money on all the DLC packs for, amongst many others, Mass Effect 1 & 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Age: Origins, Gears of War 1 & 2, Borderlands and various Call of Duty games. I have also spent a small fortune on my Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Lips music libraries. I have no aversion to developers bringing out DLC - in fact I embrace it. I love that they are making it possible for us to go back to a game we’d completed and have something new to do, even a year after the release. 

Worth the extra 1200MSP??
But I think that should be the purpose of DLC. DLC should be an optional increase to an already amazing game. I feel there are some developers who are releasing below par games with the view to releasing a few DLC packs to cash in. Take the Call of Duty franchise for example. The games that include Zombie mode only include 1 map for the game mode. Now I am aware that Zombies isn’t the main focus for these games but if you are going to include something in a game I don’t think it should be half-assed, and to me that is what Zombies mode feels like. Particularly in the first CoD game to include this mode, Call of Duty: World at War. This zombie map basically saw players put in a hut and told to survive. There were none of the perks, machines or the desperate run to turn on the power. There was no long slog to learn the map. It was as basic as it could get so of course when DLC packs were released that promised fun by the bucket-load we all jumped at it and didn’t think twice about the extra 1200MSP spent. Our appetite for zombie annihilation was sated, for a while at least. But more and more DLC was released and we kept on buying. Overall how much have you spent on a CoD game? And after all that money, does it feel like a game with extras, or just a complete retail release? If you have bought all the map packs for CoD: Black Ops up to now you have spent £70/$105 on this game, would you have paid that for the disc in store? Somehow I doubt a game priced that high would do as well.

Resident Evil 5 was also a culprit. Capcom went as far as to release multiplayer DLC soon after retail release. The DLC was announced BEFORE the release of the game and included the games only online VS multiplayer. 400MSP saw players able to take the Mercenaries mode online and fight in 5 different modes, Slayers, Survivors, Team Slayers, Team Survivors and Versus. Surely this is something that should have been included in a $60/£40 game?

DLC is an amazing way to prolong the enjoyment gleaned from a game. I completed Mass Effect 2 last year but when ‘The Arrival’ DLC was released I was as excited as I had been when playing the game for the first time. That to me is what DLC should be. Improving an already amazing game. Not making a game complete at an extra cost.

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