Since the introduction of the Xbox 360 (maybe earlier?), gamers and players alike were treated with little bite sized snack add-ons, we call DLC or downloadable content (for those who’ve been living in a bunker for the last decade) At first, it started as an avatar picture for your profile, a new weapon skin or an new character to play with.
Then came major add-ons from games like The Elder Scrolls Oblivion, which added totally new areas to explore, which was pretty cool, but most of it was just REALLY short. The Shivering Isles expansion was a MUCH larger world that took the same game and placed into an “Alice in Wonderland” kind of world. Fans LOVED it and companies steadily picked up on the fact that additional content AFTER a retail release was a GOOD thing!
Mass Effect, Gears of War, Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 5 and many others began launch their own content MANY months following the release of a successful title. (BIG HINT: SUCCESSFUL TITLE! More on that, later.) Fans that bought the add-ons were left salivating for another release or add-on. Some were given what they wanted, others sorely disappointed by stale sequels and poor expansions.
Currently, the market is FLOODED with DLC content!!
Most releases are GUARENTEED to have expansions, regardless if the game is successful or not! Games are given shorter production windows and made smaller in value. It seems like we’re getting the short of the stick with many of our games. (At least, the Playstation and Xbox owners are, not sure about the Nintendo crowd.) Recent releases such as Destiny, carry a heavy price tag for players that just want the FULL experience RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX!! Will this ever be the same?! No, probably not. Unless community mods become a welcomed staple on console games, it’s not going to.
Which brings me to whole purpose of writing this shit today, I’ve decided to weigh what’s truly good about DLC and what isn’t. Maybe this will encourage you and others to be more mindful DLC purchases or just plunge into a really great add-on!
BAD – IT COSTS TOO MUCH!! A prime example, is the expansion for Fallout 4: Far Harbor. Following a price increase on their “season pass” from $29.99 to $49.99 Bethesda (Fallout 4’s developer) released Far Harbor with a $25 price tag! (WTF right?!) Many fans believed this was due to it being a massive addition to the game, extending play for many hours. What most people got was an add-on that was short, but sweet, lasting up to 10 to 12 hours. It left many fans with a sour taste in their mouths, if they ended up paying the full price for that DLC. (Opinions may vary)
On a note with season passes, many of these are going for the price of FULL RETAIL purchase! Many of which, are being announced at PRE-RELEASE/PRE-ORDER times. (Talk about counting your chickens before they hatch!)
GOOD- YOU GET MORE STUFF FROM THE GAME YOU LOVE! Many will complain about the price of DLC. But in all honesty, IF YOU LOVED PLAYING THAT GAME, wouldn’t you want more content when everything is all said and done?! SURE!! DLC does this, with it, you’ve got new modes, weapons, skins, customization options, stories, areas, maps, etc. For example, I love playing Mortal Kombat X (or XL as it’s described with all of the content added), the new characters like Jason Vorhees, the Predator and other classic characters folks asked for and got. DLC works out great when it works for you! Hell, I’ll even admit, Call of Duty’s zombie maps ARE creative, with their easter eggs, new weapons and guest characters with one liners tossed in for good humor.
BAD-LACK OF CREATIVE CONTENT! Sadly, when we get a fantastic game, that universally, fans love. We find a yearning for some extra continuation of that same gameplay and feel. But the expectation is pretty much a letdown once the real content arrives. Borderlands 2 did this with its second season, which seemed to have its team already exhausted from ideas on expanding the current game as is. Most likely, a lot of the material was more director’s cut, stuff that really didn’t need to be resold to us. (They were bit sized add-on that were cheap, admittedly and were SORT OF fun, if you weren’t already bored with the game.)
GOOD- ADD-ONS BREATH NEW LIFE INTO MULTIPLAYER SESSIONS. Electronic Arts and Activision have always been pretty good at putting out map packs. Premium members on both tend to get an expansion once every three months, which is clearly intended to EXTEND its server life. This usually keeps its loyal fans in sessions and constantly in competition.
BAD – ONLINE GOES DEAD WITH EXCLUSIVED SESSIONS. Battlefield Hardline and Arkham Origins were perfect examples of this. One or two months after an expansion was released, the exclusive servers focused on that particular expansion were GHOST TOWNS. Think about how many times, you’ve seen a session like that!!! IT HAPPENS A LOT!! Fortunately, EA has been catching onto that with Hardline and has been gradually been offering their DLC free during certain weeks. Does it change anything??? Not that I’ve noticed, as too many players have moved away from the game. (Battlefield with less vehicles and small maps, makes for a less interesting game!)
Go on Hardline’s “Betrayal” maps and this what you get…forget having 64 players.
BAD – DEVELOPERS ARE FORCED TO MAKE DLC! Street Fighter V is the prime suspect with this crime! The title was marketed out as a retail release with the competitive players in mind. BULLSHIT!! Capcom, you shortened the window because you thought that making a earlier release would boost sales. Well, they were right! But the barebones presentation burned a HELLUVA LOT OF BRIDGES with the fans. The ONLY thing that might have saved SFV was that the eventual content was made free. Personally, I passed on this version, as there WILL be another version released at one point. Put simply, give us a finished product, THEN release new content. That seems fair.
YEAH! This is what I wanted to see…oh wait, this never happened.
GOOD – IT TIDES US OVER UNTIL SOMETHING BETTER COMES ALONG. You’ve got the content and DLC and you’re loving it more than Mickey D’s. Then, BAM! The game you’ve been waiting for has been released. Hardcore gamers can identify with this, yet that’s what a game backlog is for! Either way, you’re good to go. (Personally, I don’t fall into this category and just play my older games in my spare time.)
GOOD – FANSERVICE IN A GOOD WAY! An honorable mention is Batman: Arkham Knight. As much as people bitched and hollered about the season pass for that game. If you got the discount, you ended up with a SHIT TON of bat goodies: 6 playable short stories w/characters to use in the challenges, 50+ outfits and vehicle skins and 1 major story add-on. I was lucky and paid $20 bones for it, but I admit it would’ve been a value at full price! DLC does this really well most of the times; sure it should be stuff they add as unlockables from the retail game. But sometimes, you wouldn’t get to see that content without DLC, after release.
BAD – MOST DLC IS EITHER FUN OR A CHORE – I can’t count how many times, I’ve played DLC that was poorly injected into the game or story of something I was playing. This just SHOWS the developers laziness and poor efforts in planning the additional content. It bothers me knowing that have to expect this when I get DLC for a game. It shouldn’t be that way.
Thanks for reading this lengthy rant on how DLC MAKES or BREAKS a purchase. I may be preaching to the choir with some of you guys, but maybe some of you were stuck on being indecisive about it. Hopefully, I helped today!