Sunday, 21 November 2010

Game downloadable content. Good, bad, or just ugly?

I was chatting online with some chums, and talk of gaming and the War For Cybertron Transformers game came up.  A sequel has been announced for 2012 and we were concerned about the life of the game.  After all, as one friend pointed out two thirds of the game is online....



So that then got me thinking.  is it really worth forking out the cash for new characters and multiplayer maps when they are only able to be used online.  It's entirely conceivable that when the new WFC game comes out that online support for the old one is going to drop off.  Then my $$ that I spent on the two packs is wasted.

I sort of thought and definitely experienced this with the good old Dreamcast when that came out.  A prime example of DLC letting one down would have to be Skies of Arcadia, one of my favourite games on DC.  It had a bonus island that could be downloaded, it didn't affect the story in any way, but one character, Lina had a weapon that was alive.  And he ate chams.  The chams were how the attacks would improve, as he would morph into different weapons.  Feed him enough chams, and he would change forms and grow stronger.  It was cool, but the only way to get him maxed up is to find all the chams.  Sadly the final cham was on the downloadable bonus island. 

So now, if you manage to track down a second hand copy of Skies, you won't be able to get the island anymore.  I know the American one dropped off years ago, and the Japanese site hung on for a while, in fact not dropping until about 2 years ago, which is quite something.  Same for Sonic Adventure 2, there was a heap of themes and bonus costumes you could use in the 2 player mode (such as christmas and halloween costumes for Sonic and friends), and again, they are no longer available.  Luckily they were free.

Added to that situation is the annoying thing of some people not having the extra.  In my WFC experiences, I have come across those who don't have the DLC and they get kicked out of the game if the host does have it.    That is a bit sad as well, I feel.

So, it boils down to the simple option of making use of the aforementioned DLC while its available, as it won't work eventually.  Which sucks really.  I wouldn't mind so much if the characters could be used in the story mode. One of the best online modes (Escalation) where you face wave after wave of enemy constantly is only able to be played online.  It's good fun and a challenge as well.  You have to be quick and keep on your toes and it doesn't suffer the drag that the story has once you have played through it a couple of times.    this mode would go and the story mode (no new characters) would be all that's left.

Yet if all this was part of the game in the first place, all these cool bits wouldn't be cut off.  So, DLC is a blessing and a curse.  It annoys me that one has to pay for extra things that have a limited lifespan, but I do like the fact that they are available for use.  Although to be honest, if they never existed, it wouldn't bother me that much...

I wonder how I will feel once Marvel Vs Capcom comes out and that has DL bonus characters.  I already know of two, Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath.  Surely at this stage of development, they can be included in the original game? 

But then they wouldn't be able to charge extra for it.  I think it will be a sad day for gaming once we start having low prices for games, but have to download extra bits all the time...

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