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DLC should be a win/win for
gamers and developers/publishers alike. The concept is simple:
Launch your game
Wait a few months while counting money
Release some new content to
keep fans engaged with your game/franchise/brand.
Repeat steps 2 & 3 as you please
How hard could it be to keep gamers happy when
you're providing them with more content for the games they love? I know what
you're thinking- "Gamers are the most logical, even-tempered,
understanding demographic known to man..." We clamor for new content: weapons,
gear, maps, missions, and characters, like spoiled children, and then brandish
our torches and pitchforks when it isn’t exactly what we wanted it to be.
"Siss is suts bullssit!"
So the question becomes, what makes good DLC? Is
it the amount of new gameplay features? Better/more powerful gear? Expanded
storylines and new missions? All of it (you greedy bastards)!
My recent DLC purchases lead me to ask this
question. I purchased the Season Passes for Borderlands 2 and Assassin’s Creed
3, two of my favorite games from the past year of releases. Unfortunately, the
value I’ve seen from their respective offerings are polar opposites.
A Revolution Doesn't Always Bring Evolution
I’ll start with Assassin’s Creed 3, a game that I loved, shortcomings and all. I won’t get into those (OK, maybe one- where the hell did Benjamin Franklin go!?), because the DLC is where I really felt like Ubisoft phoned it in. I liked the idea of an alternate universe, one that was based (loosely) on the entirely possible notion that George Washington could have seized the power of a king if he so chose. Unfortunately, Ubisoft left the rest of their good ideas on the drawing board.
Let’s look at what Ubisoft actually DID add to
the experience with this DLC: The new animal powers & a new storyline. My
problem with the animal powers is that they feel gimmicky- outside of Connor’s
story (which looks likely to never return) they just don’t fit, and they’re TOO
powerful to ever implement in a full game. Ditto with the storyline. Too often,
it plays out like a cheesy, clichéd movie/TV show- The villain gets his
homicide on with our clueless, yet noble hero, but he miraculously survives?
Or, my personal favorite, “I’ve captured you and should probably kill you
(again), but I think I’ll just leave you here in my poorly guarded prison because
I’m an evil genius with many important evil genius-y things to do don’t have
enough time to shoot you (again), or tell someone else to do it, and there’s no
way that someone who is hell-bent on getting revenge/stopping my evil plot
could ever find a way to escape.” On top of that, each “episode” lasted me
about 2-3 hours. Not exactly the value I was looking for when dropping $30 on
the Season Pass- that’s half the price of a full game!
Pandora's Box Is Filled with Awesomeness. And Innuendos.
Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is the poster
child for how to deliver on DLC. Using the tried and true logic of, “If it
ain’t broke, don’t fix it” Gearbox Software expanded the Borderlands Universe
by adding new locations, characters, gear, missions/storylines, and more of the
most ridiculously hilarious writing I’ve ever seen. I’m not considering the
addition of new playable Vault Hunters here, as they’re not part of the Season
Pass, but they definitely add to the larger conversation of what is/isn’t a
good value when it comes to DLC.
For my $30, the Borderlands 2 Season Pass DLC
has provided close to 20 hours of new content that I can play through with
every Vault Hunter. There’s more content in here than most full games. From the
3 new storylines- Captain Scarlett, Mr. Torgue, Sir Hammerlock, and a 4th
on the way, new villains and more powerful enemies, bringing back all of the
awesome NPCs to maintain continuity with the main story arch, and don’t even
get me started on how “MOTHERF*CKING AWESOME” Mr. Torgue is. EXPLOSIONS!?!
What do you think makes for some good DLC? Leave a comment or some such. Thanks for listening.
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