Tuesday, April 27, 2010

DLC - Blessing or Curse? Curse.

Is anyone else out there as miffed about DLC as I am?

DLC, if you don't know, stands for Downloadable Content. I'm not sure even where this all started, but right now the situation is nigh intolerable. Every big-budget game that comes out has this option for DLC. And what DLC is it? Some short crappy level or map that has no bearing on the core game. And it's always overpriced.

It just seems wrong to me in so many ways. For one thing, the money we have to pay for them. It's ludicrously expensive to pay for something that doesn't really 'extend our experience of the game' as much as we're led to believe. Take Mass Effect 2, for example. I've finished the game. The plot is over. Why bring out more missions with different characters? WHY? Why not just do this for the actual game?? And why charge so much for a few missions? Just let the people who bought the game enjoy a few more hours (more likely minutes) with it!
This actually ruins the core game of ME2, by the way, because once you finish the game you have the option to just go back to the Normandy, where you just float around for no apparent reason and all your party members will speak as if you still haven't finished the game.... and why? For DLC. Great, Bioware. You ruined the feeling of immersion in the game so your customers would find it easier to pay for extra stuff. Thanks.

But it gets more annoying, as sometimes the developers programmed something into the game and purposefully left it out so we could pay for it later! Like with Bioshock 2. Code for the DLC content was present in the actual game, and the DLC simply unlocked it.

But the worst of the worst comes - of course - from Activision. The DLC for Modern Warfare 2, the stimulus package, is just some frickin' maps! MAPS! We should be getting that for free! Hell, we could make our OWN maps! Ahhhh, right! I forgot. We can't. MW2 doesn't have dedicated servers or mod tools, because they wanted to control what maps we could play specifically so they can sell us their shit later. Which is exactly why I didn't buy this crappy game.

But there is salvation: Valve.... Thank god for Valve. I only hope they won't be corrupted by all the corruption that's corrupting stuff around them. They recently released The Passing, DLC for Left 4 Dead 2. And you know what? It was free! Because we shouldn't pay crazy sums of money for games we already own! Console players have to pay even for Valve's DLC, of course. But that's the licencing problem, which makes it their problem.

Eventually it's all about the money for most of them. I'd like to think it isn't, but I also can't believe the barely credible pitch that these DLCs extend the game's life. The ones which were free and that I've tried weren't bad experiences, but they were short and underwhelming. With the money they make from the actual game I'm sure they can provide the DLC for free. Or, you know what? Don't release any DLC at all. New maps for multiplayer games can be made by gamers, or just be FREE as they've always managed to be somehow. And any other sort of DLC I can live without. I don't need another party member in Mass Effect (there are already too many). I don't need another level explore in Bioshock 2. Modern Warfare 2 can go to hell because I'm not playing it anyway. So the problem can be solved.

As a closing thought, I have to say that these developers and big publishers, for all their crying about pirates, aren't making much of an effort to make the games worth the money. Game prices are getting higher (Splinter Cell worth 59$ on Steam? My ass, it does), and we have to pay for more and more meaningless content. Combine that with nasty DRM that treats everyone as criminals, and it almost takes all the fun out of buying and playing a game you own. I'll never download games illegally because I appreciate the work that goes into them, but this money-grabbing attitude of game makers is certainly making me understand people who do.

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