Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DLCs & Gaming And Why They Suck

Seems like today was article writing day for me as I have at least 3 articles in the chamber and a 4th coming tomorrow (the "Pretty Little Liars" review). That being said, while my next 2 articles are going to be rather scathing and grumpy, I've decided that to start thing off with a rather lighter article. This one having to do with video games and more specifically DLCs. I've been saying it for awhile that DLCs sucks (and I'm certain no one will disagree with me, after all, who likes spending money?), but I'm going to explain exactly WHY they suck and what can be done about it. So let's get to it;

If you're a 90s Kid like me, then you'll remember a time when beating a game was an accomplishment. We existed in a time BEFORE memory cards and I remember being in my room as a child in awe that my brother finally made it to The Sky Sanctuary stage in Sonic & Knuckles. We were both so happy...unfortunately, it was 12am on a school night and our mom was due home any minute and the babysitter was still awake. Nonetheless, the magic of having come close to beating the game wasn't replicated until some years later when my brother and I beat "Diddy Kong Racing". From the time we were kids, we've sat and beat game after game with no pause button, no save points, and no memory cards. Cheat codes were found in the back of Gameinformer Magazines and passed down through the hallways like rumors. Does anyone remember the NES Mortal Kombat Blood Code?

That was the world I came from. With the introduction of memory cards games got more interesting. The expanded graphics allowed the games to tell a much more complete story and allowed you to pick up where you left off, thus taking the pressure off of you to complete the game in one sitting. But the difficulty of the game increased and you had to find save points and work your ass off to get there! Once the game was finished, you were rewarded, not just with the satisfaction of beating the game, but with something special, something was unlocked. A new character? A hidden item? A new skill? Or just a wacky new way to play the game? Something was awarded to you for all your hard work.

The end result of hard work!

Even better still, when you cleverly chose the unwalked path, or input the correct series of buttons, or defeated the enemy that couldn't be defeated, your ingenuity, cleverness, bravery and skills were also rewarded with an unlocked item or something the Game Designers hid in hopes that one brave player would uncover. Yeah, all of that is gone now. These days Game Designers are hiding Easter Eggs in games and while they're no doubt fun, they serve no purpose but to amuse the player. Gone are the days when you had to work your ass off to unlock the most badass character in the game. Gone are the days when you had to do some hardcore searching to obtain that ultimate weapon. The reason those days are gone is because of DLCs.

Now before you all jump on me (not sure why you would) DLCs are not entirely evil, I just think they're being shamefully miss used. "Mortal Kombat X" is coming out next month, I couldn't be more excited for that game (specifically the story mode, which I will be doing a review of) but Goro & Jason Voorhes have been announced as pre-order characters. When "Mortal Kombat" came out, Rain, Kenshi, Skarlet and Freddy Kruger were announced as DLC characters, and I'm certain a lot of people purchased them...and I'm certain those same people felt incredibly foolish when The Game of The Year Version of "Mortal Kombat" was released with the DLC characters already in game. There in lies the problem.

Bet you feel REAL salty right now, don'tcha?

DLCs should NOT be used for characters! Characters, Skins, Items etc. etc. shouldn't be DLCs! They should unlockable content within the game it's self. It gives the player something to strive for other than a trophy that says you completed X objective. By the way, what purpose do trophies serve? I can understand if with each trophy you earn you can unlock stuff in the game and therefore the game's replay value would be contingent on unlocking characters, skins, items etc.etc. But unfortunately, trophies are just bragging rights to show to people online *yawn*. DLCs should be additional content. The best example I can think of is "The Last Of Us" with the addition game "Left Behind".

"Left Behind" is a game in and of it's self that serves as a supplemental game to the actual game it's self. A side story for those who played through the whole game and would like more game. One of my favorite games (aside from wrestling games) was "Xenosaga" specifically Episode II. The reason why "Xenosaga: Episode II" was my favorite game was because of the MASSIVE side quest you could play AFTER you beat the game. It was like playing a whole another game! It was fun, interesting and I enjoyed the hell out of that. That's what a DLC should be. A DLC should be MORE GAME not more STUFF! The biggest offenders of DLCs to me are wrestling games, as each character costs money and all this other nonsense. Sure, they have some unlockables in the game but you don't have to work very hard to unlock them.

If you haven't been here in "Xenosaga", I feel sorry for you.

I won't rant about the state of wrestling games, Lord knows I've done that a million times over, but for games in general DLCs can be an amazing thing if they were just handled properly and actually offered stuff that was worth the price of purchase. How much would games back in the day have SUCKED if you could just buy Super Sonic? If you could just buy Blood for "Mortal Kombat" & buy Reptile? If you could just buy the Fierce Deity Mask? If you could just buy The Aztec Temple & The Egyptian Temple in "Golden Eye"? They would suck quite a bit as gaming would no longer be a test of skills but a test of who has the bigger wallet to buy stuff. Back in my day (what am I, a thousand?) Gamers worked their asses off to unlock Reptile and anyone who could do it was looked upon as a god among men. To this day I still have no clue how it's done but I've seen a friend do it at a sleepover once and was blown away.

Unlocking Reptile was like finding The Holy Grail when I was growing up.

That kind of magic is gone, and now all you're left with is watching a green bar inch it's way towards 100% to feel like you've accomplished something, but you're not getting more game play for your troubles, no you're just getting something the Game Designer was working on and didn't finish until later and decided to charge you money to play with it. In conclusion, DLCs should be additional games, side quests and yes, extra maps for multiplayer and extra modes for multiplayer such as zombies or whatever, but not characters and not items and not skins, those things should be available to unlock in the game. Let me know what you think and I'll catch you guys later!

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