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4:11 PM on 03.02.2012

Rhysybaby's Semi-Cynical: The Bleak Future of DLC

I just finished reading Tony Ponce's review of the soul-crushingly disappointing Megaman X iOS port, and while it's not the first time a classic has been forced to walk the plank (Shadowrun anyone?), there was one detail featured in the review that made me believe Capcom had established a brand new low: introducing unnecessary, redundant DLC to classic titles.

To quote Persona 4's Yosuke Hanamura, this is so wrong on so many levels. Let's start by examining the original Megaman X. It's amazing; considered one of the Super Nintendo's best games, and Megaman's finest hour. It was an incredbly challenging, yet rewarding experience that championed player skill through its tight controls, top class level design, demanding enemy placement, intuitively crafted boss fights and an innovative weapon system. It was the perfect action platformer.

None of that has really changed with the iOS remake. Everything is basically the same bar one key plot element and a hit-and-miss visual update. In any normal case, this would be a no-nonsense, slightly experimental but ultimately harmless remake, but Capcom have gone a step too far here. As stated above, Capcom deemed it right to introduce DLC to Megaman X. This would be fine if the DLC in question added anything substantial to the game, like new levels, weapons or bosses, and if it was adequately priced. Hell, I'd be all for that.

But no, this DLC, if you can even call it that, is just cheat codes with a price tag. The main option, priced at $3.99, unlocks all armour upgrades, weapons, energy tanks and so on. That's the main attraction, the rest are variations of this, offering standalone unlocks at cheaper prices. The one worthwhile piece of DLC here is arranged music tracks, but something so trivial should be included with the game anyway. I mean, this is a remake after all, I didn't know Capcom would be remaking my bank balance at the same time.

I think it's downright insulting that Capcom would even think of defecating on such a prestigious title with shoddy, tacked on DLC. Again, if this DLC was worthwhile I wouldn't be complaining. DLC has been amazing in many cases; just look at Oblivion's Shivering Isles or Mass Effect 2's Shadow Broker, both first class DLC packages that greatly increased the playtime of their respective titles. That should really be the ultimate goal of DLC, as well as being good of course. Megaman X's "cheater" pack is neither. If anything, it diminishes playtime significantly by doing the legwork for you, and it definitely isn't good.

Is this really where DLC is headed? Sure, shit like this has flown before. Just look at EA's Time Saver packs that now seems compulsory for all its titles (even NBA Jam on XBLA! The nerve!). I mean, what next? Imagine if Capcom re-released the original Resident Evil (again...), but locked away the infinite launcher as paid content, rather than as a reward for beating the game under challenging criteria. Why stop there? Maybe Nintendo will jump on the bandwagon? Expect damage-dampening suits for Samus at $3 a piece. Infinite Tanooki suits for Mario? Yours at 500 Nintendo points! Do you think Link can never have too many rupees? Breach that annoying 999 rupee limit by giving Link access to a bottomless wallet, much like the buyer of all this wank DLC!

Okay, obviously I'm exaggerating, but for how long? DLC like this already exists, and while sometimes it can be a fun change to throw down a few bones on a new set of weapons or armours, stuff like that has never really taken priority over mission packs and such. I recently played Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires, and was delighted to see the developers created new clothing for your warriors as free DLC.

In conclusion, I guess what I'm getting at is developers and publishers are still experimenting with just how far they can go with downloadable content. iOS Megaman X seems like a step too far, but do Capcom think that? Will they, and many other developers, keep pushing for less productive stuff like this? Will developers be drawn away from more ambitious DLC offerings just to make a quick buck. I think so. While level packs, map packs and such will definitely continue, I believe this pointless DLC exploitation will carry on and only worsen as time goes on.   read





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