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SirAlex avatar 3:00 AM on 04.15.2013  (server time)
Too Hardcore For You

I recently purchased the Dunwall City Trials DLC for Dishonored. I really enjoyed Dishonored and it is one of my favorite new IPs for this generation. I had heard that this DLC, which is essentially just a bunch of mini-games, was difficult. I enjoy a good challenge and the $5 price tag seemed fair. I'm also the kind of player that enjoys completion for the games I play. While I wouldn't call myself a trophy hunter, I like the challenge of getting 100% completion when I can. However, after playing through the DLC for a week (and still being 3 trophies short of completion), I can't help but feel that I've wasted my money and time.

For starters, as the name implies, the "trials" aren't really that fun. They've basically divided up the mechanics of the original game, which are fairly uninteresting by themselves, and packaged them as individual challenges. This is unfortunate because each mechanic works so much better when combined with the others. For example, the combat is fun, but it's even better when it is married to the stealth. As for the trophies/achievements, they are extremely frustrating. 90% of them are pure luck because most of the challenges randomize everything each playthrough. The one I'm currently having issues with is Daredevil. This trophy requires you to complete six "tricky" jumps during one run of Bonfires. This challenge is basically a parkour-inspired run from point to point, with additional time granted each time you hit a red beam of light that randomly spawns at some place on the map. As such, it is next to impossible to practice a perfect run because the layout is completely different each time.There is also no indication as to what the tricky jumps are or where to perform them. My best run so far has me at 19,000 points (11,000 short of the 30,000 needed for three stars) with 5 tricky jumps completed. And this is just the normal version. Assassins are added to the expert level difficulty.

Now I'll admit that $5 isn't a big deal and that it is completely optional content. You get what you pay for after all. All the same, when I think of Dishonored now, I don't think of the fantastic environments, engaging story, or thrilling stealth gameplay. I think of fruitlessly jumping from point to point before running out of time or falling into the void. I'm pretty sure Bethesda and Arkane could care less since they already have my money, but they should. The DLC should be something to reinforce the idea that you made a good purchase and will continue to buy their products because you know you'll have a good time with it. DLC like this cheapens the experience by breaking down exactly what made the game fun in the first place.

I'm having a similar experience with another game, Metal Gear Solid 4. I originally finished this game before they added a trophy patch and now I'm replaying for the trophies and because I was a bit nostalgic after seeing the MGS5 trailer. While I enjoy the game immensely, playing through it 8 different times is ridiculous. Additionally, some playthroughs force me to approach the game in a way that is counter to the stealth action that is the heart and soul of the series. I also completely skip the story and cutscenes because I've seen them 5 times already.

I am not really advocating any sort of seismic change to how DLC and trophies are handled, but I think developers should pay more attention to stuff like this. There is a sizable number of people that enjoy these things and making trophies and DLC more frustrating than fun doesn't exactly endear people to such games. Getting a trophy should feel like a grand achievement, but not at the expense of the experience.

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