From Red Dead Redemption to Alan Wake; Call of Duty to Halo, downloadable content can be quite irritating. Map-packs and weapon upgrades are a bit understandable, but are extra story missions necessary? Story missions are classified as extra content that tells a part of the story that was originally left out or added to lengthen the main campaign. It seems quite unnecessary, as well as costly. How many gamers have purchased a game and find that they are paying extra just to fill in the gaps? How many times have we been subjected to a full-price game that hasnít been completed?
Any Assassinís Creed title after the first one has at least a few story missions that are released after the actual game. Take AC: 2 for instance. They tell the story of how Ezio Auditore was involved in some influential events in history with Chapters 12 and 13. They also fill in the gaps between Chapters 11 and 14 in the main campaign. My problem with this is that Ubisoft clearly had an idea as to what they wanted to do with the story, yet they couldnít add those two campaign chapters until later on. Wouldnít that mean that the game is incomplete? If I buy a game at full price (games usually sell at $59.99), and play through the entire story mode only to realize that there are pieces missingÖ
Let me put it this way; If a new book came out, and the author chose to withhold three chapters in the hopes that readers will buy the next book just to see what happens; it doesnít seem very cost effective for the reader, especially when the reader has to pay $30 for the initial book. Does that mean that they now have to pay an additional $15 just to flesh out the plot? Iíll continue for those of you who still donít get it.
As many of you know, I love Mass Effect! I live and die by my decked out level 60 Commander Shepard, whom is now a level 30 in Mass Effect 2. But when I play Mass Effect 2, there is something that bothers me all to hell. On Illium, you reunite with Liara Tísoni, your squad mate from the first game. Romantic relationship or not, she needs your help getting information pertinent to finding a spy working for the Shadow Broker.
I donít know about everybody else, but I absolutely despised that terminal-hacking mission. The strategy guide says that whomever Liara kills isnít the spy reporting back to the Shadow Broker. Itís her assistant! While I think itís an interesting twist for Liaraís part in the game, but there was no closure on it until the DLC pack was released almost seven months after the actual game. This lets you actually join Liara on her journey to get revenge on her enemy and rescue a long-lost friend. It was a great addition to the game, and it definitely filled in some holes in Liaraís plotline. But did it have to be left out?
And donít even get me started on how the Arrival DLC pack should have been included in the game from the start. It plays a gigantic part in the unraveling plot, and takes place smack in the middle of the game. Not to mention the fact that the repercussions from the DLC pack serve as the baseline for the opening of Mass Effect 3. How can you honestly say that itís right to release a DLC pack that has a direct tie-in to the next game after the title has already been release? What if you didnít play the Arrival DLC pack? Bioware is known for their outstanding stories, but players wonít know whatís happening in the beginning of Mass Effect 3 if they havenít played it. Letís just say that your actions caused a lot of people to die, and citizens of the galaxy want your head on a pike!
Hereís the kicker. Depending on the size and length of the downloadable content, the price can range anywhere from $2-25. I paid a total of $9 for both DLC packs for Assassinís Creed 2. The Mass Effect 2 packs cost me a little over $30, including the appearance packs. Thatís a decent amount of extra dough on top of the full price I paid for the game.
With all that said, if developers need to take extra time to polish the game with all of its story elements intact, I will gladly wait the few extra months it might take to do so. Actually, if all the content is ready by the gameís release date, they should package it altogether and charge the total amount. For example, if a game costs $60 at release, and the DLC costs $30, I would rather pay the $90 upfront. I know the developers have to make their money somehow, there is no sense in making me jump through hoops just to see what Ezio did in the ten years between Chapters 11 and 14. Make sense?