Are you down with DLC? I'm not necessarily talking about cosmetic stuff, or the purchasable content for free-to-play games. I'm also not talking about games of a musical nature, where you can pull down new songs to add to your library. Those are fine. Episodic releases are fine. And I'm certainly not referring to on-disc DLC as there's nothing good that can be said about those.
I'm just talking about your good old DLC. New levels, maps, tracks, cars, characters, weapons, armor and so on. Or even new chapters. New adventures. In-app purchases. That kind of stuff.
Here's my take.
While I've played plenty of downloadable content in my day, I've never purchased a single bit of DLC with my own money. I won't. It's not a put-my-foot-down kind of issue, and I'm certainly not here to push some kind of anti-DLC message. I'm just telling you that I won't buy it.
I have two lines drawn. One is my own personal view on DLC outside of the cosmetic and free-to-play stuff: if it's not on the disc, I won't buy it. It might be great. A new $1.99 weapon might be the best thing ever. A new $5.99 car pack might give me all of my virtual dream cars. But I'm not down for that. I'll enjoy the weapons and cars that were put into the game, thank you very much.
Some try to justify (to me) the larger downloadable content that adds new levels or a new story path after release. I'm not necessarily against those, but some part of me still refuses to buy into them. This stance might not make complete sense, but it's how I feel. I think that's changing, though.
This is where my other line is drawn. While I'm not into the item/character/weapon/etc. kind of DLC, I suppose I could be talked into buying these chunks of additional content. But I have yet to find a compelling case for this kind of content. Sure, list off all the examples -- everyone does. And I've likely played them. Being in a line of work where I'll get pretty much all of this content for free, I've played played plenty of DLC. But I've never played anything that made me feel like I wouldn't have been okay to have "cut off" the experience at the end of the original game.
While I know it's messy to compare games to movies, I like to think of a game as a complete experience, kind of like a movie. I'll go see a film and enjoy it for what it is. If you make a sequel and it looks good, fine, I might go see that. I don't know that a direct-to-video 20-minute post-release story supplement release quite makes sense for this analogy, but that's how I feel about this additional content sometimes.
But I fully understand the feeling of wanting to stay in a particularly good game's world, or wanting to continue to further explore the depths of strong characters. That's where I think DLC can get interesting. So far, there are only a handful of these types of releases, though. This kind of DLC can give you what is essentially a mini sequel as a download. That's neat. Remember Persona 3: FES? It added a several hours of new gameplay and a new story path alongside a re-release of the original game. If this PS2 game were to be released today, the FES content would have been DLC. I think would have been okay with that.
As far as item, map, and character DLC goes, my feeling is that things are getting kind of gross with these in some cases. I suppose there was a day where all item/character DLC was harmless, but I barely remember those days now. Even if we're told we're wrong one-hundred times over, I just can't shake the feeling that this content could have been put on the disc. I would have waited to get it for no cost, and I'm sure most of you feel the same.
When content feels like it was held back to be DLC, what's when it gets too gross for me. I have yet to come across a game that I feel has suffered for its DLC strategy as far as review score goes, but too many games of late have brought me close to that feeling. For me, it's an uncomfortable feeling, and I think it has an undesirable effect on the overall experience.
I'm still on the fence on season passes. To have a, say, year plan of content you'll release for a game already in place just feels weird to me. I would have rather you planned to put that content in the game. I'd be all for a yearly pass that gives access to every release of a music game like Rock Band, where the game makers are busy behind the scenes working all year to release new song content. But when it's, say, a racing game where some of the franchise favorite tracks are missing but will be downloadable later according to some DLC plan, well, I'm going to have to pass on the season pass.
I know that DLC sells, but the fact that it sells doesn't work for me as justification. It's like telling me that the worst song on the radio should be on there because the artist has made tons of money by releasing it. Some of the cosmetic stuff can be fun, I'm sure. Cosmetic DLC, along with inexpensive upgrades, probably sell like hotcakes. But if it's truly optional stuff, I'll opt to pass on it.
In one of my morning Twitter rants this morning, I likened DLC to food. If games and their additional content are consumables, this works for me.
I said that sometimes DLC is like adding an egg roll to your orange chicken meal. In this case, the addition is something more that you might like that adds to your meal. I suppose that's fine. But sometimes DLC is like paying more to get the full portion of chicken in your chicken parmesan order. It's sometimes like having to pay a bit more to get the appropriate amount of cheese to feel like it's a proper cheeseburger. Sometimes it's like having to pay for the fucking fork.
What's your take on DLC, Destructoid?
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