Back in the days of yore, if video game developers wanted to add more to their title, it would be released in the form of an expansion pack. It would contain nearly an entire game’s worth of content and cost half the price of the standard game.
As with most aspects of the video game industry, it changed. As internet speeds increased, companies decided to sell smaller add-ons online. Something we call DLC.
DLC comes in all shapes and sizes and can vary from map packs, storyline expansions and even something as simple as cosmetic changes and skins.
As DLC can be very different, it also means that the public opinion of DLC varies as well.
We have the good DLC; Downloadable content which is priced fairly and offers you enough content that you feel like your money is well spent. Then there’s the bad; which is a bit harder to explain.
Bad DLC can be thought of in many different ways, there’s the fact that the content may be decent but the price you pay for it just isn’t worth it e.g. some portions of Fable 2 & 3 DLC. Though some could consider any DLC as bad depending on your views on downloadable content.
Lastly there’s what I’m simply calling ‘The Horse Armour’ or ‘The Ugly’ which is basically DLC that you pay for despite the fact it could have simply been unlockable content e.g. some forms of cosmetics (alternative costumes) or something that doesn’t actually add anything to the game.
As most DLC is made of bad and horse armour, this means the good DLC stands out like a beacon of hope on the video game industry. We have shining examples such as The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC which added another 6 hours of single player story onto an already lengthy campaign, though it felt like story that should have been kept in with the main campaign; the addition of more The Last of Us was very welcome.
Another example is The Prepare to Die content on Dark Souls. Dark Souls is already a very lengthy game (I’ve clocked in over 50 hours on one character and still haven’t finished the main story arc) but the DLC gives you a new story that explains a bit more of the story behind Artorias; a great warrior whose name was thrown about a lot in the main story of Dark Souls.
Both of these DLC packs cost roughly £10 each and gave you as much content as some full retail titles, it offered you more of a game you had explored enough and that’s a great thing.
Note: I know you’ve gotten the jist of what I consider good Downloadable Content but another I wanted to mention was Dragon Age: Awakening which actually felt like an old PC expansion pack. It added new weapons, armour a whole new storyline which introduced an array of new characters and brought back some old. It was a fantastic piece of DLC at a modest price of £15.
Now I’ve talked about what makes good DLC, I’ll head on to what I consider as bad DLC.
Bad DLC is a bit more difficult to explain as what I consider to be bad DLC could be what others find as fantastic DLC; it’s funny how opinions work.
One thing I have considered as bad DLC is map packs; only in certain conditions and circumstances. Basically map packs that cost near the same amount as a storyline expansion and if the map packs don’t offer anything more than a new playground to shoot your peers. Some map packs offer a few new game modes which is fine, it feels like you get some actual new content from the purchase.
I’m a bit biased to the map pack ideas due to being a Battlefield man up until the release of Battlefield 3 as during the times of Bad Company 2, Dice claimed that they wouldn’t charge people for the map packs, this mean everyone could use them so the new content isn’t limited to a few people. Sadly this is no longer the case as Battlefield premium now exists.
Another example is if the content deliver much for the price asked. This includes episode one of Bioshock Infinite’s Burial At Sea. Though added a nice amount, it was fairly short for the £11 price mark and only seemed worth it if you planned to buy episode 2, in that case I recommend the season pass.
Lastly is the ‘Horse Armours’ of DLC’s. Horse Armour being a DLC released for Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It cost roughly £4 and simply added armour for your Horse, the armour didn’t do anything; it just looked nice. The DLC became a bit of an in-joke for the gaming community.
Many DLC’s have come out since then, they’ve been completely cosmetic, they add nothing to the initial gameplay and are simply there to squeeze a bit more money out of the players. Examples being the Batman skin pack for both Arkham City and Origins, these things cost but they feel like an item you should be able to unlock through progress in the game; a feature developers seem to be using less in order to create more DLC.
So what did I miss? What’s your favourite or least favourite video game DLC?