Thursday, 9 December 2010

PCGR DLC (We love Acronyms)

This new era of Downloadable Content (DLC) for games seems to be in full swing. But is it actually worth it, or is it purely a cash cow for the publishers?

It seems to be that expansion packs are slowly fading into the distance in preference of smaller, quicker to release DLC packs. I've always thought new content for any game is the best way to keep it alive, it's obvious isn't it, keep the community stimulated and reap the rewards of their loyalty in the long run. People will follow series. Battlefield for example; people who play Bad Company 2, a fair few of them will be Battlefield 1942 players.

However, different companies seem to have different takes on it. Some release DLC that are reasonably large (Playtime wise) and for a fair price, whereas others seem to be very empty additions that add nothing except money to the publisher's bank account. There's always going to be a mix like this amongst the gaming world, but now you're stepping into a minefield; picking the good from the bad.

I've tended to try and steer clear of DLC, I largely thought it was a waste of money for what I got. However, seeing the Borderlands DLC on offer a while back, I bought all of it for about £6 I think it was, and I was impressed! They'd put in the work and effort, and rightfully deserved my £6 - Although I doubt I'd have paid full price for them all, at £6 each, totalling £18 back then before the newest one came out. None the less, I think it was worth it, and I would have happily paid £10/12 for it. But whereas this DLC was a nice addition, others seem to be incredibly weak.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a fine example of this. They've released 2 DLC packs. Stimulus Package, and Resurgence Pack. Both containing 5 maps, for £10.99 each - So £22, for 10 new maps. Sounds a bit steep already doesn't it? But this is what takes the biscuit... out of the 10 new maps 4 of them are from the previous Modern Warfare... If you had the previous game, you're paying for the same maps twice essentially. In my eyes, that's a bit criminal! But, as always, people buy it and the cycle progresses!

Now. Finding the Balance.
I'll use the example of Battlefield Bad Company 2 for this. They've released several map packs over the time it's been out, since around March time, and they've all been Free. That's the clincher! Free! But recently, they've brought some DLC to PC, in the form of a "SPECACT Kit Upgrade" - It's new skins for the different classes, and new skins on 4 weapons. No weapon improvements, no extra gizmos or gadgets, just some new textures. It's retailing at £4.80 (Which I think is far too high for some textures) but people buy it. What I like about this DLC, is that it doesn't segregate players, or force them to upgrade to play on the latest maps! Some players want it to look stylish, some would rather spend the money on a pint; but the community still plays together with one another on the same maps! No one gets left out (Doesn't that sound nice and cute, aww...)

They're releasing an expansion pack too (Huzzah!) in the form of Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam. We posted some information on it a while back HERE if you feel like a peruse. For the princely sum of £9.99. It contains 4 new maps, 6 new vehicles, and 15 new weapons. There will also be a fifth map unlocked when the playing community reaches 69,000,000 player actions (That's stuff like revives, resupplies, spotting etc.). Call of Duty, eat your heart out!
Although it is an expansion, it's kind of along the same lines of DLC, and for the price, that's good in my eyes; much better than the Call of Duty packs for value!

Wrap it up!
Just be aware of what you're getting for your money. We feel here there's going to be a big increase in the amount of DLC released for games, and although it will add to your game, keep an eye out for the runts of the litter. There will inevitably be turkeys intermixed with the good DLCs, and whenever your hard earned cash is involved, you don't want to be bitten (Most DLC can't be "returned" for obvious reasons, so when you pay for it, that's it, you've got it)

But, be sure if PCGR ever make a DLC, it'll be money well spent. How's that coming along then Andy!? [Just what are you signing me up for now? -Andy]

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