Indie DLC = Old School DLC

I’m not sure if I’m too old school, but all of this recent DLC is starting to wear me thin. Every time I see a new game come out, I immediately think, “Might as well wait for the GOTY/Ultimate edition!” A few of my friends have been playing Forza 4, but I refuse to buy it and see that “complete” version a week later.

This past week, though, I recently bought two packs of DLC. Two of my favorite games from last year, “The Binding of Isaac” and “Frozen Synapse,” released full scale expansions. Both include gameplay that is roughly half the length of their main campaigns and feature other cool, optional extras. How the hell could I pass that up?

This is the kind of stuff I gladly paid for back in the late-90’s, early 2000’s. Every time a game I loved had an expansion, I was all over it. The Quake series has some great examples of long campaigns with expansions that increased the length two-fold.

Even “Battlefield 1942” gave us discs that were more than simply map-packs (even if Road to Rome was a glorified one). I miss those days were my extra content wasn’t some gimped experience with a $10 price tag.

You can make the counter-argument that most of the expansions from the past were $30 where as DLC is significantly cheaper, but then I’ll ask you to show me an example of DLC that wasn’t free in the past. “Call of Duty’s” DLC is some of the worst, but it’s actually not that the value of the maps are in question.

No, what makes it suck is how Epic Games has never charged for a single “Bonus Pack” in the “Unreal Tournament” series and each pack included about 8-9 maps. Think about that. “Call of Duty” expects an extra $60 for a total of 20 maps when Epic gave away nearly double that for free on each game.


Entirely free and it was on PS3! What gives?!

I also take particular offense on “Free-To-Play” games that charge you a dollar for weapons and skins. I do understand that they need some kind of money, but I’m really struggling to figure out why there are count-down timers and cool-down periods for things you buy with actual cash. I remember the days where extra skins were unlockable and even fan made!

Not every modern developer is milking DLC for all it’s worth, though. Rockstar Games did wonderful things with the expansions to “Grand Theft Auto IV.” While the two episodes weren’t as full length as Vice City or San Andreas, neither one was a slouch in replay value or story content.

I know this will lead into the debate about how length of content shouldn’t be the deciding factor, but I’m getting sick of paying what is now a premium DLC price for content that shouldn’t even have a price tag. Developers are losing a lot of faith with their userbases and I think changing DLC policies to something more old school would be the way to fix things.

I know Activision will never listen to reason, but why not give away some maps from time to time. If you want people to play your stupid and shoehorned multiplayer modes, give them a reason that isn’t attached to their wallets.

If you want people to experience more single-player content, make it justifiable for them to drop money. Provide either another complete campaign, or give us short experiences loaded with extra content and easter eggs to discover.

It’s just strangely telling how I refuse to purchase DLC for big budget titles, yet I immediately (and without question) bought the expansions to two indie games. Maybe if EA or Ubisoft didn’t make such awful add-ons, I wouldn’t have problems like this.

I know DLC is here to stay and that my voice probably isn’t going to do anything, but I just lament the passing of the old days. Games may not have been better values back then and I fondly remember spending upwards of $70 for N64 cartridges, but DLC is just getting out of control.

Until I get something akin to “The Binding of Isaac” and “Frozen Synapse’s” expansions in the future, I’m just not going to be buying much in the way of DLC.

The End of an Era

As the curtains closed on “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” for me, one thing struck me; I really love Ezio. The stories of his games have gotten progressively more convoluted and incomprehensible, but he is such a shining example of a great character.

The man is flawed, but intelligent. He is willing to admit mistakes and learn from them. He was brash in his youth, but we’ve seen him grow to being wise and powerful. He is a masterful leader and excellent assassin. It’s touching to see his life close out.

The same goes for Altair, despite how annoying and underdeveloped he was in the first “Assassin’s Creed” game. Seeing the later parts of his life and coming to terms with knowing that he is gone was actually kind of difficult for me.

It’s shocking to deal with death. I’ve had to do it in the past for two family members and they’ve stirred me to my very core. Seeing them one day and then knowing they have faded forever is terrible. Not knowing the reason why or contemplating how just makes it worse.

I obviously knew Altair died, otherwise Ezio couldn’t exist. Ezio had to have passed at one point, too, as Desmond is the modern day equivalent of him. Still, just witnessing their final moments and knowing their ambitions make those scenes very poignant.

When Altair speaks with his family before finally saying goodbye, I just think of how my grandmother or aunt might have taken my final words to them. While Altair knew he was heading for death and his son probably could have guessed it, I never knew when my family was going to pass.

Soon at work, one of my co-workers will be leaving. I’ve only known her for the better part of a year, but just as I was getting friendlier, she is leaving. I’m not blaming her (as the matter is far more complex than just quitting), but I do wish I could hold onto the atmosphere we’ve cultivated.

Still, I’m hopeful for her future. My current job isn’t what you’d call a beacon of dreams. The company is mainly where people go to die, or distract themselves over the summer between classes. That I am there and toiling away just makes me remorseful of my past.

The two might not even be closely related in terms of severity or gravity, but losing anyone is just hard. As sad as it might seem, I really didn’t want to lose Ezio. Seeing a new Assassin’s Creed title with him might have been groan inducing, but it always left me hopeful for his charming demeanor.

The end of Altair and Ezio, though, gives me reason to believe in the future of Assassin’s Creed. I’m truly hoping Ubisoft is listening to the fans, because I do not want to see Desmond in any first-person style crap again.

What I feel is that we are moving on to something new and fresh. The few previews for “Assassin’s Creed III” show that combat is getting revamped and exploration seems to be in a massive open world. That’s about all I’ve read.

Still, life moves on. We can’t always hold onto the past, other than our memories. While I try to avoid being nostalgic and always attempt to look at things for what they are, maybe it’s time for me to employ some sympathy to my memories.

I’ve dwelled long enough on the passing of my grandmother and aunt. Reliving those moments I learned of their deaths hasn’t done me favors for the past two years. I know all the lessons associated with those events and it’s high time I applied them to my life.

Ezio’s final words echo within me. “When I was a young man, I had liberty, but I did not see it. I had time, but I did not know it. And I had love, but I did not feel it.” My life is essentially this.

So instead of repeating the mistakes of Ezio, I believe I shall change, It may not be soon or very noticeable, but it will occur. This is the end of era, both for me and for Assassin’s Creed. Here’s to the future!