Remember back in the 90s, when people spoke exclusively via Friends quotes, and Google was still just a search engine? They were simpler times. Better times. Especially regarding video games. For a while, your precious playthings were still physical entities, encased in plastic cartridges, and the notion of downloading extras for them was the stuff of science fiction. Like Velcro.
And now? They’re all “gigabytes” and “update required” and “bullshit.” There’s two problems with this. Firstly, that publishers put the screws on developers to release games before they’re properly finished – because they can just send an update down the pipes a bit later – resulting in some of the most broken games ever going on sale. The second problem is that this new found ability to glue bits of games together means that publishers can also decide how much of a game they actually want to give you, and how much they want to charge you to buy the get the rest of it later.
It may be that I’m being slightly unfair. Certainly some game DLC is well thought-out, fairly priced, and really brings something new to the core experience (I’m looking at you, Far Cry: Blood Dragon). Let’s be honest though, most of the time it’s not that. It’s a twisted attempt by publishers to bend captive, fan-blind players over a barrel in order to rinse them of everything they’re worth before throwing the rotting corpse of their once-favourite franchise out the window of a moving car, once it’s no longer “viable.” Or an incentive to stop people buying used games.
Either way, there’s times when it’s not so great. Here’s a countdown of the seven worst offenders. Of DLC so unscrupulous that had it taken a human form, it could be cast as a Bond villain.
Click on and see if you don’t agree.Next
7) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Offending money-spinner: Horse Armor pack
OK, you all knew this was going to be here, smartasses, so let’s get it out of the way. Basically, in 2006, you all paid money to have your horse wear a metal booty-plate. Being a single-player game, no one else was going to see it, and it’s absolutely plausible that even if they had been able to, nobody would have cared. In some cases, the so called “armor” actually made your horse easier to kill. All in all, it was a bit naff.
And the price for all this naffness? $2.50. It may not seem like much, but glance up again and just see what exactly that money bought you. And don’t forget too, that this was way back in 2006 – so adjusting for inflation it was like 100 dollars or something. Maybe. The icing on the cake of this gem is that the Armor pack was not even included in subsequent Game Of The Year versions of Oblivion, meaning people are still spending $2.50 on it eight years later.
Not many people by now though, I’d hope. Just two or three of the kind of people that still need their food cutting up for them.Previous Next
6) Forza 5
Offending money spinner: 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Forza 5 had a complex currency arrangement, with real money being used to purchase in-game tokens, which could then be spent on cars for your virtual garage. It’s worth mentioning that these cars could also be unlocked by playing through the game and grinding your way through a billion races to gain enough credits. But who wants to pootle around in a Ford Focus for a year when there’s a Lotus F1 car waiting to be thrashed?
No one. So let’s buy it outright. I mean, sure, I already spent $60 on the game, but I’m not against paying a little more to drive a car that’s already on the disc. I didn’t get a good education, you see. The tokens can be bought in bulk, making it slightly cheaper to buy more, but it worked out that buying the dream Ferrari would itself cost as much as the game it’s already in.
And if you bought a collection of smaller tokens and saved up over time? Expect that car to set you back nearly $100. You may as well buy a real one, AMIRIGHT? Developer Turn 10 saw the error of their ways eventually though, and released an update that made everything quite a bit cheaper.Previous Next
5) Tomb Raider
Offending money-spinner: Tomb of the Lost Adventurer
The Tomb Raider reboot was an absolutely fantastic Uncharted rip off. It’s OK to say that, of course, because Uncharted itself ripped off the original Tomb Raider. If The Lion King taught me anything, it’s that this is the circle of life.
The DLC in question, Tomb of the Lost Adventurer, was only 240MSP (or about $3 in American metal), so what could possibly be wrong with that? Well, this: it’s a bad value proposition. Just because $3 isn’t a massive amount of money, it doesn’t mean everything that costs that much is worth it. Would you spend $3 on second-hand birth control, just because it was cheap?
If the answer is yes, then you probably bought this DLC too – one extra explorable tomb with about 30 seconds worth of puzzle solving in it.Previous Next
4) The Sims
Offending money-spinner: Stuff Packs
In moves so cynical that any more of them could tear a hole through time, EA consistently teams up with big-name brands in order to make you pay through your nose (and any other orifice you have uncovered) to dress your Sims.
“Yes!” say the marketing managers, “to fill the pitiful void that is your life, why not smear your Sims in this latest pile of pixelated vomit that passes for fashion! Show your friends just how desperate you are to be validated by spending $15 dollars on dressing your Sim in a Diesel t-shirt so awful you wouldn’t even wear it in real life!”
“Katy Perry has a new album out, with a candy theme? Sanction a new candy-themed tree DLC immediately! How long would that take you to design? 43 seconds? Perfect. Charge $15 for it.”
And so on and so on. None of the people involved get into Heaven.Previous Next
3) The Amazing Spider-Man
Offending money-spinner: Osphone games
Firstly, let me begin by saying that nothing about Spider-Man is amazing. He’s rendered useless when traveling around the countryside, his “Spidey-sense tingles”, which is the least badass sounding superpower ever, and in his human guise he’s just about the most boring entity on the planet. And, if The Amazing Spider-Man game is anything to go by, he’s also an imbecile.
Though maybe he’s only an imbecile by proxy. After all, it’s you that’s controlling him. And you, potentially, that’s causing him to shirk his duties of saving the city from evil in favour of playing games on his mobile. Everyone needs deserves a break, sure, but how about a sense of priorities, Pete?
This is made worse still by the fact that the games you can play (on the phone in the game!) are purchasable DLC. As if downloading Snake for your phone in real life wasn’t appalling enough, you can buy a video game where you play a freakin’ superhero, and on his phone buy Snake to sit there meta-playing. It’s one of the most upsetting things humans have ever thought to do.Previous Next
2) Street Fighter X Tekken
Offending money-spinner: 12 more characters
Street Fighter X Tekken was one of the first instances of a game having downloadable content already on the disc you payed for, and for many it’s still one of the most painful. What Capcom essentially did is (rather than releasing a game and later building an add-on for you to download and enjoy after you’d finished the main game) finished everything, put it all on the disc, and charged you again to unlock it.
On its own that’s pretty poor, like buying a meal at a restaurant and then being charged to use the cutlery – but at least if that restaurant advertised the fact they did so, you could make an informed decision about whether or not to eat there. Capcom’s most upsetting error was that they lied by omission. The characters were only discovered to be on the disc after Destructoid did some digging.
Sadly, this was over two years ago now, and it seems like rather than make gamers more savvy and publishers more respectful, quite the opposite has become the trend. Where’s my evidence of this? Turn the page and see for yourself.Previous Next
1) Call of Duty
Offending money-spinner: Basically everything
Yes, in moves tantamount to the end of civilized history, you can now give Activision money in return for Snoop Dogg’s voice announcing your kills in one of the worst shooters ever made.
I refer, specifically of course, to Ghosts. I’d hate you to think I was trolling, and as a rule I’m a big fan of the overall franchise – but there’s no denying the correlation between its steep decline in quality and its hefty incline in micro transactions. Personalization Packs, Legend Packs, Special Character Packs, Voice Packs… and all for the low, low price of $2. But that’s not per pack, by the way. No, no. That’s per item in the pack.
Want your gun to have a space-themed paint job? $2. Want it to have some skulls on it? $2. How about plastering it in cannabis leaves, because you’re a bird-brained, juvenile, non-contributor to society? Sure, $2. They even tried to charge us for Elite, a glorified spreadsheet that logged our in-game stats for $50 a year. Happily – in what can be seen as a small victory for gamers – this idea recently died out due to low attendance.
Will it stop the FPS juggernaut from rolling on? Not a chance. Will it eventually come to a point where you’re being charged per-second to play it? You betcha. Will I be one of the people doing just that? Ugh, probably. I hate myself.
What do you guys think? Have publishers finally gone too far? Let us know in the comments below!Previous