No Gods, No Kings, Only Men Downloading Stuff: DLC & BioShock

“Where”, you are perhaps asking yourselves, “has he been? He ditched us, the swine. I bet he’s been carrying on with other webdwellers too! And after everything we’ve done for him!” Well, I’m sorry. Deeply sorry – but I’m back now. Isn’t that what counts? Anyway, I bet you’ve all been cuddling up to Metacritic and Eurogamer for your game fix. You’re as bad as me. We’re internet slatterns together. There is, after all we’ve been through, more that unites us than divides us. With that in mind, let’s set sail together for the distant shores of BRAND NEW WORDS. Specifically, WORDS about one of the seductive delights of the internet era – Downloadable Content. Or DLC, as it surely shouldn’t be called. DC would be more accurate. Stupid people. Honestly, with this kind of deliberate idiocy is it any wonder I toddle off for weeks at a time?

Anyway, DLC. Do you remember back before it had really started happening? “Guess what!” cried the publishers. “We’re making extra bits for these games you chaps enjoy so much. We shall add bits on to them later, for a modest fee. What lucky things you are.” It all seemed terribly exciting, didn’t it? Missions! Guns! Swords! Thoroughly good news. Then of course came the Horse Armour debacle, and the scales fell from our eyes. So DLC wasn’t going to be a cave of electric wonders. Rather it was going to be an online bric-a-brac stall – great piles of useless junk that you don’t really need, but didn’t feel too bad spending 50p on, only to get it home and realise you have no earthly use for a pencil holder shaped like Bugs Bunny.

Has anyone ever made a decent bit of DLC? The Stone Prisoner from (GUESS WHAT) Dragon Age springs to mind, but that wasn’t really DLC in the true sense – yes, you had to download it, but it was free, perfectly integrated into the main game and more of an anti-piracy measure than a penny pinching add-on. However, as for all the rest of the Dragon Age crap, it was hard to shake a sense of bitter disappointment – did I really just pay a fiver to hit EVEN MORE darkspawn, listen to some stomach churningly bad flirting between Wynne and Allistair and get a shiny suit of armour? The answer is yes.

Now BioShock 2 has clambered aboard. A quick browse through the features list on Eurogamer furnishes no surprises – weapon upgrades, new multiplayer skins, blah blah horse armour… it’s all rather depressing. What next? Paying three quid for extra booby tassles in Heavy Rain? A tenner to play the Alien Queen in AvP? Are publishers really this cynical?*

Then again, no-one is making us buy these things. It’s not even as if it’s a universal practice yet – Valve continue to release brilliant content for Team Fortress 2, for free and with no sign of stopping. But the trend is definitely developing, and it’s rather a shame. DLC has huge potential for adding excellent stuff to games, and this is a boring way to use it. Admittedly, it’s not as if it’s hurting anyone – but couldn’t we do better?


*Of course they are. How charmingly naive you are, Me.

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One Comment on “No Gods, No Kings, Only Men Downloading Stuff: DLC & BioShock”

  1. Good old publishers. I don’t mind DLC too much unless it is heavily marketed as game-changing, which to be fair, isn’t very often. The only DLC bits I’ve ever downloaded is GTA IV’s excellent content packs, TLATD and Gay Tony, and some new cars for Forza 3, which are pretty decent. If it’s just a couple of extra guns and some multiplayer skins, you’ve got to be a moron to pay for it.

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