HOW DOES MR. TORGUE’S CAMPAIGN OF CARNAGE SCORE? AWESOME!!!!! WHY? REASONS!!!! THIS IS THE MOST EXPLOSIVE DLC AVAILABLE FOR BORDERLANDS 2, BELIEVE IT!!!! (more…)
Gearbox Software is one of the few game studios that can keep a player from moving on to a new game by providing badass DLC. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is just that, badass. Vault Hunters only after the jump. (more…)
“Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in the Americas, today announced the release of the latest TOMB RAIDER® multiplayer map pack: Shipwrecked.” (more…)
Many have heard news of the Cold Stream DLC recently available on Xbox Live. Perhaps you’ve heard of Mutations becoming available on demand, or how this new campaign map has been available on the PC for free for quite some time. If you love your Xbox and Achievements, then you may be asking yourself whether or not it’s worth putting money into Microsoft’s pocket just to pick this up. We’ll get to that question in a moment, but first there’s something you ought to know: this DLC is slightly broken.
To go over briefly what might have been missed, Cold Stream is a three chapter campaign map that exists outside the actual Left 4 Dead story cannon. Created by the PC community, the map underwent extensive beta testing before its general public release. While you might gripe about the fact that PC gamers can now play it for free, if you’ve chosen to dedicate your gaming time and resources exclusively to the 360 then Valve at least tries to make the 560 Microsoft Points price a little easier to swallow.
Presuming you have all the previous content, buying Cold Stream actually gets you a great deal of “things.” Arguably though, those things aren’t really worth it. To start off, although the Cold Stream campaign is good fun, as mentioned before it is a sadly short three chapter affair that won’t take a huge amount of time to complete. The finale of it also feels overly familiar, coming too close to The Parish’s campaign conclusion of racing across a bridge to, “get to da choppa.”
Of course, that’s assuming you get the game started at all – mysteriously, the failing dedicated server issue has returned. When L4D 2 originally released, Valve claimed that the reason dedicated servers didn’t work (and you were forced to use the local server option) was due to the large number of people suddenly playing the game. I do not believe that a significantly larger number of people also bought and played Cold Stream, to the point where gamers experience the same old issue. I’m more inclined to think that Valve just has trouble making multiplayer work on the Xbox. This suspicion is supported by the fact that even though the original L4D maps are included here, during one of my playthroughs on Death Toll the game just mysteriously reset itself (though the bug did not replicate on the second try).
There also seems to be continued trouble with the Achievements themselves, which in this instance is a significant factor when you consider that the Achievement version of the DLC is the one you actually have to pay money for. Specifically, you would think that playing through an old campaign map with the original survivors would net you the points for killing a tank with damage exclusively from that group, but no such luck (even with The Passing installed). Maybe Valve never intended for this to work, but with the previous history of Achievements actually being broken in L4D DLC, it seems a valid question.
Even when the old maps work, the other thing you need to consider is that they were never actually designed for the style of game that L4D 2 employs. All the extras like new special infected and weapons are available in the original campaigns, but the way the game worked previously was that it gave survivors opportunities to hole up in buildings, back into corners and fight off hordes of zombies while waiting for doors to open or rescue to arrive. L4D 2 actually implemented Spitters, Chargers and Jockeys to punish players in static positions, and provided these sort of panic, run-for-your-life moments with the intention of preventing you from sitting in a closet with four shotguns, waiting for a flaming tank. Consequently, throwing those new special infected into the old maps makes their powers seem all the more brutal. It is an imbalance in the difficulty that not everyone would call welcome. (Imagine how frustrating a Charger can be inside the corn fields at the end of Blood Harvest.)
With the full content of the DLC itself not faring so well, the final piece to address is whether or not it is worth a purchase. But rather than simply judging that entirely on the stability of the game or the value of its entertainment, you unfortunately have to consider that this DLC (along with the other two previous releases) is available for free on the PC. Also, you have to consider the fact that buying this one DLC pack doesn’t get you everything it has to offer. Let’s examine that statement a little further.
Included with the Cold Stream DLC on the 360 are all the maps from the original game. Sort of. If you want to play the No Mercy campaign, you’ll need to have paid your $7 to the Gates corporation by picking up the formerly released Sacrifice DLC. But hey, at least you’ll have access to all of the previous Mutation game modes when you buy Cold Stream. Sort of. If you want to play all of those on demand, you’ll also have to have paid Billy-boy another $7 for The Passing. So for $21 on the 360 you’d get three new campaign maps, access to all the old maps and all the Mutation games. For one dollar less on the PC you get all that, plus the actual Left 4 Dead 2 game.
If we were speaking exclusively in terms of whether or not you should pick this up for the Mac or PC, then obviously it’s a no brainer: it’s free. But when you put a dollar sign on it, it isn’t just an argument about platform preference, it’s an argument about whether or not this is actually worth $7. If your $7 got you everything, including access to all the mutations and all the old maps then, presuming the level of instability and bugs is the same on every platform as it is here on the 360 (which it isn’t), I’d cautiously recommend a purchase with the caveats below. But when you take away features and tell me I’ll have to pay even more to get everything Cold Stream has to offer, the answer becomes a resounding no.
If you’ve already sunk $14 into DLC for this game, and you are a die-hard fan still really interested in multiplayer access to a few more maps, and you don’t have a computer, then this is a better deal on a map pack than anything Call of Duty has ever offered. If you think that describes you, then you should buy Cold Stream (and you should also stop lying about whether or not you have a computer). But if you are a first time buyer and want to know whether or not this new campaign is worth the cost of the experience, then sadly no; it’s time for passing.
The Passing: The Passing was also nothing more than a short campaign, but it gave players a chance to revisit with some old friends. It breathed fresh life into multiplayer by providing a rotating set of Mutations that made matches more interesting and exciting. Cold Stream divided the multiplayer house, giving people too many options, across too many maps to make finding one specific combination possible. Cold Stream creates half-empty lobbies of players who couldn’t agree on whether they wanted to play a game where all special infected were Hunters, Jockeys, Spitters, Boomers or Tanks.
The Sacrifice: The Sacrifice gave everyone a chance to finally pay Bill back for all the times he stood facing the wrong direction while we got in-capped by a Smoker, healed us when we were only missing thirty points of life, or failed to follow us past a point of no return before getting pounced on. There’s not a single L4D player around that wouldn’t have paid good money to kill Bill. Now Cold Stream comes along and forces us to remember why. To me, that just seems like poor marketing.
I feel that, more and more, consumers are coming around to the idea that video game developers and publishers shouldn’t lock content out to paying customers. Whether it’s in the form of online passes or horrendous day-one DLC, people are becoming more and more savy and less willing to buy anything that’s put in front of them. Despite all of this, though, plenty within the industry are willing to take any money they possibly can.
Bioware Edmonton Director of Online Development, Fernando Melo, recently spoke with Polygon about day-one DLC. To me, his comments illustrate many of the problems with the industry. According to Melo, if you have day-one DLC, it increases visiblity of a game, post-launch. Basically, you’re more likely to have more players buying more content.
This also, according to him, fixes a “problem” of allowing layers the choice of when they want to pay content.
We realized that the only way we’re going to cater that, and meet both demands, is to have it available day one…(b)ecause in that case, you’re making it available on their time. They get to choose when to pick that up. It’s not based on us, it’s not based on some first-party release schedule. It’s there, if they want to pick it up, they can, or if they want to wait to finish the game, they can do that too.
He went on to say:
The only way that’s going away is, fast forward a few years, where this is just normal…(e)very game is digital day-one, every game is an ongoing service, almost like an MMO, where at any given day, new content shows up.
Of course, this completely ignores that these are issues that publishers and developers created by introducing DLC. You could easily incorporate this content into the main game, especially since it’s done not much after the main game is finished. Of course, in the world where games are considered “services” that are specifically designed to bleed consumers dry, this will likely continue until consumers just simply stop buying this stuff.
I think it’s also notable that this comes shortly after CD Projekt RED’s Konrad Tomaszkiewicz said that DLC should be free because consumers are often over priced for limited content. Hey, if you want to get more people to buy your products, maybe you should try taking this stance.
File this under “things you were beginning to think would never happen.” Valve has announced a release date for the Cold Stream DLC for Left 4 Dead 2. That date is July 24th. That’s right, less than a month from now the DLC will release officially on PC (PC players have had a beta version for several months) and on the Xbox 360.
There is no detail on the price but the DLC will include updated versions of Death Toll, Dead Air, and Blood Harvest from the original Left 4 Dead. Also, the announcement says that the mutations will all be available at any time now instead of on a two-week rotation. That’s right, pick up your M60 with unlimited ammo and no need to reload and have a Gib Fest whenever you want. Those who have been around TaG awhile know I’ll be picking this up so if you’re looking to play either Cold Stream or the new old maps (Dead Air is still a favorite) hit me up.
From the Left 4 Dead blog:
After months *cough*year*cough* of play testing not just the Cold Stream campaign on the PC but the entire DLC consisting of Blood Harvest, Crash Course, Cold Stream, Dead Air, and Death Toll, we are ready to release on the Xbox 360.
The date will be July 24th. There are some other surprises and details we will give you later but for now we just want to confirm an often requested feature. With the update going out at the same time (also for the PC), all of the mutations will be available at all times. This will allow players to choose to match into games playing Taannkk!, Gib Fest, or even a user created mutation like Confogl.
Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks as we get ready to launch.
We are now just a single day away from the release of the new Battlefield 3 Close Quarters DLC. I have tried to remain hopeful and postpone spreading the bad news, but I can wait no longer.
Battlefield has a few great advantages over other more conventional shooters like those in the Call of Duty franchise. These advantages take the form of huge sandbox maps, vehicles, and more tactical gameplay centered around a loose class system. The release of DLC devoted entirely to close quarters combat (CQC or CQB), effectively neglects these advantages and attempts to provide gameplay that cannot rival other titles who are entirely dedicated towards it.
No one plays Battlefield for room to room combat. That’s not what the game is and I don’t think it will be successful if it focuses on CQC. The gunplay, weapon handling, and firing mechanics in games such as Modern Warfare 3 far exceed what Battlefield 3 is capable of and, more importantly, capable of impressing people with in this area. The simple fact is, when you take away vehicles and huge maps, you also take away the major components and benefits to each of the games classes, leaving you with a FPS that is no more than decent.
With an already overwhelming amount of people using either the viciously powerful Assault class or just shooting rockets down hallways with Engineer all game, it is my hope that the new DLC won’t further these trends. Had it been me in the conference room, I would have voted for more vehicles, more stuff to blow up, and more space to do it in.
It’s that time of the year once again. It’s that show where we look ahead to the Electronic Entertainment Expo and make wild predictions about what’s going to happen. Join Robbie, Kyle, Jason, Samantha and Addam as we go through each of the big three and discuss what we want to see next week. Naturally we’re excited to see more from games like Halo 4 and The Last of Us but we also get to learn more about the Wii U and hopefully there will be at least a couple of surprises to keep us interested.
Thank you for listening and please enjoy Talking About Gamers Episode 136.
The Talking About Gamers podcast can be found in iTunes and the Zune Marketplace. Please leave a review there or to provide direct feedback feel free to send an email to email@example.com. You can hit us up on Twitter at @talkaboutgamers and find us on Facebook as well.
Though Warlock: Master of the Arcane has only been out a week, you may have missed your opportunity to pre-order the game and get access to the Powerful Lords DLC pack. But those late to the party can, for the sum of $1.99, purchase this content. How do you know whether or not to buy it though? How do you know whether or not it’s worth that much, when the developer was essentially previously giving it away for free? Well, that’s what reviews are for.
The short answer to the question is no, save your money. What is included in this DLC pack are two “perks” which can be selected at the beginning of any new game, provided that you are willing to spend five talent points for either of the two powerful units (or ten points for both, if you’re ambitious).
In starting a new game and customizing your owner character, this DLC enables you to enlist a Blademaster and Imp Adviser to fight for your noble cause. Each unit, if selected, starts the game near your beginning town, ready to wage war on the nearest living being. And that’s pretty much all they’re good for.
The units do level up and become more powerful (or take damage and eventually die, if you suck that much at life). Beyond that though, they function just as any other unit would. Though the concept seems similar to what other closely related games would call hero units, the fact that the characters are singular is really the only similarity.
Consequently, the only people that really “ought” to buy this, are those who are desperately possessed of a love for this game. Ironically, those are most likely the people who pre-ordered and have already received the content for free. The content is akin to extra weapon skins or costumes and makes no functional impact upon the game, other than to provide you with a slight starting advantage offset only by the sacrifice you have to make in order to begin with those units – that doesn’t make the DLC a very good long term investment, inside the game as well as in reality.
Really the target demographic here is, “people who think they actually missed out on something and have extra money lying around.” There’s no reason that should be you.
Pink Lancers: As far as functionality goes, pink lancers look like a better bargain. Why? Because you could kind of make the excuse that maybe it distracts your opponent with laughter long enough for you to run him through, and even if it doesn’t distract them, you will at least have died in a public expression of how pink isn’t just for sissies (except that you died, so you didn’t really think that through very well). But when you talk pricing, three dollars is too much, making both these DLCs equally awful.
DLC Quest: With as much press as DLC is getting, with public outcry over “on-disc” or locked content, the subject has never been more ripe for satire. If DLC is getting you down, thankfully there’s a game out there made just especially for you. Why not check out an awesome Indie title and join in the rebellion by purchasing… something… that you can… download? Oh, DLC Quest, I see what you did there…
On May 7, Capcom released their financial records for the previous fiscal year and it doesn’t look great. Granted, it’s better than a company like THQ, but Capcom’s sales were down 16%.This led to a reported loss of over a billion US Dollars.
While sales of games like Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) G and (surprisingly) Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon were noted as being successful, one game was specifically noted as underperforming. That game was Street Fighter X Tekken. With several “e-sports” games becoming more and more popular, this announcement is fairly surprising. Personally, though, I’m not surprised at all by this announcement. With the shady business concept of on-disc downloadable content that Capcom has put into practice, Capcom needs a change.
Capcom has made it a regular business practice to include downloadable content on a game’s disc. While Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City features this as well, Street Fighter X Tekken has twelve characters who are on the disc but locked out at the moment. The odds are good that you will have to pay for most of these characters. Basically, you buy the game for $60 and then you have to pay even more to get all of the full content of your disc.
It’s an extremely bad business practice for multiple reasons. First, gamers are already paying way too much for games as it is. Second, it assumes that your user base is a group of simpletons. In an age when games are hacked and information is shared in an instant, when you try to hide things like this from consumers it just makes you look bad. With the fighting game community being much more plugged in than the general consumer, not being honest with your fan base is a bad idea.
Thankfully, Capcom seems to have realized that this is a problem. In a post on Capcom Unity, Capcom Senior Director of Planning and Development Christian Svensson announced that the company is “re-evaluating” the future of on-disc DLC. It’s a good step, but don’t expect much in the immediate future.
As this process has only just commenced in the past month or so, there will be some titles, where development began some time ago and that are scheduled for release in the coming months, for which we are unable to make changes to the way some of their post release content is delivered.
One such game will be the upcoming Dragons Dogma, where Svensson defended the practice.
…the decision to include some additional (but not all planned additional) game content for the game on disc was made at the beginning of the game’s development cycle as at the time this was determined to be the most efficient way of ensuring certain content was made available. Owners of Dragon’s Dogma will be able to further their gameplay experience with the release of additional quests, weapons and other items in the months following the game going on sale.
Yes, it’s a step in the right direction but it still doesn’t seem like Capcom totally gets the problem. They are looking at it from an “in the moment” view, where they will try to drain as much money from customers as possible. That doesn’t breed consumer loyalty, though, and in a down economy that loyalty is extremely important.