I kind of have a love/hate relationship with DLC. There’s great stuff out there, sure, but not every game has successfully integrated post-release content.
Sometimes developers kill it, like when Rockstar Games released DLC for Grand Theft Auto IV. They took full advantage of the opportunity, offering a more robust and worthwhile series of missions centering around a jewel theft and two playable characters. They fleshed out the story, but also added new sidequests, songs, weapons, cars and clothing. It didn’t hurt that they overhauled the color palates and filters for the HUD on-screen display.
Sadly, many developers don’t offer up any more than some clothing or a few map packs . These things aren’t necessarily bad, but they really squander DLC’s potential, and they definitely push me closer to the “hate” side of the spectrum.
But recently, something has been changing my perception of DLC. It can be more than gold-plated guns (my personal pet peeve), and it can do more than just expand on an existing story. I’m referring, of course, to standalone DLC.
Titles like Far Cry: Blood Dragon, Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, are far more than add-ons. They don’t just broaden the spectrum of a base game, they offer a completely new experience. As the name implies, these games stand on their own.
The beauty of this DLC is that it provides a smaller, cheaper sampling of what the larger game has to offer. I passed on picking up Wolfenstein: The New Order, but solid reviews and a low price tag persuaded me to give The Old Blood a shot. It proved to be a very worthwhile investment, so much so that I want to pick up The New Order so that I can get a larger dose of that enjoyable experience.
Infamous: First Light wound up reinforcing the negative opinion I had of the larger game, but it allowed me to come to that conclusion at a fairly low price. It’s like a much better version of the traditional demo, painting a picture of what’s in store while providing me with something that’s enjoyable in its own right.
I don’t love all DLC, but this is one trend I’m fully on board with. In fact, I’d love to see standalone DLC become even more demo-like in the future. I’d kill for, say, a Red Dead Redemption standalone to tide me over until the sequel inevitably rears its head.