I’m never quite sure how to feel about scattered little DLC packs as opposed to monolithic expansions; I always get the feeling I’m paying more money for less content. Then again, expansion packs like Warcraft III‘s TheFrozen Throne are ultimately more valuable than the base game, making the total infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe expansions have just been underpriced all along?
Either way, I laid down my wonga for all the Mass Effect 3 story DLC packs. Last timeFrom Ashes was good and Omega was unremarkable — so let’s see what I have to say about the other two packs, Leviathan and Citadel…
Yep, I splurged on all the story DLC for Mass Effect 3. No horse armour, just companions and mission packs here. Having said that, all four cost me a total just shy of what I paid for the whole game on release day… And all these packs are from 2012.
Digital economies suck.
My self-restraint sucks too. Herein lies a report on the first two packs, From Ashes and Omega.
They always say “never meet your heroes”, but I get the impression they should also say “never attempt to rebuild your heroes” because it invariably doesn’t work. I might gripe about bits and pieces ofSkyrim but overall I enjoy it, though after 50-odd hours it gets a bit samey. The answer to such saminess? Why, an expansion pack!
The Dragonborn DLC is more than a year old now, but fuelled by a desire for just a bit more variety and not yet ready to drop this unhealthy but oh-so-addictive game, I was enticed to pick up this pack because it’s set on Solstheim, that same snowy place first brought to us in the Morrowind expansion pack Bloodmoon. A pack of which I enjoyed many elements, sure, though (guess what?) I found the frigid landscape just a teensy bit monotonous.
Oh well, that’s what disposable income is for. Let’s see if a little bit of mechanically-recovered Morrrowind magic can liven up the drab chill of Skyrim…
These days, the final boss is never the end of the line. If it’s not a hilariously blatant multi-sequel hook, it’s a post-game side quest that can only be completed in co-op with four level 50 characters. (I’ll never be able to finish that, you bastards.)
Life just wouldn’t be worth living with expansion packs. Except now expansion packs are, instead of monolithic brain-meltingly brilliant additions like Age of Empires II‘s The Conquerors or Warcraft III‘s The Frozen Throne, little bite-sized portion-controlled microtransacted chunks. (Not convinced that the sum total of the bonus content here is as big or strong as either of those, but at the time it probably sold for as much, if not more.)
Which is the main reason I wait for GOTYEs these days. No fuss, just a disc full of everything. Buying a complete game — fancy that!
So now it’s time to delve into Dishonored‘s extra appendages.
So Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty was a fabulous non-starter, a bit of a “damp squib” as they say in the business. They promised a thirty-mission epic story, and instead we got a slightly-above-standard fifteenish-mission main story with a huge pile of fairly disposable side quests. It’s pretty and plays fairly well, but seems somehow unsatisfying.
Even so, I’ve been suckered into purchasing the expansion pack Heart of the Swarm because I hate to leave a narrative unfinished (no matter how questionable its quality may be). So let’s see where this takes us…
Expansion packs, DLC, call them what you will — these slabs of additional content can as often hamper a game as enhance it. Take the brutal assassins of Morrowind‘s Tribunal expansion, who will attack a hopeless level one adventurer the first time he sleeps under the moon and stars. Take the hideously difficult bonus dungeons of Baldur’s Gate‘s Tales of the Sword Coast, which a party of The Friendly Arm’s finest can barely touch until they’re at the base game’s level cap of 7.
So Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition came with four mission packs. Herein lie some of the thoughts these triggered in me…