Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hyrule Warriors Reminds Us Why DLC is a Bunch of Rubbish

The above video is a great example of why I think DLC is such anti-consumer rubbish. I paid $60 for Hyrule Warriors on its release day. I decided to buy the game new and not wait to get it used because not only did I want to play it and form an opinion on it as a Zelda fan (and play it as soon as I could to avoid having the experience spoiled), but I also genuinely wanted to support the game for several reasons (for being a quirky, experimental Zelda spin-off, being able to play as non-Link characters like Zelda, and a large cast of playable female characters).

But seeing this makes me regret that decision a little bit, and think that perhaps this game did not deserve my commerce.

The game itself is ok. I just posted a lengthy review on the topic, so I won't waste too many words talking about my feelings on the game here, except to reiterate that as much I enjoyed the title at certain points, Hyrule Warriors feels like it's missing a lot and is definitely far from the comprehensive Zelda tribute that I thought it would be. I'm never one who measures the worth of an experience by the quantifiable amount of stuff in it, but if I feel that an experience is lacking in certain respects, than it certainly can be not worth its full price for me, and I do feel that Hyrule Warriors is lacking. The core Zelda series has seventeen titles in it (including the two Four Swords games), but Hyrule Warriors only chose three Zelda games to focus on: Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Most playable characters and several of the game's battlefields are derived from these games, as are two of the game's six boss monsters (three more are Zelda classics found in several games, and the remaining one is the final boss; although Dodongo actually has two models in the game, with one being based on his Ocarina of Time appearance). Playing as Zant and Ghirahim is great, but what about the other fourteen games, all of which are brimming with characters and unique worlds? Where's my journey to to Termina for a battle against the Skull Kid in Clock Town? How about some high seas pirate battles on the Great Sea? Or maybe we could shrink down for some Minish-sized battles? Can I play as Tingle? Marin? Malon? How about Veran and Onox who who fit in so well in this game (and easily could have replaced generics like Cia and Volga)? No? None of that? Ok...well I guess there's always a sequel.

But apparently Koei Tecmo and Nintendo had other plans besides a sequel before the game even launched in North America. No sooner did I get past the title screen of Hyrule Warriors on release day did I find a giant, obnoxious advertisement on the right side of the main menu for the "Hero of Hyrule" DLC pack, complete with the option to select it and be taken right to the eShop where I can apparently pre-order not one, not two, but four different DLC packs, all coming out within the next several months, all for the combined price of $20. You might be thinking that $20 for all this extra content is a good deal, except that, wait...didn't I just pay $60 for what I thought was a full, complete experience? And about that battle in Clock Town and those other characters like Skull Kid? Well, apparently there's a Majora's Mask pack on the way next year. Gee, I would've loved to have my personal favorite Zelda game already represented in the full-priced game I just bought.

It seems that Hyrule Warriors was hacked up into several different pieces, and the releases of its many pieces are being staggered over time and ensuring that the game's publishers are getting more and more of your money for content that should have been in the game to begin with. If the game wasn't quite finished, if they didn't have time to include this content in time for a launch, fine, it can be a free update later. But why do that when they can sell a mediocre $80 fan-service cash-in and get away with it? My $60 only got most of the Hyrule Warriors experience, but other key parts were cut up and are being sold separately.

I was already annoyed with all the obnoxious pre-order exclusives before the game's release. There was a bonus for every major video game retailer to get extra costumes. It's now more apparent than ever that Hyrule Warriors is (how did Yahtzee put it?) a giant "blatant marketing exercise" meant to get as much cash from Zelda and Nintendo fans as possible. And the first pack detailed in the video above is not even exciting or interesting DLC. $7.99 can get you: one new "weapon" (Epona is easily the only really compelling thing about this rip-off, but she should have been in the game to begin with), five new Legend Mode missions based on the generic non-Zelda characters that take place in the same maps that players of the game have already fought in hundreds of times, a new Adventure Mode map (which is also just another way to recycle the same content that's already in the game), and finally one new non-Zelda costume shared between, again, two of the non-Zelda characters. It also looks likes there's some lazy recolor costumes in there as well. Really? One lame costume, some lazy recolors, one new weapon, and some recycled content for nearly eight dollars? On the subject of costumes: multiple costumes are also something that should be in the full-priced game to begin with, especially re-colors. Just look at the new Super Smash Bros., that game isn't selling the Koopaling variants for Bowser Jr. separately or Little Mac's pink jogging outfit as DLC, and those are actual costumes. Hell, the Koopalings are more than just costumes, but wholly unique models. Just think about all the varied and unique content in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on day one for the same price as Hyrule Warriors. Now, I might learn to eat my words in the future when Nintendo does announce costumes as part of a future DLC pack for Smash Bros. I'd certainly be lying if I said I was happy with the way that the newest Smash game was handled, spreading it across two different versions so one must buy both if they want to experience all the content the two games have to offer (as well as Mewtwo, so far as we know right now). But as far as I can tell, purchasing the Wii U version will basically net players the full experience, minus the Smash Run mode, some stages, and a lot of trophies (and again, Mewtwo...). Smash 3DS was obviously conceived as a way to get more money, even if it may be a worthy game in its own right and even if handheld Smash Bros. is neat. Despite all this, I still think my earlier point about costumes in Smash Bros. shines a glaring spotlight on how greedy and anti-consumer Hyrule Warriors' DLC is.

Let's look at it this way: if one wanted to get every single piece of content for Hyrule Warriors, they'd have to buy the game three separate times at GameStop, Best Buy, and Amazon for all the pre-order bonus costumes (although these apparently will also be available later for a price on the eShop from what I've heard), then register the game on Club Nintendo for two more bonus costumes, then buy all of the DLC packs, most of which aren't even out yet and all of which won't be until March of next year. That is ridiculous. This game is not worth all that money and trouble.

If you plan on buying or have already bought the DLC for Hyrule Warriors, I'm not going to berate you, but please give it some thought and try not to simply jump on it as soon as you see Epona. At the very least, please don't defend it. I'm tired of seeing people defending greedy bullshit like this, saying it's "reasonably priced" and "DLC done right". Besides the fact that content like Epona and costumes should be there at the $60 launch, the Master Quest pack isn't even exciting DLC. Other Nintendo series joining Mario Kart is exciting, I admit, but Epona and some lazy costumes, plus a bunch of non-Zelda content for a Zelda tribute is not. After playing Hyrule Warriors for around 50 hours and finishing the Legend Mode as well as a substantial chunk of the missions in Adventure Mode, I think I can confidently say that these new missions probably won't offer much new. I'm sure the future packs that actually have exciting Zelda content in them like the aforementioned Majora's Mask pack will be less offensive, but for the very nature of their existence, still pretty offensive.

As for "doing DLC right", something like the Mario Kart 8 DLC that comes out today (and the other MK8 Animal Crossing-themed pack that is slated for May 2015) isn't terrible I guess, but the only truly proper way to do DLC right is to make it free; an extra; a bonus for people who already paid for and own the game, but nothing necessary and nothing that requires another $20, especially not so soon after I just paid full price for the game, and especially when this content was clearly planned for the purpose of wringing more money out of people after the game's release.

GameStop-exclusive Ocarina of Time Link is disgusted by Hyrule Warriors' DLC

No comments:

Post a Comment