Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
22 September 2008
Mega Man 9: DLC done right?
Many games have been ruined by greedy DLC schemes. Space Invaders Get Even must be purchased in installments, with the main game being called a "starter pack" with only a single level, and each additional level pack the same price as the original. Katamari Damacy lost all its charm when players were asked to pay real money to unlock levels already on the disk.

Square-Enix's My Life As A King is the most expensive WiiWare game to date at 1,500 Wii Points (that's $15 in real money), but once purchased the game then sells an array of extras that will set back a player wanting a complete game $22 additional dollars. That's $37 for a download game. No matter what kind of smokescreen Squeenix floats about the base price being for the "complete" game, you only get one of the four player races without buying extras, you miss out on several buildings, and around half the game's dungeons will be unavailable.

Mega Man 9, released today for Wii, itself is 1,000 Wii points (and a svelte 66 memory blocks), which is middle-of-the-road as far as WiiWare downloadable game costs have gone. It has a download store that's currently empty, but going into the Operations Guide provides a list of all the content to be made available, including release dates and prices.

Five pieces of DLC appear to be in the offing, with the most expensive being an interesting-sounding game mode called "Endless Attack," an internet-ranked eternal stage with score determined by progress made. That's 300 "Wii points," basically three bucks. The other stuff available are "Hero" and "Superhero" modes, both only one dollar, which are modified enemy placements that make the game more challenging, play as Proto Man (a.k.a. "Blues") for two dollars, who has different abilities and a shield, and a time-attack-only "Special Stage", a completely new level and boss, for one dollar.

It's my opinion that Capcom is doing things right, as far as they can be right with DLC, and here's why:
  • The basic game doesn't change at all. All of the content is in the form of extra modes. Even the game's challenges are turned off during all DLC modes. Thus one doesn't get the feeling that, to play the "real" game, one has to shell out additional moolah. Are you listening, Square-Enix?
  • Yet, they all affect the game. The money for Chime's bikini in My Life As A King is basically a dollar for the right to apply a new texture to your assistant's lithe body. Playable Proto-Man, on the other hand, is promised to have a shield and other different abilities, making the game substantially different.
  • They are reasonably-priced. All together they'll be $8, less than the original price. If you add it all together the game is $18. (This may upset me less than it would if I hadn't suspected the game would be $15 this afternoon, instead of $10.)
If this seems like a lot of things DLC must do in order to not be considered evil, I make no apology. Most DLC that isn't just extra songs in a music game is a bad idea, one that can only increase the antipathy gamers feel towards developers, but Mega Man 9 at least proves it doesn't have to be evil. The jury is still out on whether it can be good.

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--John Harris at 15:37
Comment [ 2 ]

Comments on this post:

Yet, they all affect the game. The money for Chime's bikini in My Life As A King is basically a dollar for the right to apply a new texture to your assistant's lithe body.

Obviously we still have some work to do coming up with a definition of "gameplay" we can all use and enjoy.

By Blogger ruffin, at 22 September, 2008 19:33  

You got the quote out of context. The point is that the costume in MLAAK does NOT affect the game, but playable Proto-Man does.

By Blogger JohnH, at 23 September, 2008 04:21  

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