Apr 26, 2012

Don't buy DLC, buy GOTY or nothing

This is a message for video games companies, "don’t expect me buying any DLC", I am not a big fan of the hype of new releases, generally in all circumstances, but in video games world we know that companies release games with a very adjusted development dates, so we often see that some new releases lack some stability, or if you prefer they are plagued with bugs due to low testing time.
In this console generation, with the help of online marketplaces, has appeared the, so hated by some, DLC (Downloadable Content), some are free and some of payment, which adds an extra profit for these companies and distributors (owners of marketplaces).

A decade ago there were expansion packs that added extra content, some were even developed by other companies, so the original developers only may get some income by royalties.
There has been much controversy with those DLCs, much of them are unnecessary but some, even being of low quality put a real ending to a game or saga, like Mass Effect. You can say these are "evil" practices and it’s probably true, the real problem is that those DLCs are probably developed at the same time as the game and probably could be in the final release.

We know that companies center their efforts in new releases and not in maintaining released projects as those, even the effort you put in it, will not generate much income. So what’s the main problem? In the end it's the cost associated to customer support.

In the side picture you can see how the DLC would be if it were applied to culture, for example the Mona Lisa, we should have to pay some more to see it completely.



What is a GOTY Edition?

With the DLC boom and also the boom of market segmentation, giving us a variety of editions of game release, from the standard to a collector's edition with some extras, has started appearing the so called GOTY (Game of the year) editions.

These editions are late re-releases of games where they take the original game plus all the patches and all the DLCs that has been released, and, sometimes, and probably this game will have a reduced cost in comparison with new releases. In major games, you could expect a GOTY version for sure, unless the game was not successful enough.

So why not wait for the GOTY edition of this major releases? The answer is simple: the release hype. This hype that Apple executes with mastery, and Google may be trying with its Nexus 4, means that a lot of players will be online for games with online game, but if you wait a year or two for the GOTY version the game probably won't even be able to be played online.

Below we can see a survey of gamers of the reasons why they did not buy DLCs, it surprises me that the main reason is privacy, I would say that my main reasons are that they are expensive due to the low quality of most of them, and most of all that they are trick to juice a few extra bucks from us.


DLC Quest: A parody of how games could end being

Recently I played the indie game DLC Quest, the game parodies to the limit the DLC abuse, it's a simple 2D platformer with a good doses of humor, fun enough for someone critic with this DLC problematic.

The game starts with limited options you can not even go left until you buy an "ingame DLC" to be able to move left, at least you don't have to spend an extra penny, it works with the coins you found on the game.

The game is short as I always defend that they should be, even shorter than I expected, but a nice game to spend a small time, if I remember correctly I even not spend more than an hour playing it, but it was a good time, remember that time is money so we should know beforehand were are we investing our time.

If you think about it, there are more free-to-play games out there and many of them yet do not abuse the playing techniques but we will see how it ends in the incoming years and the next generation of consoles where free-to-play games seem to be a tendency.

In this video you can see a playthrough of the game, if you want to play you better not see it!





Do you feel the same about DLC and GOTY? Did you buy any DLC in the last year? Please leave your opinion in the comments section, thanks!
This post was published first at Put in your basket, 7:04 PM

Apr 12, 2012

Fallout 4: The problems to overcome and what should we expect


[Updated on 2015-07-23]
The last E3 Fallout 4 was announced and with the demo videos won back all the Fallout fan base and emerged as 2015's E3 winner. All the conferences gave us enough material to speculate and even write the first Fallout 4 pre-release review, we are expecting for the 10th of November when Fallout 4 will be released and it can be reserved already.

[Updated on 2014-09-15]
Recently I started playing Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition, as a fan of GOTY Editions, and also saw information about Obsidian in problems due to a contract clause with Bethesda that depended on Metacritic score to get an important cash bonus.

I am sorry to hear a company, that was responsible for great games, being in problems for such a nimble decision as to depend on a subjective measure as it is a review. This hub can be seen as a measure of support Obsidian but also I want to be critic with the new Fallout games and also give some ideas to improve the new chapters in the saga.

As I was playing New Vegas I got a sensation similar to when as a teenager was playing Fallout 2, I thought back then that it was the same game as Fallout but the detail was much improved it was a mature game with much more to do than the original Fallout. The problem with Fallout New Vegas is the lack of possibilities to change the Fallout 3 original game-play, as many of the problems that I will expose can be also applied to Fallout 3.


Problems in the last chapters of the saga

Today as a fan of the series I want to enumerate some of the problems I found on the last two episodes, some of them are problems in all RPG, but I will try to center on these two games: Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

1.- Full world: My first impression was it was a great idea, but as the time passed playing found out that these decision involved many problems. The most important is there's a sensation of emptiness of people in the cities and towns. We can compare GTA games which also has an open world and we can see that there is a lot of population. Of course, wastelands should not have much population, but settlements should have a high population density. Also, as we may see in games like GTA, there is a low attention to detail as most of it feels the same as it's impossible to not repeat anything in a large game space, so after playing for some hours you feel the sensation of seeing the same models for people, for buildings, trees or rocks.

2.- NPC: With the people you found on the game I found a major problem, is that it seems that they're expecting only to interact with the player, how can be that in a town store only the player goes in. There's some interaction between NPC but it doesn't feel real at all, the bar at night should be full of people and empty at day, at least some shops close at night. In the previous Fallout games it seemed that NPC had a more elaborated pattern of behavior.

3.- Gameplay: Too centered in combat, sometimes it's inevitable, if I wanted to have a character with low combat skills I will probably be dead really soon.

4.- Gameplay: Also too centered in exploration, addictive at first but insubstantial, you spend most of the time walking through the wasteland exploring areas that are marked on your radar, many of them does not have any quest associated, just are a simple amusement, to made the game more lengthy with more areas to explore but as stated on point 1 the lack of variety makes it repetitive.

5.- Inventory: There is a low realism in inventory even in hardcore mode, where are the items stored? You don't even have a backpack, I am just asking for some realism at least in the game models, at least for weapons, how can a rifle be hanged on your back without anything to hold it. Probably the game engine was not able to support such level of detail.



Ideas for Bethesda

How can Bethesda can solve this problems or at least what I'd like to see:
- Weapon construction and modding to the extreme: We should be able to repair, disassemble and build weapons from scratch, also build melee weapons or use almost anything at hands.

- Detailed zones: Focus in important zones and add fast traveling with random encounters at the style of Fallout 1 & 2, some of you may think that this is a big step back but developers could center their efforts in building a much more detailed areas. Also for fast traveling we should be able to recover our vehicle from Fallout 2 and add motorbikes or other vehicles.

- NPC actions and living cities: This is the easiest to solve, add more NPC which can't be interacted to the cities, also they should add more routines to make those settlements more realistic. This could be easily done if they use the last idea of detailed zone.

Conclusions

I am mostly critic with Fallout 3 and New Vegas, probably because I am a big fan of Fallout 1 & 2, maybe the fact of playing them when I was a teenager made me idolize them as they made me change my perception of a computer role-playing game.


First of all I expect that they build a better engine, that can be expanded with new modules or modify current one, that way if Obsidian has to make another spin-off they can can change mostly as they please. Also they should have in mind that a new generation of consoles is on the way so they may be having in mind to do a game that can use all the capabilities of these new consoles or even to juice at maximum, as some games are already doing, the current generation.

We also should be checking the Project V13 game, a game from the re-founded Black Isle Studios, creator of the original Fallout games and Baldur's Gate, that after a legal dispute with Bethesda, are crowdfunding to re-implement the game without Fallout references and converting what should have been an online RPG in a strategy RPG, in a movement similar to X-COM made last year, which by the way is a great game.

As a final line, It seems that some rumours about a Fallout 4 are starting to rise, like they may be set in the Boston area and that Three Dog may appear again. We should be listening about news this year as the next E3 is approaching.
This post was published first at Put in your basket, 7:01 AM