Expanding the Content

Downloadable Content is a pretty dirty phrase around most gamers these days.

Personally I’m mostly in support of it depending on which developer is handling it. I’ve never had a complaint about the DLC offered by Bethesda in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (the latter I actually purchased individually often at full price). Even the DLC in Borderlands 2 which I felt was getting borderline ludicrous in the end (minus character skins) but was still oddly great value for money. The later Headhunter DLC, while short, and often just an introduction to a seasonal boss, was even worth the price of admission.

However, I’ve always had an issue with EA and how they have handled DLC in many of their titles. Especially since the incident with Dragon Age: Origins about six-eight months after it came out where I could speak to an NPC in camp, but, should I wish to actually do the quest, I’d be prompted to spend even more money on their title.

Thankfully I never bought those individually and instead bought the Ultimate Edition several years later.

All of that said, I’m actually glad there’s a more fluid model for delivering content these days. Prior to the introduction of DLC you would need to buy expansion packs often at near enough the same price as the base game. In some cases, as I’ve noticed with Blizzard titles, that is still the way they operate. Even though you would arguably get most the expansion pack content via free patches to the base game. But, what I think of Blizzard, and whether I agree with their DLC/expansion packs, is neither here nor there.

What is everywhere is the fact that I’ve come to realise something recently with a couple of the releases this year.

I was really late to the Fallout 3 party picking it up in 2009. At the time I purchased it the Game of the Year edition had just been released, and, having no idea what that was or that I’d later spend hundreds of hours with it, I just got the base game. Again, with Fallout: New Vegas I got the base game in 2010 and collectively bought all the DLC together in 2012. I started with the Game of the Year edition with Borderlands and many of the titles since (if old enough) I’ll have complete editions for as first purchases.

With the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Fallout 4 this isn’t the case. As both have been released within the last six months and there’s only one DLC available (for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt) in the form of Hearts of Stone. Which I don’t own yet. Mostly for the realisation I’ve just explained above. I’m also not sure how The Witcher DLC usually works (in terms of value for money).

Knowing I will more than likely love whatever Bethesda chooses to add to Fallout 4 (unless it’s another Dead Money) the question now remains whether I want to purchase them and play them as they release, or, do a Fallout: New Vegas, and play them all together. Fallout 4 does operate slightly differently in that you seem to get dug deep into the character the higher levelled you get. Whereas in Fallout 3 you could find/use weapons and armour to accelerate through the game- I don’t know if that’s possible in Fallout 4.

In either case, it’s going to be interesting figuring that one out. I’m not usually one to take fully established characters back through the game several months later.

Have a nice week, all!



Taking the Longest Way Around

I’ve spent a long while roaming the vast world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and have collected some thoughts.

The world itself is a lively, beautiful, and very immersive place.¬†Towns feel as if they’re actually alive with the day to day routine of the inhabitants, the wilderness feels as though it is a dangerous and untamed place, the roads are littered with highwaymen, and every nook and cranny in the world is filled with delightful points of interest. There are changes to be made- big and small- which determine (and shape) the world around you. There’s a lot of freedom to be enjoyed and there’s a whole heap of things to do.

However, I do feel, as you progress through the main quest, you’re taking the longest way around every possible task in front of you.

We’ve all played those RPGs where the fate of the world depends on this one very time specific action that is of the utmost importance… right after you collect five clumps of wolf fur. It seems a bit silly, but, generally, these are confined to the opening few hours of the game. Where (more often than not) you’re going through a tutorial and learning the ropes of the game as you do.

One thing that I have found disappointing about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt so far is that this is a trend that never goes away. In fact, in some later areas, it only gets worse by offering you quests which serve no purpose other than to serve no purpose. Minor spoiler- when looking for a certain character later in the story you are tasked with talking to several people. At the end of this long chain of dialogue and questing you learn absolutely nothing of use. I believe purposefully so. Which, to be honest, really frustrated me as it didn’t feel at all necessary nor relevant.

While it may not be of this world- it sure is beautiful!

Equally, several of the main quests you go on in the course of the first half of the game feel very… pointless.

Most information you receive, if any, doesn’t really help you at all, while it’s often hidden behind another series of quests. As in, you’ll go to a specific person who has information you want/need, they’ll give you said information if you do a few hours of quests, which repeats almost every time you speak to someone about the main quest. To the point where, at the time the story begins to pick up, and you’re steps away from the goal you’ve been working toward- you are tasked again with finding three random people. It doesn’t really help the story immersion at all as you start to really enjoy it and you’re forced into another unnecessary quest loop.

While it certainly adds longevity to the main story it does grind on you after a while. Especially considering you can’t skip any of the quest parts where there’s a choice of three different follow up quests, as, eventually, you’ll have to do all of them to push that block of story forward. Which feels really odd to me when you consider this is an open world setting.

I don’t know how to describe it. But, while I enjoy the game, and enjoy the improved (and more complicated) combat, there is something about the quests that I don’t enjoy. At all. To the point where it has become all too predictable that nothing can be solved in two quests or less. Which, considering the whole main story is somewhat time sensitive, doesn’t really fit the sense of urgency portrayed at the start.

Have a nice weekend, all!