I don’t get it, 2K Games and Gearbox Software.
I spent $60 on your Game of the Year Edition of Borderlands for the PlayStation 3. I was happy to double-dip on Borderlands, given how much I enjoyed it on the Xbox 360. In fact, according to my Raptr data, I spent 55 hours playing it. I was looking forward to playing it again on my PlayStation 3, with all of the DLC this time. I was a little concerned when I opened the case and saw a DLC voucher inside; after all, a Blu-ray disc has a ton of room… so including the extra 4.41GB of DLC on the disc should not have been a problem. Still, I was fine with letting the download go while I slept overnight.
After going to the PlayStation Store and entering the voucher code, I was surprised to find that it didn’t work. I grumbled, and tried again. Same result. After a brief Twitter exchange, I decided to let things go until morning, figuring that very few people bought the game at midnight and that things would be fine later.
Now it’s past noontime here, and the code still does not work… and I am justifiably angry.Even though the problem now looks like an issue on the PlayStation Store side of the house, since I see that others are having the same issue, I hold 2K and Gearbox responsible. What good reason is there to not have the DLC on the same disc? There isn’t one. It’s meant to dissuade trade-ins or buying used. Instead of having all of the content available on physical media, give a one time use code (that may or may not work) and let the consumer take the 4.41GB hit on his or her bandwidth cap. Buying the game used simply means that you are buying the same game that’s been out there used for nearly a year but with different artwork.
I understand that, if this situation resolves itself, there’s still a $10 savings buying the GOTY version of Borderlands for $60 versus buying the standalone game for $30 and the four DLC add-ons for $10 apiece. I don’t get, however, why some GOTY versions of games (like Oblivion for example) have the DLC content included within physical media for immediate installation while others resort to Voucher Roulette. I bought this game new, and yet have to jump through hoops to access the content that I paid for. What’s worse is that half of the paid content is digitally distributed, which will require at least an hour of time to download and install. All of the Borderlands GOTY content, between the PS3 mandatory installation and the DLC, consumes a whopping 7.11GB of hard drive space. I’m not sure that I see the value of the this package when all is said and done. I’m now soured on the experience, have to wait for a resolution, still have to devote the time to download and install the DLC, and saved a grand total of $10 versus buying a la carte. If I could return the game, I would… but because it’s a problem with the DLC and not the game, I’m stuck with it.
Publishers and developers need to stop catching consumers in the crossfire when it comes to their War on Used Games and the battle with resellers. Had they not been fighting this war, I’m willing to bet that the content would have been on a disc instead of via a 12-character code that’s still worthless 12 hours after buying the game and removing the seal. I did nothing wrong. I spent money on your game and bought it new… and yet I am treated to this experience?
Tell me why I shouldn’t have just bought Borderlands used, and then bought the DLC that I wanted for it.
There isn’t a good reason why, other than wanting to make even more money on assets that have been around for some time already– which you would have gotten from me when I bought the DLC. Instead, I played by the industry’s rules and got burned in the process. I don’t want to hear arguments about who is at fault. I don’t want to hear how “stuff happens” and that the situation will be fixed. If I buy a game at the full $60 price tag that the industry seems to think it deserves for providing us with such fantastic entertainment, then I expect to have access to what I have paid for.
I shudder to think what Sony has done with its Uncharted 2 Game of the Year package. How much of that will be voucher-only? Will they work?
I’m pretty much done with GOTY packages after this mess, personally… and my distaste for this console generation and the industry’s blatent lack of regard and respect for its consumers continues to grow. It’s appalling.
Initial reviews of Capcom’s Lost Planet 2 are beginning to surface now, and I’ve noticed a common denominator in reading them: Co-op play is good to great, while the single-player campaign leaves something to be desired. This isn’t the first Capcom game that has made co-op play a priority– Resident Evil 5 forced players to have a CPU-controlled partner as the game was really meant to be a co-op experience.
More and more games these days are trying to capitalize on the social aspects of gaming by encouraging cooperatirve and/or competitive multiplayer modes of play. I really don’t have much of a problem with this, since online gaming means that there are literally millions of potential partners or opponents out there to play with (or agaiinst). It’s more convenient than having a house full of friends over sometimes, ahd not having to play these games in a split-screen capacity is easier than squinting and asking yourself where the hell you are on the playing field.
Where I’m having a problem with the exploding multiplayer trend is that games like Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2 are trying to force me to play in a certain way– with a partner or partners. Sure, you can play by yourself, but success is predicated on the AI subroutines of your computer-controlled partner… and in a solo game, I don’t like having to rely on someone else. The idea of a solo game is to play solo. This is not a difficult concept to grasp, and we’ve been playing games like that for decades. Games that have tried the forced co-op thing, like Secret of Mana, for example, can get frustrating when your computer-controlled partner(s) decide to get stuck in an obstacle and you’re forced to go either go back and try to get them to follow you or you have to plug in a second controller and move them closer yourself. Naturally, if you want to play with a friend, this problem doesn’t come up– but again, that’s not a solo experience, is it?
There’s no denying that online (and local) multiplayer has been a big focus and has almost become a necessary addition to today’s games. Uncharted and Bioshock, two wildly successful solo games, added multiplayer modes to their respective sequels. The multiplayer modes never interfered with the quality of the solo campaigns, however. Uncharted 2 and Bioshock 2 both still delivered excellent single-player adventures, and the multiplayer modes complemented and added replay value to each. The Call of Duty / Modern Warfare games are other examples of this; each game contains at least a decent solo campaign as well as excellent multiplayer functionality.The point here is that you can play all of these how you want to: solo, cooperatively, or competitively. There’s nothing forced about these experiences.
No matter how good Resident Evil 5 was, or how good Lost Planet 2 may or may not ultimately be, I refuse to buy them. I won’t play them. Capcom has completely removed me from the equation by literally forcing me to play a certain way. These are two cases of an industry that is trying to tell me, the consumer, how I want to play games. It doesn’t matter if I prefer solo games, because co-op play is the wave of the future. Evolve or die… that sort of thing. What the industry is forgetting, at least in the case of this one relic of a video game player, is that I still ultimately make the decision of whether to buy their games or not. I’m the one that contributes to their bottom line. What I think should matter for something… and I have a suspicion that I am not alone with this line of thinking.
Don’t tell me how to play. Don’t tell me that I want 3D gaming, or that I want to waggle around like a moron and work up a sweat while I’m trying to relax. Don’t tell me that traditional play controls and solo gaming are things of the past and are no longer what people want. I know what I want, and it’s none of these things. I refuse to evolve to the point of spending my limited disposable income on these trends of the future, because there’s no reason or precedent for it.
The video game industry has not only stopped listening to its consumer base, but it simply doesn’t care anymore. The industry thinks for us. They think that we’re all hopelessly hooked on their products and that we’ll buy whatever they throw out there in front of us, because video games are super-popular now. They now tell us what we want to play and should be playing. It’s all about them and no longer about us, despite the fact that we’re the ones paying for the privilege to play their games. Hell, we don’t even buy games anymore. We buy licenses. We don’t need instruction manuals, because nobody reads them. We should understand that used games are an indirect form of piracy. We should realize that DLC is for our benefit, rather than merely a secondary source of revenue and a way to charge even more money for already-overpriced games. We know that, even though we’re buying hardware that’s got a higher error rate than in any other console generation in history, we’re just going to buy replacements.
The list just keeps growing, much like how game prices keep creeping up. Having opinions like these likely makes me sound like an old relic, like that Atari VCS in your parents’ basement. I sound negative, and I don’t really like that. I do enjoy video games now as much as I did over 30 years ago. I guess I’m just angry that we’ve gone from a time when the gaming industry seemed eager to attract new gamers to the current time where the industry just assumes that we’re going to accept and like all of these changes that they assume are necessary. Why not build on the foundations that have already been in place instead of completely changing things?
Evolve or die, indeed. Perhaps, as a video game player, I am at a crossroads. I can’t help but to wonder if I’m not alone here.
This entry is not about the movie, despite the fact that it boasts two solid actors and an intriguing storyline. Instead, I’m talking about solo gaming– as in playing by yourself.
It seems to have been decided by publishers and developers alike that gamers today don’t play games alone. What fun is that? With the omnipresence of online play, it’s easy to find someone to play with (or against) and make the game more fun. We’re seeing multiplayer modes being added to sequels of games that were incredible for solo gamers. This year alone, we’ve already seen Resident Evil 5 force you to play with someone else as a teammate– even if that teammate is rather stupidly controlled by the AI. We’ve seen announcements that sequels to Uncharted and Bioshock are both getting multiplayer modes of some sort. Adding to the trend, EA has been sending feelers out to see how multiplayer should be implemented in the upcoming sequel to Dead Space.
Can someone please tell me why this console generation seems content to shove multiplayer down everyone’s throats? Seriously.
Bioshock was an incredible single-player experience. Exploring Rapture and experiencing the twists and turns in the plot alone suited the game perfectly. There was no need to add a deathmatch mode pitting Big Daddies against Splicers. Uncharted was what an Indiana Jones video game should have been, and the experience was just fine playing solely as Nathan Drake. Dead Space was all about tension as you, as Isaac, faced the alien threat alone. Even the Resident Evil games– before RE5– were widely accepted as single-player adventures.
We’ve seen this trend creeping up on us for some time now. Look at the inclusion of multiplayer modes in the Castlevania games for the DS, for example. Castlevania games were never geared towards the multiplayer experience. It was about a single protagonist (a Belmont or otherwise) who made his (or her) way through a journey and an inevitable climax with Dracula. Sure, the story settings and circumstances changed from game to game, but there was never a need to include a second player to work together to conquer the castle– or to compete to see who gets a shot at The Count. I grant that multiplayer functionality has only come into play during the Boss Rush modes, but I just don’t understand why it’s there at all. You want competition? Get the best time through Boss Rush and submit it to a leaderboard. Don’t taint the experience with another player.
Details about the multiplayer functionalities for Uncharted 2 and Bioshock 2 are still unknown, but I sincerely hope that the inclusion of multiplayer modes in these games has not taken away from the resources, time, and space needed to craft even better solo experiences than in both original games. If I have to get someone else to play as Nathan’s new love interest or Sully in Uncharted 2 in order to advance the story– or worse, if I have to let the computer control the other character, leading to frustration akin to Resident Evil 5– then I’m going to be angry beyond belief. If 2K Marin decides that the next trip to Rapture is full-blown co-op between you as a Big Daddy and someone else controlling a Little Sister in Bioshock 2, then I’m not buying it.
Mutliplayer functionality alone does not sell more copies of a game; instead, it’s a combination of factors, ranging from marketing to playability to aesthetics. Unfortunately, this new focus on multiplayer is another misstep in a comedy of errors that will forever be linked to this console generation. High prices for hardware and software, fleecing of consumers by withholding content to sell later via a paid download, rampant hardware issues with the Xbox 360, Nintendo’s apparent rebuke of its core audience, Sony’s decision to sell the PS3 at an exorbitant amount just to make Blu-Ray dominant over HD-DVD, and more can all be linked to this current generation of gaming… and despite some great games, this generation really has been one giant step backwards for the industry and its relationship with its consumer base.