September 10th, 2009

Me and DogmeatAlthough I purchased Fallout 3 when it first released in October of 2008, I made up my mind that I would wait until two conditions had been met before playing. First, I wanted to wait for the first three official add-ons to be released. Second, I wanted to play using a mature version of the DarNified UI, a Fallout 3 PC mod (of which there is also a version for Oblivion) that overhauls the game’s interface (HUD, Pip-Boy, etc.) to look and feel as if they were designed for PC controls and displays. I finally began playing in May of 2009, when both conditions had been met. I’ve since logged just over 56 hours of play; the main quest and a slew of side quests are now completed, and I have impressions and experiences to share.
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March 20th, 2009

Earlier this week, Valve announced that their digital distribution platform Steam would now be offering the ability to push “DLC” (Downloadable Content – a marketing term made to refer to microtransactions on consoles) to those who publish their games on Steam. This news has so far been met with reactions ranging from “good for you, PC” to customer outrage on the Steam forums. I am finding myself to be somewhere in between, but I’m leaning towards the belief that “DLC” on the PC is a bad thing for everyone involved. I’ll share with you my reactions as a consumer, as a business student, and also as a person who writes about games.

The Problem With The Maw

With The Maw’s “DLC” (two “bonus” levels), I went from thinking “that’s neat” to realizing the implications. I knew the maps were available and ready by the time the PC version released because they were available for purchase on my Xbox 360 before the game even came out. That means they were held back with the intent to sell them later as “bonus content”. This immediately diminished the value of the product that I had already purchased. I felt like I was not getting the full experience out of The Maw if I didn’t pay $2.50 for these extra levels. But I hadn’t even launched the game yet despite having pre-purchased it, knowing that if it’s good I’d be writing about it here at DoSu as a Cheap Game. But I hadn’t played it yet, so I was not attached to it. I found myself with no desire to play it. So I requested a refund. After jumping through some hoops, I received my refund. I no longer own The Maw — I probably never will again. Since that means I’ll never get to play it, The Maw will not be recommended by me here as a Cheap Game.
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October 8th, 2008

A game can turn out to be a failure for any number of reasons. Maybe a game is like Beyond Good & Evil where it gets lost in the shuffle of bigger releases for years before being properly appreciated. Maybe you’re a developer who’s too close to his game to recognize fundamental flaws in certain aspects of its design, as was reportedly the case with Lair. Or maybe you’re like today’s cheap game, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and you just got a bad rap.

Originally released by Ubisoft in October of 2006 and developed by Arkane Studios, Dark Messiah didn’t have the luxury of blaming its less-than-stellar reception on other, more hyped games coming out along side it. 2006 wasn’t bad for games, but I don’t think Splinter Cell: Double Agent or Marvel Ultimate Alliance were what kept people from playing Dark Messiah at the end of October. No, Dark Messiah’s failing was primarily due to little more than a buggy launch that earned it a bad reputation. Alas, even the demo was plagued by bugs, so the game was leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths before it was even released. Despite what must have been a very frustrating launch for Ubisoft, DMMM has since been patched up quite nicely as well as had some hefty price reductions.
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