“this game is going to be sold to us piecemeal over the next 8 months” (Rich Evans 2015)(written 15 May 2017)
Let me start off by saying I’m not an avid gamer. I used to be but around the same time I first discovered girls were attractive my interest waned.
Nowadays I play a game every now and then. For context, in the past year all I’ve played has been: Dark Souls 3, Final Fantasy XV, GTA 5 and Battlefield 4. Oh and WWE 2K17, can’t forget that. So, I’m not really a gamer nor do I follow the gaming industry.
My friends still play the latest games so I hear things from them. Call of Duty isn’t very good anymore and the new Mass Effect is a bit of a let-down apparently.
But Injustice 2 has me genuinely excited. I feel like a wee boy again watching the trailers for characters as they’re released. I played the previous game and enjoyed it greatly. It wasn’t a perfect game but it had everything I wanted. I like DC and I liked Mortal Kombat as a young kid. Fantastic. I got it as a gift long after it had first been released, so I had the ‘Ultimate Edition’ or whatever it was called. This meant I had all the DLC from the moment I started. In other words, I got the full game.
Now Injustice 2 looks like an improvement over the predecessor. There’s some neat characters here again. I can finally play as Swamp Thing in a video game, which is still baffling. The leaning towards Batman characters is present again but that’s to be expected. Besides Scarecrow looks cool.
I have faith in the story. I found the plot of the last game adequate but many loved it. I know there was a fairly successful comic spin off. I heard a lot of good things about that series but never got around to reading it.
I was originally apprehensive about the new gear system when I first read about it. If ever there was a genre that didn’t need a gear system it was fighting games. But after watching a few gameplay demos I have a bit of an understanding of how it’ll work. I doubt it’ll kick off much but the ability to change costumes to make new characters is probably how I’ll use it.
380 words in and here’s my problem. It’s not a full game. One could argue that the game has more than enough content at launch to be called complete. That’s fine. I’m happy with that. My issue is that they’ve already started announcing DLC before the game’s released. Therefore, they’ve already made the content, they’re just teasing players to pay extra.
“this game is going to be sold to us piecemeal over the next 8 months” (Rich Evans on Batman: Arkham Knight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef_ZI7tftZE)
I’m not against DLC. Sometimes it can add some extra hours to an already great game. Sometimes it can offer small aesthetic changes to an already great game. But then there’s times like this where the publishers are asking the players to pay extra up front to play what’s already developed. Taking a look at the Injustice website shows a link to urge players to pre-order the game to gain access to Darkseid.
If I have to pre-order a game to play as a character who is clearly already on the disk then I have an issue. Darkseid especially is one of those characters people want to play as. The gameplay demos show how versatile he can be. He even makes use of the gear system well.
That’s one thing that annoys me but I know if I wait Darkseid will probably end up with the game anyway. I’ve never once pre-ordered a WWE game yet I always end up with whatever ‘pre-order bonus’ character is included. (I want to add I’ve never bought a WWE game, they’re always gifts. Not that I’m complaining).
This leads me to the issue of the first DLC pack. Fighter Pack 1 advertises Starfire, Red Hood and Sub-Zero as playable characters. The game isn’t out yet. I’m sure they’ll all play well and be lots of fun but I don’t want to pay extra if I know they already exist. The worst part of the trailer is the final shot teases silhouettes of other possible DLC characters in the future. I hate it because the silhouettes are so recognisable. This is obviously on purpose, possibly to subvert player expectations. I hate it because I want it. I want to be able to play as these characters. I don’t want to pay extra monthly to do so.
But here comes the price. According to the site I can pre-order the regular game, the ‘Digital Deluxe Edition,’ or the ‘Ultimate Edition.’ How cool are those names? The regular pre-order gets me Darkseid. The Digital Edition gets me 3 characters, a premium skin and a gear shader pack. Presumably the 3 characters will be Starfire, Red Hood and Sub-Zero. The Digital Edition costs $79.99 on the Xbox Live store and £59.99 at Game in the UK. The base game only costs £44.99 on Game’s website so these characters and skins and ‘shader packs’ (whatever they are) cost £15.
Now let’s look at the Ultimate Edition. Coming in at a nice $99.99 on the Xbox Live Store and £89.99 on 365games.co.uk it’s a little outside my budget for a fun fighting game I’ll play in the evenings. For that price you’re getting 9 characters, 3 skins and 2 shader packs. From what I can tell there’s 28 characters in the base game so that’s almost a third of the game as extra DLC. It’s great that NetherRealm care for the game enough to continually add to it over the game’s lifespan but that price is just too much. Because we all know it’ll have a ‘complete with all the DLC’ edition released in around a year’s time at a fraction of the price.
My point is it’s hard to get hyped for something when you know it’s not complete. You wouldn’t buy a book knowing the final three chapters come out later. You wouldn’t go to the cinema to see a movie that has its final act released next year. Why should games be different? The beauty of games is the win state and the feeling of relief or accomplishment. Some of that feeling is negated when the player knows they can only accomplish so much until they’re hit with a paywall. Again you could argue that Injustice will still have a win state and it’s only additional characters to play with after you’ve completed the story, but for me, fighting games have always been about completing challenges to unlock things. When I was young I’d unlock characters and skins for achieving challenges. I didn’t pay for them.
I’m sure this argument has been made a hundred times before but this is the first time I’ve really responded to it since DC appeals to me so much. There’s also microtransactions in the game which is another issue entirely but they don’t appear to be game breaking.
So that’s my issue with Injustice 2.
(Deluxe and Ultimate Edition screenshots taken from Reddit user MikeH7186)