Is $15 Too Much For Some Extra Play?
By Matthew White (Chtulu80)
Early last week on the Xbox Live service, a new map pack add on for Activisions wildly popular shooter “Call Of Duty: Black Ops” hit the marketplace. The price that was tacked onto it was, of course, 1200 Microsoft space bucks which translates to $15. Being that I like the game I hit the download now button and didn’t really think twice. It is my online shooter of choice, and probably the game that is getting the most play time right now on any of my consoles. This isn’t a question on is the map pack worth $15, but rather is any content on either the PlayStation Store or the Xbox Live Marketplace worth what is being charged?
There are many different ways to look at this. Let us take a look at single player content in some different areas. I have to weigh what the content does for me as a player(add new story plot, new weapons, etc..). If it is just something like in “Mass Effect 2” I really have to take into strong consideration. While pieces like “Lair of the Shadow Broker”, “Overlord”, and “Kasumi – Stolen Memory” are really worthwhile at their prices the other pieces really are not; granted that the other items are only weapons and armor packs and only $2 each, I do not see a need for them. I remember when I picked up the three pieces that I mentioned above for dirt cheap on an Xbox one day sale. It made me actually pick the game back up after not moving it from the shelf for months.
Now for multi-player content on the download services, that is a totally different monster. As with single player there are things to consider, do you still play said game? Is this content good enough for you to pick said game back up? How much will you use it? Most importantly is the game still fun for you and do you have friends that will play it with you? Now there are different types of add on content for multi-player games, its not just map packs. A few recent games that have done rather well with their add on content was “Red Dead Redemption” and “Borderlands”. While you can make a case that the DLC for “Borderlands” really isn’t completely multi-player, I believe that it can be counted as the game is all about drop-in co-op. With “Red Dead Redemption”, Most of it is either multi-player or at least co-op as well. The “Liars and Cheats” pack added multi-player gambling into the game. While “Red Dead Redemption” was not my type of game, “Borderlands” was a good romp back when I played online with my brother, making the “Borderlands” DLC more than worth it for me.
Map packs, love them or hate them, do add replay value to online shooters. The amount of value that they add can vary from game to game. Now the “Black Ops: First Strike” package is worth the cash to me. I play the game quite a bit and it has paid for itself more than once. Now how can one put value on something like this? I break it down financially and frequency, there are 4 new multi-player maps (I don’t play the zombie mode so I am not counting this for me) so that makes it even out to about $3.75 each. Now if I play each map 10 times, which I have more than done, it makes it less than $0.50 a play. I remember back in the arcade days when most games cost more than $0.50 a play. I figure I have more than gotten the value out of it, plus I own it to play as long as I want, so it would make sense that just in the next few weeks it will be pennies on the dollar per play. Now like the map pack for “Halo: Reach”, I did not pick up. I had played that game quite a bit when it came out but haven’t put it in the console for probably three months. In that case no matter what the price, that purchase would really not make sense for me.
There is one last category that I would like to cover. That is the “deal of the week” or sale variety. Both the PlayStation Store and Xbox Marketplace have deals that they run. The content changes weekly which is great. Sometimes you can pick up really great deals. As I previously mentioned, around Christmas time I picked up the “Overlord” and “Lair of the Shadow Broker” packages for “ME2” and I believe they cost $2.50 each. For me this made a lot of sense. I had been meaning to pick up both of these items. I just for one reason or another had not pulled the trigger on the purchase. I saw them for a cheap price and I picked them up with no questions asked. It is deals like this that can make a lot of decisions easier. Like for me for something at $8 or so I might question, but if that same content was offered for a sale price of $2 then its a no brainer, just pick it up.
I will recommend a few items that I have downloaded and enjoyed from the PlayStation Store and from Xbox Live Marketplace. Now I haven’t downloaded much paid software with the PlayStation 3 but the one thing that I have downloaded that I am currently loving is “Game Show Party”. This will set you back $20 but it does include 3 classic TV game shows including “Family Feud”, “Press Your Luck”, and “The Price is Right!”. So if you like those games it is more than worth it. If you want just 1 of those, they will set you back $10 each. As far as marketplace content goes, there is quite a bit and that is where most of my experience lies. For suggestions, first off I would go with the “Shadow Broker”; this one of the best additions to one of the best games of last year in “ME2”. Another game with great DLC is “Borderlands”. I would say buy on “Zombie Island” and “ Secret Armory”. With “Zombie Island” there is a familiar face that you meet up with. The only thing wrong is he is now a zombie. This is a must buy for zombie fans or fans of good humor in general. “Secret Armory” on the other hand, gives the more experienced “Borderlands” player a raise in level cap, along with some extra tough bosses. Fortunately, it also gives you higher ranked armor and weapons. Finally the last two games I will cover here are “Fallout 3” and “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” I would have to say at this point in time I would just get the game of the year editions for either so you do not have to piece together the DLC. Most of it adds value except for the sorriest excuse for DLC, horse armor for “Oblivion”
My final words of wisdom regarding game add-ons are these: first think if you would use the content, if so then how much would you use it, secondly, would it make you pick up an old favorite again, third, think price- is this too much for me or should I wait for a sale? All these questions you have to answer for yourselves. These are just the guidelines that I have used when purchasing items from online marketplaces. It has saved me quite a bit of time and money which can go elsewhere. Just think before you blindly buy and vote with your wallet.
To carry on the conversation with me you can either leave a response, which I read, or hit me up on twitter @Chtulu80 and I would be more than happy to talk with you. Going along with the topic of adding value, check out the Open Forum Radio podcast on i-Tunes and give us a review and you might be the lucky winner of a copy of “Call of Duty: Black Ops” for the Xbox 360. A $60 game for a 30 second review sounds like a good trade to me.