Mike Bell offers his personal take on the add-ons that have turned him off.
Knothole Island (Fable II)
Any expansion to the game that rules all games can’t be bad, right Peter? Fable II’s Knothole Island add-on was a huge disappointment for such a promising game. It was marketed on its location, and thus being somewhat nostalgic for players of the original Fable. Unfortunately, it offered just three missions that were all very short, and a limited amount of new items. As for these quests’ stories, they were nothing short of lazy. Thankfully, Lionhead saw the errors of their ways and were quick to remedy it with the release of See the Future – a much more entertaining, better value add-on.
Versus Mode (Resident Evil 5)
Resident Evil 5 was one of the most hyped titles in recent history, and for good reason; the game itself was a thoroughly enjoyable experience with great callbacks to previous titles in the series. However, a lot of this greatness was masked by the horrific Versus Mode release, when players were charged $5 to play content that was allegedly already on the Resident Evil 5 disc, indeed content that was just a cheap edit of the existing Mercenaries mode. Of course, Resident Evil 5 isn’t the first game to charge for content already on the disc by any stretch, but Versus Mode represents the most notable, and maybe the worst case of it.
Jedi Temple (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
I’m sure I was one of very many who got excited when we first heard about The Force Unleashed, and similarly was one of very many who were disappointed upon playing it. On the surface it looked fantastic, but after completing the game for the first time, I soon found it to have absolutely no replay value. As such, when the Jedi Temple mission pack was released I looked forward to playing some new, interesting content. Unfortunately I was met with one, albeit extremely short, tediously repetitive mission which offered almost nothing new from what I had already played on the disc, not to mention a terrible excuse for a final boss. The force really wasn’t with this add-on (groan – Ed.)
Character and Map Pack Plus (Transformers: RotF)
Firstly, this was yet another poorly executed licensed movie game, yet that wasn’t enough to stop publishers Activision milking the franchise and releasing an add-on pack. The Character and Map Pack Plus consisted of an expert mode – apparently offering value through higher difficulty – three new maps and eleven new characters. Sadly, all of this looked extremely simple, and very similar to existing content in the game. The pack cost a whopping $10, but also included new achievements – these being the first thing mentioned in the add-on’s description. Are publishers really marketing achievements as a key feature of an add-on these days? Seriously?
In-Game Money (The Godfather)
The Godfather got off to a bad start on 360 by being a direct port of the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions, with no graphical or gameplay alterations. This wasn’t enough disappointment for EA, so it decided to release add-ons for The Godfather onto the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Rather than creating new content for an already out-dated title, however, EA decided it would simply charge gamers their hard earned cash in exchange for in-game currency and weapon upgrades – the latter being purchasable with in-game currency in the first place. What’s worse is this wasn’t the only time EA have pulled this stunt, with other titles such as Need for Speed: Undercover, Tiger Woods and Skate 2 also charging for in-game content.
SSC Challenge Maps (Army of Two)
Army of Two itself was a disappointment; but this was mostly because of the unwarranted hype around the game’s launch. It was not all that bad, and fairly enjoyable to play co-operatively. The same cannot be said for the SSC Challenge Map Pack which contained a new game mode in which players have to pass various tasks such as carrying a body, shooting targets, and avoiding turrets. For $10 players got this supposedly exciting game mode, and the two maps to go with it. If that’s not bad enough, a few months later EA released a free add-on containing two new campaign levels that was far superior to the paid content released before it.
Pure Time Trials (Mirror’s Edge)
Mirror’s Edge was an interesting idea, a free running game played in a first person perspective. However, just playing through the games campaign got a little repetitive and dull. After jumping around a bit, and kicking a guard in the face a few times, you’d pretty much experienced all the game had to offer – and the DLC was no exception. We’d been promised us completely new experience with the Pure Time Trials. Unfortunately we just received the same old gameplay, but in an abstract cube world. To top this off, the DLC was later made free on the PlayStation Network, yet on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace customers were still expected to pay $10 for this disappointing add-on. What a strange discrepancy.
Map Pack (Stranglehold)
Stranglehold was a mediocre game at best, lacking anything to maintain interest, but that didn’t stop Midway releasing a pack adding 10 new maps to the game. The add-on weighed in at a hefty $15, yet stands safely as one of the lowest-rated add-ons on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace to date. The main appeal of this add-on was the additional 250 GamerScore points. Still, you can’t blame Midway for trying, given their financial woes.
Accessory Packs (Kingdom Under Fire: CoD)
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom didn’t receive the best reviews upon release and was slated for its dull and repetitive approach to the hack-and-slash RPG genre. Thankfully, Blueside knew how to remedy this; allow players to purchase bunny ears for their characters. Shortly after the games release, several accessory packs were released that allowed players to spend $2 on a set of novelty items such as Santa hats, dresses, flowers and more to dress up their character with. A bizarre decision given how one of the game’s few appeals was the cool look of its characters. Smooth move, Blueside.
Additional Missions (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Sonic is a character we’ve all come to love (says you – Ed), and every time a new Sonic game gets announced, every one of us gets excited even though we know we’re going to be disappointed. 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog was no exception. It lacked a large amount of content to start with, so Sega then saw it necessary to add extra levels to the game as downloadable content. Unfortunately they were incredibly short, despite each costing $2, and added very little to a game that needed lots.
And… Horse Armor (Oblivion)
Elder Scrolls IV’s Oblivion’s Horse Armor - what you’ve all been waiting for. At first, I saw this not as something to be placed on a list of disappointing add-ons, since it was released as a joke and still stands as an ongoing joke, so much so that on April 1st 2009 Bethesda decided to half the price of other Oblivion add-ons, but double the price of the Horse Armor. As such, this add-on was not so much of a disappointment but more of a joke. Nonetheless, it of course deserves its place on any feature discussing game add-ons.