Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BioShock Infinite: Downloadable Content Done RIGHT

I talked a lot about why I loved BioShock Infinite when I compared it with The Last of Us, but I wanted to delve more into the developers of the game and how they treat the franchise and it's fans, and why it makes the game that much better.

What mystery lies beyond these words?

When BioShock Infinite shipped, buyers had the option (and still do) to buy a Season Pass which would give you all future DLC for the game. When I got about 10 minutes into the game, I knew I was going to buy this sucker. My favorite game in recent memory expanded? How could I say no? 

Here's what makes Irrational Games awesome. Today, July 30th 2013, they announced all future DLC for BioShock Infinite, with one simple DLC releasing TODAY and the other more complicated ones being released at a later date. No "day-one-DLC" crap, no DLC after a week of release bullshit, these are expansions that have been crafted after the game's release. This is what DLC should be. It's unfortunate, but we've grown accustomed to buying games in fragments. We buy 50% of the game at launch and we eventually buy the rest as downloadable content. What Irrational Games is doing here is giving us more of the game, while so many other studios are comfortable giving us the rest of the game.

So, what exactly are the DLCs?

It's the Horde mode I've wanted for ages.

The first DLC is Clash in the Clouds, and it's essentially Horde mode. Waves of enemies are unleashed upon the player and you have to survive as long as you possibly can under the ever increasing weight of your challenge. This expansion is available today for download at the low price of $5.00.

There were many people who felt that the combat in BioShock Infinite was weak and inferior to the original, but I really didn't feel that way. In fact, outside of story and plot, I felt the combat in BioShock Infinite was one of it's greatest assets. It's nuanced, complicated, and intricate and it allowed to for some really interesting combinations. The game, albeit, is not easy to play for casual players, but for the core gamer, the combat is just awesome. This DLC is exactly what I've been looking for. I've played through BioShock Infinite nine times, and if there's anything I can tell you, it's that the last six times I played through it wasn't for the story. The story is fantastic and it's one of my favorite video game narratives of all time, but the reason you play a game again is because it's fun to play. So being able to play nothing but combat, no story, no nothing, that's really cool to me.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea returns players to Rapture. 
I will sell my organs for this.

BioShock Infinite's next expansion, Burial at Sea, will be a story driven installment that puts Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth in Rapture before the fall. This expansion however will take place over two episodes. Episode One focusing on Booker and Episode Two allowing players to play as Elizabeth. The game will be more focused on survival horror and more on story than anything else. This is another example of Ken Levine's ability to know exactly what his fans want. There are those who cared only for the story in BioShock Infinite and there are those who loved the gameplay. Now, there are options for each of these groups to enjoy what they love without having to buy the stuff they don't want. Players who don't want the Horde mode and simply want the story expansions, and vice versa can buy each separately. This is the way it's done. 

But what's more important about these DLCs, is that they're done right. These aren't tacked on expansions or stuff that was cut from the original game that we're now paying to access. This is new content. Content we specifically asked for. Content we wanted that the developers at Irrational are now working to give us. Hats off to you, Ken Levine. I'd love to shake your hand.

This is Ken Levine. He is awesome.
He is also a genius. 
That is all.

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