DLC Quest: A Perfect Satire of the Cash Cow Mindset

Bear with me, the intro gets rant-ish but it all goes somewhere, I promise.

Gaming has taken an interesting direction in the last 6 years. Prior to the current generation, console gamers pretty much had to deal with any glitches in their games. There are some exceptions to this, such as Everquest: Online Adventures on the PS2, but most games did not recieve updates. PC games, on the other hand, had updates and expanded content. Prior to the DLC craze, expansion packs were a format for a company to deliver a little more content for an already existing game. Usually sitting at a little under half the retail price of the original game, expansion packs offered a lot more than a typical DLC pack does today. Most contained an expanded campaign, either a parallel story with another character or events directly after the original. Half-Life Opposing Force showed the Black Mesa event through the eyes of the military, Crysis: Warhead followed Psycho’s adventures during the same time frame of Crysis, but the 2 F.E.A.R expansions were sequels that used the same engine(despite it being a different cannon from F.E.A.R 2 and 3). If the original offered multiplayer(yes, multiplayer was not a shoehorned check mark for every FPS to get published), then the expansion pack usually contained a handful of new maps, some new game modes, and possibly even new weapons or vehicles. Expansion packs added more content for ~$20 than the entire Season Pass of any individual Call of Duty title or Battlefield titles does at $50. I understand inflation and productions costs have increased in the last decade, but Season Passes are pretty much the same price as the games are these days and the expansion packs were half. Granted this is nothing as bad as SquareEnix has been lately(I’m looking at you Sleeping Dogs), but it still stands that DLC has gotten out of hand.

DLC Quest was released at the end of 2011 and parodies DLC and what it has become. The game tasks you will being the hero that sets out to save a princess from the bad guy. Seriously, the character names are hero, princess, and bad guy. Unfortunately, you really do need DLC to properly experience the game. Actions like walking to the left, jumping, pausing, sound, and even animations are all DLC. Luckily, as a parody, no real cash is used at all. The DLC is instead purchased with coins that you find scattered around the level. Here is a video of the first 3 minutes containing some of the comic gold found in this game.

The laughs don’t end there either. The whole game is filled with satire and little stabs against the exploitation of DLC. This is pretty much a straight puzzle platformer though. Do not expect to fight monsters or gain experience or even die. While you do get a sword it is nothing more than a tool for progression as it’s only use is to cut bushes. To its benefit DLC Quest can be beaten in 20 minutes, my first runthrough was 28 minutes, but there are some collectables to push this a little further. There are also leaderboards for speed runs, both fastest time and fastest time with 100% complete. While the DLC Quest campaign is an exercise in parody, the second campaign has more meat to it. Titled “Live Freemium or Die” it takes ideas behind DLC Quest and expands upon them with story, a life bar, death, a central town, and multiple objectives. Playing like a small Metroid game, there is a central hub, the town, that functions as story progression via the townsfolk and upgrade location via the shopkeep. There are 4 surrounding areas that provide more fleshed out platforming than the original title. Also added are enemies, spikes, and spike pits! LFoD took me about 40 minutes to beat and another 30 to get 100%. Steam currently has this on sale for $2.39, until the 25th, and will run on pretty much any computer in the last decade. It is also on the Mac Store and Desura for $2.99. It is also on Xbox Live Indie Games but has both games split as separate downloads for 80MS a piece. I highly suggest anyone with a sense of humor to grab this and support Going Loud Studios. You don’t see good satire anymore, especially not about gaming in a game.

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