It seems like every game has some DLC announced for it before release these days.
From preorder bonuses to season passes, unless you’re buckling yourself in for a day one purchase or willing to spend extra money after launch, you rarely feel like you’re getting the complete experience. And then you have microtransactions; typically useless fluff that you can pay real money for. What’s worse is when games constantly remind you that DLC or microtransactions are available.
“Want to get more out of X game? Buy this content now!”. I’ve had enough of games prompting me to buy their latest DLC on their loading or title screens. Some games go even further, blending optional content into the standard experience which you’re then prompted to buy when innocently trying to access it. Nothing turns me off a game more than that. If you’re going to offer DLC, keep it out of my game unless I’ve bought it, please. Encountering a paywall while playing a game doesn’t make me more likely to spend any money, in fact, it just makes me think less of the game in the first place.
It’s perhaps part of the reason why my recent playthrough of Red Dead Redemption 2 was such a pleasure. Sure, the game has a couple of additional editions that feature bonus content, but when you’re playing the game you’re never reminded of that. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that you can install, launch, and never be pestered to spend any additional money. You’re not bombarded by reminders that microtransactions are available, or additional costumes or weapons. Once you’re immersed in its world, there’s nothing to drag you out of it.
What really impresses me about Red Dead Redemption 2, though, is how it just keeps going. At numerous points I thought the game’s story was coming to an end, and at any one of them I would have been satisfied with the game’s content. But it carries on and on, unravelling new story threads before you. And then you reach the epilogue. Anyone who’s completed it will probably agree with me when I say it’s like a story expansion. Even in its basic form, Red Dead Redemption 2 already feels like an ultimate edition. It feels like the base game with all of the additional DLC included. There are no loose ends left by the time you finish it; it feels wholesome and complete.
Of course, things will change once Red Dead Online arrives. There will undoubtedly be an abundance of both DLC and microtransactions for that. But until then, let’s raise a glass to the cap in hand-free nature of Red Dead Redemption 2‘s single player offering. Happy with with you being absorbed in its beautifully-created world rather than begging for your money, it’s something to be praised.