I like Final Fantasy. I like Tomb Raider. I do not like Tomb Raider in my Final Fantasy.
A large part of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the “garb”-based battle system that sees Lightning changing outfits on the fly in order to change her stats and properly attack and defend against the enemy.
There are dozens of different outfits and the deep customization makes Lightning Returns battle system one of the highlights of the game.
The system has also allowed Square Enix to engage in some fan service by including outfits that make Lightning look like notable characters from other video games. Perhaps one of the more infamous garbs is one that was made available by preorder in Japan that allowed Lightning to dress up as Aerith from Final Fantasy VII, flowers and all. Another sees her wearing Yuna’s summoner’s outfit from Final Fantasy X.
While it’s a little cheesy to see tough warrior Lightning running around looking all dainty, both garbs are still proper homages to two of the most popular Final Fantasy characters of all-time.
And then this happened:
Square Enix is currently pushing Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition (or as some might say, the Fraud Edition) for Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Gamers don’t always have a problem with cross-promotion, as long as it makes sense within the world of the game. We tolerated Aerith and Yuna, because no matter how strange Lightning looked, it was still Final Fantasy. But this…well, just go read the comments on that video and you’ll get the point.
Lightning looks so ridiculous running around wearing her Lara Croft outfit that it immediately struck me as shameless. The outfit is jarring, clearly doesn’t fit within the world of Final Fantasy and appears to have been released for no other reason than to remind gamers about another title Square Enix is still trying to turn a profit on.
Publishers are still trying to get DLC right in this always-online world we live in. Sometimes it works, sometimes gamers are left scratching their heads as to what the company was thinking.
The Lightning meets Lara debacle might be cringe-worthy, but it got me thinking about some of the other shameless DLC offerings we’ve seen in recent years. In no particular order, here’s six more awful add-ons that are far worse than Lightning’s new outfit.
Pretty horses (The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion)
Bethesda Softworks decided to use its popular Oblivion title to test the DLC market for the first time. What they came up didn’t go over very well with the game’s fans. The $2.50 purchase put armor on your in-game horse but it was cosmetic only, with no actual benefit to gameplay. It felt like something that should have been put into the original game to begin with. Gamers had been expecting extra missions and quests via DLC so when they saw what they were getting instead, they said… horseshit. Bethesda learned its lesson and went on to release other DLC content more in line with what the fans wanted.
Paying for extra lives… on a $60 console title (Sonic: Lost World)
Ah, the good old days when you’d go down to the arcade at the mall to play your favorite platformer. If your character died, you could just put in a few more quarters and spring back to life. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that concept… until someone tries to introduce it on a game you’ve already paid $60 for. Sonic: Lost World featured DLC as a pre-order bonus offering players 25 extra lives for their character. Platformers on home consoles have always featured a finite number of lives before the player would have to start over. It’s a core concept of the genre. Allowing players to earn extra lives by throwing down their credit card instead of working for those lives in game breaks the system entirely. Even a cheat code would have worked better.
Firewalling the content already on your game disc behind a DLC code (Beautiful Katamari)
POW Production had a huge hit on its hands with Beautiful Katamari in 2007. There was just one problem. Plenty of gamers thought the game didn’t last long enough. Quick to respond, the developer sold extra levels for the game through DLC. There’s no problem with that at all, except that the DLC was essentially just an unlock code for content that was already on the disc gamers had purchased. To say it again, POW Production intentionally locked some content on its game that it charged users full price for, just so they could charge even more money further down the line for content they had already created. With DLC, the rule seems to be that gamers will happily pay more money for more content, provided that the developer puts in additional effort to create that content. Not divide the content they’ve already made into different releases just so they can nickel and dime their customers.
A Train Game Where You Have to Buy the Trains (Railworks: Train Simulator 2012)
Train Simulator 2012 offers detailed and realistic depictions of real train models, in the same fashion of games that let you simulate flying an airplane. There’s one catch though. This train simulator doesn’t really come with much in the way of trains. You have to pay separately for each new train, each of which sells for close to $20 a pop. The developer has released more than $1,000 worth of DLC using this ploy. It’d be cheaper to go buy a ticket for a ride on a real train.
Charging money for new colors on the same characters (Street Fighter 3: Third Strike)
There are plenty of fighting games that add extra characters by taking the same character model and changing the color palette. Mortal Kombat is notorious for doing this. (See: Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Reptile) Gamers don’t mind this because it adds new characters with new moves to play. It turns out they do mind if the developer charges money for the right to change colors on the same character. Street Fighter 3: Third Strke released a large amount of new colors for each of its fighters that gamers could pay money to download. But unlike changing Scorpion’s yellow to Sub-Zero’s blue, the download didn’t add any additional characters or content. Gamers were asked to pay money just to stare at a different color on their screen.
An RPG that lets you level up through DLC (Tales of Vesperia)
Just like maintaining your number of lives is key to a platformer, grinding to level up is a key element of RPGs. Unless it’s a Namco game. In 2008, the company let gamers who weren’t leveling fast enough pay money for the right. Just type in your credit card number and watch the boss fall over. Ugh. At least Square Enix isn’t asking us to pay extra to help Lightning take on the end of the world.