While I enjoyed the idea and some aspects of Evolve’s gameplay when I tried the alpha, I think their approach to DLC is completely and utterly backwards. Many said, before the game even launched, that the $60 price point felt too high for what the game offered. And then, surprisingly, they release $60 of additional downloadable content on launch day. Granted all of the content is cosmetic varieties like character and gun skins for the game, and this doesn’t even include the $24.99 season pass which has three of its own skins. Some have argued that it’s not evil and helps keep game prices down, and I actually agree with that in principle. The issue here is $60 worth of aesthetic DLC is attached to a game already criticized for being over priced.
In case you skimmed that opening paragraph and didn’t catch it, if you want to purchase Evolve and all of its launch day DLC you will need to shell out $120 and then an additional $24.99 for the Season Pass. With the consistent outcry from gamers about lack of content and too much reliance on DLC, it seems almost insulting to let gamers know you have enough content to offer significant amounts of DLC at launch, but choose to charge extra for it. And it’s completely flabbergasting to claim the extra content is equal in value to a full priced game. How can you possibly charge $60 for a full game and then also charge $60 for extra content that is purely cosmetic for guns and characters?
What should have happened
After the consistent feedback and reviews from the alpha and beta that made it clear $60 was too high for what this game offered, 2K should have won over both their established fan base and those on the fence by discounting the game. Then sure, go ahead, charge for your cosmetic DLC and future extra content. But instead, you’ve launched an overpriced game with little depth and then seemed to think that having extra content for sale on launch day wasn’t annoying enough, you had to charge the equivalent of another full priced game for it. Keep in mind that all of the skins and extra content could have added some depth and vibrancy to a game that has many of us holding back from purchasing due to its simplicity.
A lose-lose situation
The unfortunate thing here is that nobody wins. Evolve will almost assuredly under-sell at the current price point, especially when gamers look at the overpriced landscape of available DLC sitting next to it. The lack of sales will hurt a game type that is completely dependent on a robust and engaged player base. Insufficient sales and participation may lead to an expedient sale, but that will not bode well with those who shelled out the $60-120 for all the day one content. The best way forward, as I see it, is to make the main game significantly cheaper, somewhere between $20 and $40, and leave the DLC as is. To appease miffed launch purchasers you could offer exclusive content as a sort of honor badge. The graphics and idea are certainly innovative and deserving of praise, but with reviews already pointing out the shortcomings of the game mode and the lack of a campaign I can’t see this title getting any traction without some sort of discount. Since I wasn’t sold on the idea after the cat-and-mouse-then-mayhem-play-style annoyed me, this isn’t that concerning for me. But it is disappointing to see so much potential thrown away.
A missed opportunity
A slow and eerie co-op campaign would have been far more thrilling than constantly chasing a faster-player-controlled-monster. Instead of constantly running and tracking, a slower and more tense build up would make the big monster fight more engrossing and fun. Imagine finding a footprint and the tracker had to do a sort of DNA scanning mini-game that takes time but draws attention, so the other players must defend their indisposed teammate against irritated wildlife. Once the tracker has done their job, the intel could be used by a scouting class to stealthily track the main target while the remaining players attract agro from the now more challenging and alerted monsters. Once the stealth scout has found the trail or lair, he would inform his team to make their way to him. This would slowly engage the players as they build up to what is the best part of Evolve: a huge thrashing monster fight; all while giving them dynamic and appropriately challenging things to do. Each planet or trail could lead to a different and more challenging boss with stranger and more difficult native beasts. This is honestly the type of game I expected after the first teaser trailer. It’s too bad it isn’t a reality. The encouraging thing that I saw after the alpha was changes were made to improve what players saw as frustrating or unsatisfying in the alpha. Hopefully the community continues to provide good feedback so that future content or updates improve on a game and platform that has massive potential and expandability.
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