About four years ago, a friend of mine told me to purchase a video game to play with him. It was called Medal of Honor: Warfighter. I had never played a Medal of Honor game before, but he persuaded me with the notion of its unique approach to multiplayer. I won’t get into the details, but to my complete surprise, I was extremely hooked on the game for many months. However, Warfighter did not fare well critically, not commercially, and the development team was axed and absorbed into another EA studio.
During that time, I struggled to convey to anyone else how fun the game was, and why it was worth trying, even when the reviews were astronomically bad. I stumbled upon an article written by Michael Cromwell, the Editor In Chief of a now-defunct website called PCG Media. In the article, Cromwell put forward his thesis, which was that the “games journalists” (who are the same as “tech journalists,” also known as money grubbing weasels) were bored or otherwise unwilling to give the game a fair shake because of its similarity to another popular shooter franchise, Call of Duty. Not only did I share Cromwell’s beliefs then, but I feel myself echoing them today about another video game: The Technomancer.
I vividly remember a time, a few years ago, when I would go to my local EB Games, put down my $60, and buy a game. I’d take this unsealed package, go home, and pop it into my PS3, excited to play this amazing thing that I had been anticipating for so long. And then, after having played anywhere from ten to sixty hours of this game, having beaten it and all of its content, I would learn of a new thing I could buy, maybe for seven dollars, maybe for ten. A new adventure, a new challenge, one that was created for the players who had conquered what came before. Downloadable Content, or DLC, was used to enhance an experience for the player. Once upon a time, I enjoyed it.
I think it’s a fantastic horde mode type of game. Despite how much I rage at it, it’s a lot of fun. It takes one of the best parts of the Mass Effect experience, the combat, and strips away basically everything else. If you want to Incinerate some Reaper forces, instead of booting up the Singe Player campaign (or being forced to start a new one, which takes at least an hour to clear through the prologue), you can start up Multiplayer, join a game, and immediately start roasting Brutes. It’s great.
But it’s not perfect. The game is flawed in that its greatness is lessened by the absurd business model that BioWare implemented. I’m not sure why they put the Free-to-Play model into a game you were paying actual money for. Random loot is by far the stupidest of unlock systems, one that is geared towards making the player (or the customer, as I’m sure BioWare views them) need to either play it quite often, or give up and spend actual cash, in hopes of obtaining that elusive item that we yearn for. I’ll admit that I was suckered a few times. Using cash left over from a DLC purchase on a Spectre pack, or buying a JEP because I ran out of medi-gels and my party sucked.