More than a decade after console games started offering extra content downloadable from the internet, DLC is everywhere. You can buy new costumes for your characters, or new characters for which to buy new costumes… you can even buy DLC that means you don't have to play the game any more because it gives you all the rewards you would have got if you had actually played it. But did you ever add it all up to see how much it would cost to buy EVERYTHING for your favourite game?
While it's admittedly unlikely anyone would want to buy every single piece of DLC for any game, it could possibly happen. So we've taken 7 DLC-heavy games and gone through their entire catalogues to see how much it would cost to buy the game at recommended retail price and everything associated with them. You won't believe the results...
Above: Smile all you want, Sackboy. Have you totted up your DLC recently?
Ridge Racer (PS Vita)
Let's start with a controversial one. This racer caused a stir by launching with just three tracks and three cars. We still liked it at review (opens in new tab), mind – it's a good racing game at heart, just a little light on content. Sure enough, three months later, there are five more tracks, plus vehicles and music to buy. There are also two confusing 'Pass' options, gold and silver, each offering a cheaper bundle deal for some of the content. You'd think the Silver Pass is less important than the Gold Pass, but actually they cover separate content, something which is only pointed out in the US PS Store. UK racers who bought Gold then the rest individually (like we did) get stung. But let's see what it all adds up to...
Above: This is just the top of a very long list. But you do want machine skins, right?
The game itself has a lower price than most because you're then expected to buy content to make the game you want to play. Still, £16.99/$24.99 is your base price. The Gold Pass is £5.49/$7.49 and the Silver Pass is $3.99/$6.99. Everybody(ish) wants to see the Daytona Hornet in their Ridge Racer, even though it handles like a dog (the back end seriously wants to be the front end during drifts), which will set you back £1.99/$2.99. Add in the SYNCi special Pac-Man car for £1.19/$1.49 and the Sega-powered 'Ridge Racer USA Mix' music and you've got yourself a party... for another £1.19/$1.99, of course.
Add it all together (and expect more in the future) and right now the whole lot will cost you...
In fairness, that's about the price of most full games on the PS Store. Although we are still missing a championship mode, which is kind of the main mode in a racing game. Hey ho…
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360 ver)
Horse Armor! So old and over-used in talks about DLC, but we can't not mention it when it's right there and still being sold for... 200 MS Points (£1.70/$2.50)! Crazy. Still, in terms of add-ons that actually deliver new gameplay experiences, there is a lot to say about Oblivion's offering – not least an entire expansion pack. Also, the game itself is only £19.99 which, while not quite as low as eBay prices for the same thing, at least acknowledges the fact that the game has been out for a while. Still, look at this little lot of downloadable content that has an effect on gameplay:
The Fighters' Stronghold
The Thieves' Den
The Vile Lair
The Wizard's Tower (right)
Knights of the Nine
The Shivering Isles
Expanding your world with those updates will cost 4,480 Microsoft Points (about £38.08/$56.00). But wait – there's more! What about all the gamer picture packs? You want those too, don't you? Cos you obviously love Oblivion. There are six of these beauties, ranging from 80 to 100 MS points. Oh, plus a dashboard theme for 150 MS Points. That's another 630 MS Points (about £5.36/$7.88) on top of the original RRP of the £49.99/$59.99 game, making a grand total of…
These figures sound like a lot, sure, but even if you did buy all the ultimately pointless picture packs, we'd still argue that the number of hours of quality content you will get for your money means that this actually still represents decent value.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (PS Vita)
Wasn't the point of the Vita version going to be that it had all the DLC included? Either way, you get 47 characters for your £39.99/$39.99 (currently £29.99 in the UK, but we're going with RRP for the sake of consistency) which is great, even though £39.99 is a huge price for any handheld beat-em-up if you ask us. But then there's the small matter of the single-most importand thing for anyone who's got money that can be spent on things that don't exist. Virtual costumes.
Above: YES I WILL FIGHT YOU. But first I've got to go and buy some clothes...
You can buy individual costume packs that cover a few characters at a time. Or you can SAVE MONEY by spending a whopping £15.99/$19.99 on the 'Value Pack' that gives you the 47 costumes, only not with Jill Valentine or Shuma Gorath, which have to be bought separately. These fighters cost £3.99/$4.99 each.
Assuming you don't buy a few costumes then suffer the horrible sinking feeling that you want them all, but have already negated the savings offered by the 'Value Pack' (and if you have suffered that feeling, we are genuinely sorry for you), the magic number on the bottom line is:
For a handheld fighting game, two extra characters and some new threads. Wowser. Especially as the 'downloadable content' for those costumes is a 100kb file. Hmmmm.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360 ver)
We've chosen this entry in the series because it's been out long enough now that all of its DLC is almost certainly released now. Also, modern CoD games are leaning towards a single CoD Elite subscription price that gives you all the DLC as it comes. But the main reason is the selection of utterly pointless DLC once you get past the expansions.
Above: Surely everybody wants a Soldiers Picture Pack, don't they? Or Night Vision pics?
The Stimulus Package and Resurgence Pack each cost 1200 MS Points (£10.20/$15.00 each), while the game retailed at a ridiculous £54.99 in the UK ($59.99 in the US). That's £75.39/$89.99. But look… there's more.
A loooong list of Avatar tees, picture packs and premium themes potentially add 3,560 MS Points to the tally. That's £30.26/$44.50. For that price, you could buy at least two real T-shirts and have them printed up with real ink so you walk down an actual street wearing Modern Warfare 2 proudly on your actual chest, attracting members of the opposite sex who until now had only ever considered buying virtual T-sthirts for their Xbox Live avatars. They'll be impressed at your creativity, unless they work for Activision, in which case they'll sue you for breach of copyright and send you to Bobby Kotick for a bottom spanking.
But that wouldn't be buying everything to do with MW2 on Xbox Live, so we're not interested right now. No, if you want Modern Warfare 2 plus everything associated with it, you're looking at spending:
Seems like quite a big number, doesn't it? It's actually a teeny, tiny little number compared to what lies in wait on the next page. Seriously, you ain't seen nuffin yet...