A Sin of a Stardock Empire?

You may have recently heard that Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is getting the franchise’s first downloadable content patch next month.  Allow me to sum up my excitement for this five dollar, make you holler proverbial bait-and-switch known as DLC: thank you for offering me a chance to buy the rest of the game.

DLC can be a wonderful addition to a game that innervates the play experience and rejuvenates the player’s interest.  It can add new content, further balancing, and spruce up old content for a newer audience.  What DLC shouldn’t do, though, is provide content that should have been present in the original game.  The new DLC for Sins is supposed to offer new planet types; where those planet types have been all this time beats me, but it sure pleases me to know that they’ve finally decided to show up.

My problem with this DLC is two-fold.  First, as mentioned previously, the content should have been present in the original game.  Sins has always felt tediously dull, its universe populated by generic worlds that are as bland as the squares on a board of checkers.   To have this kind of spice added in by DLC later feels like a slap in the face for someone who has been with the franchise since the beginning.  And it’s not like Stardock and Iron Games haven’t had time to add the content, either; with three mini-expansions and a full blown sequel, they could’ve added new planets at any point in time.

My second problem is that it adds content that, clearly, Stardock only values at five dollars.  On one level, cheap is good because it’s affordable.  On another, more critical level, if it’s so cheap, why wasn’t it in the original game?  You mean with years of development and a forty dollar title no one had the time to sculpt and code four additional world types?  Also, when did Steam achievements become something that’s considered content you pay for?  The answers to all these questions deeply disturb me, and I think they should probably disenchant, at the least, in any committed fan of Sins.

Maybe the DLC will be enjoyable and creative.  Honestly, for five dollars, I’ll probably pick it up anyway, but I still can’t help but feel a bit cheated.   In general, I tend to think DLC is a good thing, though.  In fact, I think mini-purchases and Kickstarters are more considerate of gamers’ financial needs, but if DLC isn’t adding content that’s new, inventive, and dynamic, I’m not sure it’s worth it.




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