Downloadable content. Everyone hates it -- but everyone buys it. Here's a look at the latest package of extensions and pre-order bonuses designed to crowbar the last dollar out of your wallet. Can you still respect yourself if you buy it?
Final Fantasy XIII-2: "Sazh: Heads Or Tails?"
Available:February 28. Price: $US5 for an extra episode, $US3 for some new costumes.
What you get: Another episode that lets you take the title character, Sazh, into a story of his own running parallel to the main game. Upon completion, he's available in the player's party. There's also a new card game in the casino, plus a couple of costumes for characters Noel and Serah.
Why it's Evil: If I told you why this is really evil, I'd have to spoil the game. That's evil. Suffice to say, those who have completed Final Fantasy XIII-2 will have unanswered questions, and I don't think this -- despite a name like "Heads or Tails?" is going to supply them.
Evil Score: 5/5. The fact I can't warn you without ruining the ending is what makes this so goddamn diabolical. Also, $US3 for outfits? That's ridiculous.
NeverDead Expansion Pack Volume 1
Available:February 21. Price: Who the hell knows? A news release put out February 7 didn't even list a price.
What you get: Three more online challenges in the insane asylum (the game's first level), two costumes for the main character, Bryce. and you get to play as cardboard cutout pop idol Nikki Summerfield, a candidate for this 2012's most loathsome NPC.
Why it's Evil: Let's start with the fact the game is terrible. Second, this was announced a week after release, so not only did Rebellion make a bad game, they held stuff out of a bad game for sale later. Finally: Nikki Summerfield.
Evil Score: I'll actually go 3/5 here because I think holding content out of NeverDead, in a backward way, is kind of a public service.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 Celebrity Golfers
Available:March 29, when the game launches. Price: Free with pre-order from Amazon.
What you get: I'm not sure if EA Sports owes these guys a favour or the other way around. but it's a set of four celebrity golfers available for play in any mode in the upcoming game. Hockey's Jeremy Roenick, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, football hall of famer Marshall Faulk and Dwight Howard, the last human to star on the cover of an EA Sports basketball game, are included.
Why it's Evil: This is already one of the most top-heavy games for downloadable content in all of video gaming, regardless of genre. No question EA Sports would gladly sell these guys in the online pro shop, which means they dangled this to a retail partner and Amazon did the deed. It's disappointing that they put celebrity golfers in a game but not a celebrity event which we -- ahem -- just saw at Pebble Beach, a course that's included in the title. That kind of thing would make this content actually have value.
Evil Score: 2/5. While not exactly valuable, this is still, technically, free.