The second installment in DLC Quest – “Live Freemium or Die” – was more fun than the first mission in the same way that a turd sandwich with Tabasco on focaccia is more appealing than a turd sandwich with mayonnaise on generic store-brand white bread. The game is still just a medium used to make jokes and comments on the current “downloadable content plague” and all the overused tropes in video game mechanics and storytelling.
However, this time around the gameplay is more fun. You can actually get hurt and die in this version, which means that once you reach the end of an area you actually feel a sense of accomplishment. The platforming is a bit more difficult as well. There are monsters to fight that also fight back (… for a bit), and the boss battle isn’t a cut scene – it’s an actual boss battle that you could die in that requires coordination and timing and oh man it’s like a real game!
Of course, the new story continues to bring the laughs as well. In fact, this adventure’s jokes go past s*****g on DLC and rehashed storytelling cliches; it has a few gaming “in-jokes”, pokes fun at varying art styles that are prevalent in different genres (shooters are brown because they’re realistic, introspective indie games are in silhouette, etc.), hyperbolizes product placement and fetch quests, and even has a pseudo-cameo in the character of Groove, the bearded, fedora-wearing miner. The dialogue and ridiculous DLCs are still clever and hilarious, and the climax to the narrative is as over-the-top as I hoped it would be.
So now the big question from the first mission comes back: “Is this fun?” And I will answer again, “No, but it is funny.”
I watched back through my Crash Course video of the first level and listened to my own rant at the end of it while writing this follow-up. I believe I may have been a little hard on this game in the first passing. I was expecting a game that had some jokes about DLC in it, not a long joke about DLC wrapped as a game. And when I look at it from that same frame of reference, yeah – it f*****g sucks. But looking at it a second time – playing through it a second time – I started thinking, “How much have I spent on a single stand-up comedy DVD? And how much enjoyment – both time-wise and laughter-wise – did I derive from this purchase as opposed to that DVD?” And in all honesty, when I looked at the game from that perspective, it made it worth the money. Sure, I may never play this game again, but how many times past that first viewing did I watch that DVD by myself?
The answer is zero.
Once that sunk in, I realized the game’s creator wasn’t setting out to make a game with compelling gameplay. He was creating an interactive stand-up routine with the purpose of using the medium of gaming to point out the flaws in the modern gaming industry. Hell, the opening text box of the game said that it was purely satire, and I was foolish enough to hope for something fun rather than thought-provoking (or at the very least humorous). I took the piss out of a game whose sole purpose of existing was to take the piss out of games in general. The game isn’t inviting you to have a good time because it tells a grand story or has some amazing, innovative game mechanic. It purposely doesn’t have any of that so that its satire is brought to the forefront and made as obvious and blunt as a giant inflatable squeaky mallet swinging at your face.
So perhaps I was wrong about this game overall. The point wasn’t to have a heart-felt, deep experience that will last a lifetime. The point was to make me laugh and perhaps think.
And it certainly succeeded in that.
If you wanna pick up “DLC Quest” in all its silly glory, you can do so on Steam (for Windows and Mac) or on Xbox Live, available both places for just a couple of bucks.