This issue of On The Download gets to me so much I made up a word to best illustrate how this makes gamers feel. Have you noticed that when a game comes out on one system but doesn’t hit the other systems at the same time, the later port of the game often comes with different, improved features?
Castle Crashers XBLA 2008/PSN 2010
Last year at PAX East I was a bit pensive about trying out Castle Crashers with the developer present. Mostly because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to think of anything to ask when trying out a game I already owned on the XBLA for quite some time. Four player co-op? Check. Awesome art and brilliant music? Check. But wait - what’s this?
Not only did they add a Volleyball mini-game, but they completely redid the game from the ground-up in order to streamline the gameplay. And boy did it make a difference. After playing the PSN version of the game, the XBLA version felt like a clunky, rusted machine.
Madballs XBLA 7/2009/Steam 9/2009
When I was playing Madballs in...Babo: Invasion back on the XBLA I had a surprise blast! I had no idea what the game was, or how much fun my co-op experience would be. The co-op was a bit lacking as it was just a survival-mode version of the storyline - play with your friends and survive as many levels as you can.
Later, Steam was blessed with the Madballs game moving over to its matchmaking system and PC controls. Not only did Madballs make the shift from console to PC, but it also came with an improved co-op mode and loads of inexpensive DLC (skins and an actual survival mode) that the XBLA has yet to see.
This dilemma for me simply meant: Purchase the second version. And some people are fortunate enough to have a PS3 and Xbox 360 and game-worthy PC in order to be able to do this. But what if you don’t have the specs or systems? Or, you can’t afford to buy a game twice? Do you just have to deal with the inferior version of the game or move on to other, better things?
These are the two biggest Downloadable co-op game ports I can recall off the top of my head, but it’s still a pain for those that wish to experience their full game. I’ve felt more than once with full games that my version is inferior (After Overlord was released on Xbox 360, the ported version hit PS3 with lots of extra content - and maybe even an in-game map). Maybe the difference can be affordability and accessibility - websites hand out codes for downloadable games either on their own forums or Twitter or Facebook.
Don’t worry, we still love both games for their merit in both co-op and fun - but we’d like to see something like vouchers that allow us to re-purchase the game on a different platform at a lesser cost, or something else to help us not feel quite so left in the dust if we already supported the game from the beginning.