This post may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t think that Halo is perfect. There; as much as it pains me, I said it. Over Black Friday, I bought Halo 4 GOTY Edition, and I was super excited to pop it into my 360. The cover art is great, in my opinion, and Halo 4 itself is an amazing game, as I borrowed the original from a friend a few months ago. My excitement waned rather quickly when I opened the case, however. To the right were the same exact discs found in the standard Halo 4 box, and to the left were two download cards for all the GOTY content. I deflated at seeing this.
Why am I writing a post about this? Well, there are a couple reasons. First of all, I have an old 360 with no Wi-Fi capabilities; I either have to buy the adapter or plug it straight into the modem. Option one is a waste of my money since I don’t pay for Xbox Live Gold, and option two requires me to unplug the 360 from my television, bring it to the living room, plug it into the modem next to the TV there, insert the internet code, and then I can finally access the internet to download my content. Then, a second problem emerges. There are a total of 10 codes to enter; each one unlocks something different, and each piece of content ranges from a background photo to an avatar t-shirt to a map pack. At 25 digits apiece, without a keyboard, it took me an insane amount of time to type in all 250 characters.
Then came the download time. The map packs totaled out at over 2 GB, which took nearly a couple hours at my internet speed. Then, all the other miscellaneous content meant my Xbox 360 was on for so long that it automatically shut itself off during downloading. You might just say I should quit bellyaching and deal with the download speed. I’m not ready to do that, since I feel cheated here. See, the game I bought is billed as Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition. I assumed that the extra content would come pre-installed on the disc already. Instead, although billed as GOTY Edition, I basically got Halo 4 Standard Edition with Bonus DLC.
What irritates me the most is that there are others out there who don’t have the means to download this content. This game is for the Xbox 360, which was released in a world where internet connection wasn’t nearly as commonplace for consoles as it will be in the future. There are still plenty of owners who never plug their 360 into a modem, as they have no real need to do so. Imagine the disappointment when their Halo 4 GOTY is exactly the same as the original since they can’t use the download code; there’s nothing special about what they bought.
I can understand if some content is download only for Xbox One and PS4, as these consoles are made for a world where internet connection is almost necessary for consoles. With that being said, I think important content such as GOTY content should always be on the disc. In the future, when games like Halo 4 are considered classic, there will be absolutely no distinction between the original and GOTY editions; all the servers will be shut down, the GOTY codes will all be used, and the only way to obtain the content will be to obtain the hard drive it was originally downloaded on, which will be nearly impossible. Then, my Halo 4 GOTY Edition will be exactly the same as my friend’s standard copy of Halo 4.
I love the physical property of a game; I like being able to hold it and own it and know that it’s mine. I don’t like to just have a digital code that gives me the right to download an invisible copy of a game on the Playstation of Xbox Live store… I actually like to have it in hand. When that’s lost on special editions and GOTY because it’s all downloadable content, then the feel-good property of gaming disappears. Looking back, there won’t be nostalgia. In 20 years, I’ll look at my copy of Halo 4 GOTY and shake my head because the hard drive where my special content is located long since decided to quit working. Then the exact content that I spent extra money on (as opposed to the standard Halo 4) will be gone forever, and for what? So 343 and Microsoft could save a few bucks by using their old Halo 4 discs and not manufacturing special GOTY ones? I paid for a GOTY disc, and I won’t get it.
Tell me, do other games do this as well? For example, for Borderlands GOTY, is all the extra content on the disc, or does it come with a DLC code? What GOTY editions of games do you have where the DLC and special content is on the disc, and which ones need downloads? It’s the former, the content-on-disc GOTYs, that will stand the test of time.
Leave a like or a follow if you’ve enjoyed, and be sure to head to this post to enter my Christmas Giveaway! You can enter daily for your chance to win your choice of prizes. See you next time