A free update for Resident Evil 4 has landed that introduces a fan-favourite game mode ‘The Mercenaries’ that allows players to fight against enemy hordes for high score superiority in a race against the clock. It’s a staple of the Resident Evil franchise and a great addition to a game we called “a superb and modern take on a classic” in our review. Unfortunately, Mercenaries wasn’t the only new addition to the game’s latest update, with microtransactions also being added in, allowing players to purchase weapon upgrades with real-world money.
The Steam description for the weapon upgrade microtransactions reads as follows, “To gun enthusiasts, knife collectors, and lovers of weapons of any and all kinds: here’s your ticket to the gun show! Specifically a ticket to be redeemed at the Merchant’s shop. With this, you’ll have access to a weapon’s exclusive upgrade at any time, regardless of the weapon’s level. Not only that, but once unlocked, the upgrade itself is free of charge!
For just shy of AU $5, you can nab yourself one of the free weapon upgrades that will allow you to obtain your weapon’s special final upgrade that provides effects such as “increase power by 2x”.
For your average Resident Evil 4 player, these added microtransactions will likely be completely inconsequential. Optional paid DLC in a single-player game is unfortunately nothing new at this point, with Capcom specifically falling into this routine with many of their past releases. With the game balanced (and balanced well, mind you) around the standard method of progression, it’s also hard to envisage who would want to buy these Upgrade Tickets. In many ways, you’re just taking away a fun layer of progression and removing that rewarding feeling of completely upgrading your favourite weapon based on your own merits. It’s possible that a player who wants to make the game easier for themselves may benefit from these microtransactions, but building accessibility around paid DLC seems a little cruel, not to mention the base game already contains a fairly generous ‘Easy Mode’ that should get the job done.
Whilst some gamers are firmly against microtransactions in full-priced, single-player games, others may see it as harmless, ignorable, and something that has no impact on their personal gameplay experience. Regardless of your perspective on the matter, I think we can all agree that tactically adding these things to a game shortly after release and once all reviews have been written seems a little manipulative. Currently one of the best-reviewed games of the year, Capcom have again found a way to have their cake and eat it too. What do you think of the whole situation?