The Most (and Almost) Disappointing Season Passes of All Time

Despite growing transparency regarding what DLC season passes have to offer, picking one up early can still be a bit of a gamble. Here are the passes that ended up being a losing bet, and ones that are almost so.

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The ongoing debate over the value of season passes rages on, fueled by future content plans and pricing for games like Evolve and Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. It's clear that, even though season passes are fairly common these days, publishers and developers can still be murky with what they're offering gamers. Even with general descriptions, picking up a season pass can be a lot like gambling. If you pick one up before all the content is announced or released, then you don't really know what you're pre-ordering.

Here are some of the worst season passes that have released to date, with some that are on the border, and others that started on shaky ground.

Evolve [Disappointment]

Let's address the Goliath in the room right away. Between the multitude of pricing models, rather pricey character skin sets, and a Hunter Season Pass that doesn't offer a complete set of upcoming content - Evolve's DLC plans remain a big, overpriced mess. Some would say that it serves as a prime example of how publishers can go overboard in squeezing more money out of players. One could argue that a typical Call of Duty or Battlefield season pass is considerably more expensive. But after a few years of them, fans pretty much know what to expect. Evolve is a brand new game, and even its biggest fans may have trouble justifying its DLC and season pass offerings.


Dead or Alive 5: Last Round [Disappointment]

There's little doubt that Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is the kind of game that likes to play dress-up. However, a Costume Pass that goes for $93 really pushes players' sense of fashion to the limit. With five packs in total, players will be paying about $19 per costume pack, some with no more than 10 outfits. That's quite a wardrobe investment. The Costume Pass does not include any of the game's pre-order costume packs, nor does it include any extra characters or arenas. The bundle specifically dedicated to dressing up your characters with different looks, including an exclusive Marie Rose Angelic Maid outfit. It's too bad she can't actually tidy up your house.


Assassin's Creed 3 [Disappointment]

Ubisoft deserves credit for creativity when it comes to the Assassin's Creed 3 alternate alternate reality story, The Tyranny of King Washington. What if Connor had never become an Assassin? At the same time, what if George Washington obtained an Apple of Eden and its power corrupted him? The multi-part story gets praise for its ambition, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired. Firstly, for a plot might be completely over the top, complete with a pyramid being built in the middle of New York City and George Washington sipping tea from a throne, but it's delivered with dour seriousness. Also, with guards peering out from a giant pyramid, there was practically no point in running along rooftops anymore. Last, but not least, it is extremely disappointing that you can't climb the pyramid in a game where half the fun is in climbing really tall buildings. Between the gameplay quirks and a plot that doesn't provide a lot of new insight about the world or its characters, The Tyranny of King Washington is a side story you can easily skip.


Aliens: Colonial Marines [Disappointment]

Some might consider Aliens: Colonial Marines as an easy target, and picking on it is a lot like punching a bratty five year old. However, it would be wrong of us to overlook the hype that led up to the game's release, which was enough to convince many fans to blindly pick up the season pass in addition to pre-ordering the game. Next came the deep disappointment in both. Three of the four content packs added maps to the floundering multiplayer. Although the Stasis Interrupted mini-campaign, which bridges some of the events between Alien and Aliens, turned out to be very good, it was too little too late. It would get lost in the sea of disappointment Colonial Marines is drowned in.


Titanfall [Borderline]

Given the nature of Titanfall's gameplay, it's probably a little naive to expect too much from its $25 season pass. Still, it would have been nice if the pass included a little more than three map packs, each with three maps. How about a new Titan? Maybe a new gun or two to master? Titanfall's gameplay would eventually be expanded through free updates, which includes the Frontier Defense cooperative mode, but that only underscores how disappointing the premium content can be. The maps are fun and all, but it's difficult to get over the "that's it?" feeling when it comes to the paidseason pass.


Batman: Arkham Origins [Borderline]

The Batman series hit a number of missteps with Arkham Origins, and its season pass did the same thing. The pass had a pretty rocky start. Even for an relatively inexpensive ($20) pass, the bundle was a little light on content. A third of it is made up of costume packs that don't add any additional gameplay or story. Worse yet, some of the DLC costumes were already in the main game and could be unlocked through regular gameplay. Fortunately, the season pass redeemed itself with the Initiation challenge mode, which brings players all the way back to when Bruce Wayne was just starting to become Batman, and Cold, Cold Heart, a mini-campaign featuring Mr. Freeze.


Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor [Borderline]

It's too early to determine how well the Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor season pass balances between value and cost. Although the main game is undeniably good, the additional content hit with a disappointing start by focusing on challenge scenarios and skins. The Lord of the Hunt campaign quickly made up for the weak start, and the season pass has a strong chance of ending on a high note if the upcoming The Bright Lord story mission is just as impressive. A lot hinges on how well the final add-on plays out.


Borderlands: The Pre-sequel [Borderline]

One thing is becoming abundantly clear with the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel season pass content: this isn't the Borderlands 2 approach. While Borderlands 2 released four mini campaigns in its season pass, the Pre-Sequel's pass largely focuses on adding new characters to the roster. Sure, there's the Holodome Onslaught arena mode, which may appeal to certain players, but it looks like the main attractions are the Handsome Jack Doppelganger and Lady Hammerlock the Baroness (both cost $9.99 separately). The developers at 2K Australia argue that additional characters offer greater replay value, but that's a tough one to believe. Especially when forking over $30 for an arena mode, a level cap increase, two characters, and one mini campaign. Other add-on content, like the Shock Drop Slaughter Pit, are not included in the season pass. The premium campaign content could turn things around, but so far, it looks like The Pre-Sequel might have a much shorter shelf life than previous Borderlands games.


Saints Row: The Third [Borderline]

It's tough to say whether the Saints Row: The Third season pass, which originally sold for $20 was worth the money. Three mission packs and the Nyte Blayde accessory/vehicle pack doesn't sound like a lot. Plus, as fun as the missions are, players can blow through them very quickly. Some might argue that although the missions are short and sweet, the fact that they're so much fun makes up for the cost. Others might point out that the season pass was a tad overpriced, given its content. The argument turned out to be a moot point, since Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package includes the full game, season pass, and the non-pass DLC in one convenient, low cost, bundle.


BioShock Infinite [Borderline]

It's difficult to believe now that BioShock Infinite's season pass started off rather disappointingly, especially given how well Burial at Sea was received. However, the $20 pass was a little scant on content. The Early Bird Special Pack provided a nice bonus in the main game, but was soon forgotten as players progressed through the story. The Clash in the Clouds add-on, which introduces a series of combat challenges, is a so-so expansion, but it's not an experience that really sticks out in memory. So, a lot rested on how Burial at Sea would be received. Fortunately, it turned out to be a fantastic side story... if you play its two parts consecutively. If you played Part One when it originally released in November 2013, you might have been frustrated by the mission's brevity while you waited four long months for the second part to release. Part Two concludes the Burial at Sea story, and it was so impressive that it completely redeems the season pass and some of its weaker offerings.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    February 23, 2015 11:00 AM

    Steven Wong posted a new article, The Most (and Almost) Disappointing Season Passes of All Time

    • reply
      February 23, 2015 11:02 AM

      that's awkwardly phrased, The Most (and Almost) Disappointing Season of All Time Passes?

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        February 23, 2015 11:03 AM

        ooooh I'm reading it wrong, gotcha

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          February 23, 2015 12:12 PM

          it's still awkward. The Almost Disappointing Season Passes Of All Time?

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            February 23, 2015 12:20 PM

            if you drop 'the most' it's totally awkward, but there's no reason to drop 'the most' the problem is season passes is lacking context without reading the article

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      February 23, 2015 11:19 AM

      Can't believe that Dying Light didn't make the list. It contained 2 "hardcore" missions that are like 10 minutes of gameplay.

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      February 23, 2015 12:05 PM

      TitanFall season pass adds 9 maps, not 3. There is 3 new maps in each single DLC and there were 3 that makes up the season pass. It is somewhat good value

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        February 23, 2015 12:21 PM

        I wanted more motherfucking Titans and weapon choices.

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      February 23, 2015 12:18 PM

      I'm waiting for Sunset Overdrive's next story-based DLC. I hope there's more to it than the first one. It was fun, but it was too darn short. :/

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      February 23, 2015 1:02 PM

      I hope Shadow of Mordor final DLC is good, it certainly has the most interesting premise.

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      February 23, 2015 2:54 PM

      WONDERFUL article, but you must include Max Payne 3 in this list. That Season Pass was pure, unadulterated shit.

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      February 23, 2015 10:40 PM

      Of All Time? All of these are games that came out within a couple of years. Season passes are a new and terrible phenomena.

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      February 23, 2015 10:45 PM

      How can you fairly say the Evolve season pass is bad when the new content isn't even out yet?

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      February 24, 2015 6:38 AM

      I like this article. It really hits home from a consumer perspective. Please do more of this kind of stuff!