Every now and then we like to highlight some of the most interesting post-launch content drops for games that we enjoy. Here’s a look at DLC for Lost Judgment (The Kaito Files), Disciples: Liberation (Paths to Madness), Beat Saber (Fall Out Boy) and City of Gangsters (Criminal Record).
Lost Judgment – The Kaito Files Story Expansion review (PS5)
Over the past few years, RGG Studio has been releasing both new titles in their Yakuza franchise and remasters of classic entries in the franchise. Judgment and Lost Judgment were spin-off titles within the franchise, but it wasn’t until now that they worked on additional DLC content for their games. The Kaito Files focuses entirely on Masaharu Kaito, who was an enforcer-type sidekick in Lost Judgment but now gets his own time in the spotlight during a ten hour adventure.
Kaito is a former Yakuza, which regularly shows through displays of brutal combat – making this expansion something that sits comfortably between the Yakuza and (Lost) Judgment styles of gameplay. It’s more linear than those games were, and Kaito’s impulsive and sometimes violent nature works well in giving players a cinematic experience that tells us a story that also gives us more insight in his past. Both narratively and in terms of action, The Kaito Files is an excellent journey with some solid pacing throughout, combining hard hitting action with dramatic character development.
The combat sequences in The Kaito Files are excellent, but feel at odds with the occasional stealth portions that we remember from Lost Judgment. As with some of the detective elements, they can feel like they drag on just a little too much – briefly hurting the game’s otherwise stellar pace. Luckily, these are just minor issues, as The Kaito Files is a great first stab at a story expansion within the franchise. Thanks to a tightly directed story and a fantastic protagonist, this is a must-play adventure. It may in part be personal preference, but Masaharu Kaito actually feels like a vastly superior protagonist. His troubled past, his mix of brutal combat skills and wit and an engaging storyline all make this one a winner.
Disciples: Liberation – Paths to Madness review (PS5)
It may not have been one of the games that claimed the spotlight during last year’s holiday period, but Disciples: Liberation was one of our highest-rated games in the period in which it launched. Now, developer Frima Studio and publisher Kalypso Media are back with new content for the game, in the shape of the Paths to Madness DLC. It’s out for all platforms – we played the PlayStation version.
After the 60+ hour campaign of the base game, we were eager to see what Paths to Madness would bring to the table in terms of both quantity and quality. And at this point, it’s probably worth pointing out that the content in this DLC integrates rather seamlessly with the base game. If you’ve yet to start your journey through Nevendaar, that means you’ll simply be playing an expanded version of the same adventure – one with a few extra story tangents and side quests and a few new enemies, dungeons and relics.
For those who have already played through the game before, the new content will be much easier to spot, and will scale accordingly in difficulty if you’re already fully leveled up. This is the way we played, and although we had fun diving back into the world of Nevendaar it was disappointing to find that we ran out of new content in under three hours – both when you consider the price of the expansion and the length of the base game in comparison.
How is the included content though? We really liked the new characters, which includes the Daughter of Sin – a former member of the legions of the damned. It was also nice to have additional items to experiment with, and some of the new locations look good as well. On the other hand, the quest content felt too generic in nature – lacking voiceovers and some of the depth in writing and gameplay objectives that made the original game so good. This is an expansion that’s a tad underwhelming for existing players in that sense, but does manage to enrich the game as a whole – worth looking into if you’re looking to start anew or do another playthrough.
Beat Saber – Fall Out Boy pack review (Quest)
Ever since Beat Saber developer Beat Games joined the Oculus/Facebook/Meta ranks, there’s been a steady flow of high profile licensed content for the game, which remains one of the most popular VR titles out there. The latest name to get featured in the game’s line-up is Fall Out Boy, who now feature in the game alongside names like Billie Eilish, Green Day and Lady Gaga. The DLC pack features eight songs, which can also be bought separately.
Included are some of the bands biggest hits, like “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race”, “Dance, Dance” and “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)”, but what’s also interesting is that some of Beat Saber’s recent gameplay additions have also made their way into this one. There are subtle visual changes as well, but two new mechanics are the multi-hit ‘chain’ notes and the ‘arc’ notes. Chains are multi-part notes that consist of smaller note fragments that you have to hit all in one swipe, while Arc notes remind us a lot of Synth Riders, requiring you to follow a trail for the duration of the note.
The other paid DLC packs for the game don’t feature these note types yet, so for that reason alone it’s interesting to see a few new things in the game, even if you’re not a massive Fall Out Boy fan. If you are, however, then it’s great to see that they didn’t skimp on content here – you can get eight different tracks, with a discount if you buy all of them.
City of Gangsters – Criminal Record review (PC)
We first saw City of Gangsters from SomaSim in action back in the summer of 2020, and the crime tycoon game – published by Kasedo Games – has come a long way since the its pre-release state we saw back then. It released on Steam last August, and was followed by the gambling-centered Atlantic City DLC a few months later. Now, a new expansion called Criminal Record is adding more detailed and specialized roles to your crew members. Time for a closer look.
While “roles” are the big thing that’s being pushed for this release, it also – like Atlantic City – features a new game map. Criminal Record gives you access to Philadelphia, which is a relatively wealthy location compared to the game’s default map, offering plenty of ways to make money – including the risky fast track towards fortune that’s a bank heist or two.
Roles factor into this as well, as specialized units can give your crew members more character and identity once they get to the rank of captain. This is a definite step forward for the game, as it creates nuances to the gameplay (you can have a dedicated lookout when committing crimes, for instance) while also adding personality to your crew. Where everyone on the crew used to feel more or less the same even though they had different tasks to perform, captains now feel very distinct and worth protecting because of their unique skills. To reflect this, the game now also displays your crew with a hierarchy, another element that improves City of Gangsters’ management mechanics. You could argue that the gameplay tweaks that these roles provide should have been part of a regular title update though, so we want to repeat that Criminal Record also comes with a brand new map to play on – one that feels distinct enough to (alongside the new roles) feel fresh again.