With the embargo lifted, glowing reviews have begun to pile in for developer Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City. A follow-up to the widely praised Arkham Asylum, the latest in a holiday boutique of named titles comes with a rather dubious business decision behind it, courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive.
Inserted into this sequel is Catwoman, not simply as an ancillary character, but an important piece of the single player narrative if reviews are to be believed. If the game isn't purchased new, out goes Catwoman. She's being caged behind what Warner has dubbed the "VIP Pass," interesting then that Warner doesn't consider a customer without an Internet connection a VIP. How can that customer without broadband access who plunked down their $60 access that single player content? They can't.
Gamestop traditionally spits out a code at the register for used game buyers, so those who try to be a little smarter with their money can still make good on the Catwoman fiasco without paying an additional $10 (the cost for those without a code, or for multi-gamer households). However, as usual, smaller independent shops without that much clout are unable to compete.
Interestingly enough, there are multiple "perfect" reviews out there for Arkham City, and neither of those 10/10 write-ups consider the VIP Pass. Lower scoring ones do. Is it necessary to mention crummy business practices in the critique of a product? Is there any reason not to? Can a game be perfect if part of it is forever locked for a section of the game playing populace?
Journalistic integrity be damned apparently.