What is it about microtransactions that get players so riled up? We find ourselves in an interesting time when we look at how Microtransactions evolved over the years and how we are reaching a point where it is slowly getting accepted. Not completely by any stretch of the imagination, but with the recent addition of the Resident Evil 4 Remake, the debate has been sparked once again.
Now before we go any further, we do need to establish one thing before anything else: The remake of Resident Evil 4 is quite simply a masterpiece: Both the original game and the remake. Some may still prefer the original due to how campy it can get (and I’ll admit too that I do miss the silly humor too), but there’s no denying that Capcom has done the unthinkable to not only remake an all-time great, but to make it just as good, if not better than the original.
With all that out of the way, let’s quickly explore what exactly is going on with these tickets.
What’s in the purchase?
With the recent launch of Mercenaries, Capcaom took the time to set up a new Microtransaction for players under the title of “Upgrade Tickets.” Now, what are these tickets and what do they do? Going from the description off Steam, it simply states: “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!” Free of charge after you bought the ticket with real money, but let’s continue.
You know it’s special because it says “Exclusive”
For those who have yet to start playing Resident Evil 4 yet, when you fully upgrade a weapon, you have the chance to unlock the special upgrade associated with that weapon you spent all that time maxing the stats for. These can range from additional power or ammo capacity, extra penetration, or critical damage, faster fire rate, or simply having unlimited ammo. The catch though is that if you do want these exclusive upgrades, you will need to farm up 30 Spinels.
For context, many current speculate you could be able to get about 80-100 spinels in a regular playthrough, and that’s not counting the random items you should be using the spinels on before you consider getting yourself a ticket. This would mean that if you were giving yourself the due diligence to try and get every single thing in the game and get it down to a completion, you’re not going to have many spinels left over by the end of your first playthrough to get many exclusive upgrades.
And should also note that the current cost of these tickets are $2.99 individually, or you can buy a bundle of three tickets for $6.99 or a bundle of five tickets for $9.99.
Do you really need it though?
This is the question many are asking at this point as a means to brush off the question about the microtransactions. After all, before we saw the inclusion of the microtransactions, Resident Evil 4 was already well on its way to having the best launch ever for Resident Evil selling over four million copies. And out of those who bought the game, a fair good sum of them already shot Saddler in the face with a rocket while others already have speed run times (both as fresh starts and New Game Plus) that go under two hours. Yeah, you’ll probably die several times along the way, but you’ll get through it well enough depending on the difficulty.
If this was considered “Too Difficult,” no amount of exclusive upgrade tickets is going to save you.
So we can say that these tickets are quite unnecessary considering the sum of those who already devoted so much time to the game already. And chances are that they did not need to think about the tickets if they are using repeat runs to collect those spinels in extra playthroughs to get the most out of their weapons if they haven’t already.
That’s it right? What why is this such a big deal if it hardly affects those who already got their money’s worth from Resident Evil 4? The problem isn’t necessarily that it got this update, but rather “HOW” it got the update.
Why are Post-Launch Microtransactions a problem?
To put it as simple as possible, the idea of a game having Microtransactions in a game after the launch comes off as being disingenuous. Imagine you are someone unfamiliar with a title and chose to read the reviews for a game and wanted to buy it. And best of all, you don’t have to worry about any additional charges because the reviewers never did mention anything about “any additional in-game purchases.” But then you find out that, yes: something did get included post-launch that can charge you extra if you’re not paying attention: the review now becomes disingenuous.
Worst of all, most reviews do not go back to revise a review when this happens and what some of the microtransactions can do really can affect the overall gameplay. So much so, that it can easily teeter on the edge of “Pay-to-Win.”
“So what?” you may ask. “I know what it is and I won’t toss money at it, why should I care?” The answer to that is simple: You are not the target. The idea behind these Post-Launch Microtransactions is to try and get those who might lose their patience and choose to toss money at their problem. And if this continues, who knows how it can elevate from there. After all, we have seen the evolution of Microtransactions over the years, and if you give an inch, some companies will charge for a mile.
And if they can get away with adding extra charges without it reflecting in reviews, then it can feel like publishers don’t really care for the consumers as much as their money. Best example of this being the last time this occurred: the remake of Crash Tag Racing.
So then. Is Resident Evil 4 including microtransactions in the game post-launch a problem? In the end, we can simply say it is… subjective. Depending on who you ask it can be one of two things: It is either no big deal or just another chapter in a long-running story of companies utilizing underhanded tactics.
In a way, we have to be completely honest with ourselves and ask a simple question: Does an amazing game get a free pass when this happens? And to be quite honest: It shouldn’t. It isn’t to say the game’s overall presentation is ruined, but it can certainly stain it when it feels like a company wants to sqeeze out a few extra dollars out.
At the end of the day, we can agree the remake of Resident Evil 4 is incredible and chances are that for the majority of us, we likely will not inquire for any upgrade tickets. But we do need to be aware that this is a trend that needs to stop, or else we will find ourselves facing much bigger problems in the near future.
Resident Evil 4 is currently available for PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.