The trend towards free-to-play models in video games has alarmed many. The issue is, it’s a slippery slope towards free-to-start. You might think you’re getting a free experience, but you often won’t get very far if you’re not willing to lay down some of your hard-earned money.
We’re all familiar with microtransaction shenanigans, and/or mobile games that work on a recharging energy system. The key is often not directly asking for players’ cash, but insidiously making the game such a slow, slow burner without it that impatience will get the better of them.
Pay-to-win mechanics are a huge pain too. It can create an entirely uneven playing field if some in the lobby of an online title simply bought their way to powerful equipment or characters and proceeded to use them to wreak havoc.
These issues are approached in many ways across the industry, and as long as player choice is at the forefront, that’s probably the best case.
Even with all this in mind, though, there are still some fantastic unlockables that can be accessed only through gameplay alone. Here are some of the best.
10. The Family Reunion Party - Hades
As anyone who has delved into Greek Mythology will know, Zeus and his Olympian family have what could best be described as a dysfunctional relationship. At worst, it could be described as a monumental and utterly implausible disaster of a relationship.
In Supergiant Games’ fantastic roguelike Hades, these family relationships are at the fore. Hades rarely speaks of Zeus, Poseidon and the rest of the godly gang, except in the most contemptuous of tones.
As Zagreus completes more and more runs and the story of the game unfolds, though, Hades and his are reunited with Persephone, and they slowly hatch a plan to make peace with Olympus. This is the true ending of the game, and it takes an awful lot of dedication and in-game time to make it work.
Even more runs later, after Zagreus has boosted his relationship with everybody enough, he individually invites all the Olympians to the House of Hades, for the reunion party to end all reunion parties.
There’s no shortcut to making this happen; no sneaky DLC, and the exposition in this final scene is both hilarious and touching in equal measure.