Unless you're playing an open world game or RPG, chances are your game is going to be relatively short. If that’s the case, these games tend to then be padded with free updates, which is more rare compared to paid DLC packs like expansions. Back in the day, these new costumes, characters, secrets, or what have you were included on the disc, but it was tricky to unlock the content. Let's look at Resident Evil 2 as a good example since the remake just came out. Leon and Claire had alternate costumes, alternate paths, and various weapon upgrades. Plus, there were even special modes like being able to play as Hunk. In order to unlock these bonuses, you needed to get really good at the game by shaving off time, or playing on harder difficulties.
It stretched out the normal 6-8 hour double run into a pretty beefy twenty-hour experience, depending on the player level and dedication. That intro may seem to point out that I'm here to talk about why paid DLC stinks compared to the old days, but that's not what I'm getting at. This article will look at both DLC and content on discs to uncover the best and worst unlocks in video game history. You better believe I'll be bringing up Resident Evil 2 again. I should also mention that the characters I chose are sometimes noted from specific entries in a series. A good character in one game could be lousy in another. Got it?
25 Worthless: Giant Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight was a great homage to the 8-Bit era while being true to itself and providing some evolution to the genre. One of the coolest throwbacks was the inclusion of cheat codes, something barely in games today.
There’s A LOT, including a way to make Shovel Knight big, which sort of destroys the point of the game. Yes, it’s funny, but it’s also pretty worthless. That is, unless you’d rather not play the game as intended. You know, by having fun.
24 Senseless: Dark Meta Knight (Kirby Star Allies)
Kirby Star Allies was a fine platformer, especially with co-op in mind, but it was also just another Kirby game. They all kind of blend together.
Anyway, one of things I did admire was Nintendo’s continued support of the game. Since its debut in March 2018, they updated Kirby Star Allies with free DLC in the form of new characters, referencing nearly the entire catalog of the Kirby franchise. One of the lamest inclusions was Dark Meta Knight. Whenever a “dark” version of a character is introduced, it just feels lazy to me. Weren’t there better choices?
23 Worthless: Dr. Mario (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
In the original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64, there was just twelve characters altogether. For the sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Nintendo included twenty-six, over double, which was great. That said, they still missed a lot of classic characters from the Nintendo universe.
One the dumbest additions was Dr. Mario. I mean, Mario is already in the game! This feels so absentminded on their part. He does play differently at least, but who cares?
22 Senseless: Tofu (Resident Evil 2)
Resident Evil 2 may have been short, but it was jam packed with extras for the truly hardcore players. One of the strangest unlocks was a mode called The Tofu Survivor, which stars a literal piece of sentient tofu.
Like the giant version of Shovel Knight, it is pretty funny, but also kind of worthless. I mean, this seems like an inclusion one would think to add on way late in the series, like when the franchise was getting stale.
21 Worthless: Magus (Chrono Trigger)
For the better part of Chrono Trigger, Magus seems to be the main antagonist. He is the one that summons Lavos after all, so most of the game can be blamed on him.
Way late in the game, you can meet him on a cliff where you can either have him join your party, or vanquish him once and for all. He barely has any team attacks and by that point, he doesn’t get to interact in the story, so all in all he's just useless.
20 Senseless: Shuhei Yoshida (Super Time Force)
Shuhei Yoshida is the current boss of Sony Worldwide Studios. So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal. He also seems pretty forthcoming of his love of games and this industry.
As cool and nice as the man seems, he’s still an executive and a high one at that. Including him as a playable character in Super Time Force, an indie game, just seemed out of place to me. It's an inside joke not many would get.
19 Worthless: Ryu (Monster Hunter World)
Ryu was the first crossover event in Monster Hunter World. He looks just like the Street Fighter V model minus the more cel-shaded look. As wonderful as Ryu looks, it’s ultimately toothless and a betrayal to the character.
Ryu is martial artist, so he doesn’t use weapons. Wouldn’t it make sense to make him a melee-only hero in Monster Hunter World? I know it’s more like a costume, but still. What’s worse is that in order to perform a Hadouken, or Shoryuken, it costs $4 a piece. “Better” yet, they barely do any damage. What a waste of money and time.
18 Senseless: Javik (Mass Effect 3)
The Protheans are an extinct race often referenced in the world of Mass Effect. They were believed to have created a lot of the ancient technology still around, like the massive warp gates, that let interstellar travel possible.
They’re kind of a big deal. To have a Prothean be in Mass Effect 3, but as DLC, is insane to me. This isn’t just a minor DLC character, it's like universe-changing to have a live Prothean on your team. It’s just mean-spirited to have him be paid DLC.
17 Worthless: Colonel Sanders (Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity)
Colonel Sanders needs no introduction. He does, however, need some explanation as a figure of fame in Japan. To keep it short, a lot of KFC restaurants have a statue of Colonel Sanders outside that they then dress up during certain holidays, or events. He's basically a deity in Japan.
He’s even made it into games like Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity as a cross promotion between KFC and Sega. Like a lot of other entries, it’s funny, but as a character in the game, he’s pretty weak.
16 Senseless: Christel (Valkyria Chronicles 4)
Christel Ward is an officer in your rival squad in Valkyria Chronicles 4. This is a SPOILER, just to be clear before you read on. Now about halfway through she is destroyed in the middle of battle, which has some big ramifications for the story.
After the game, there is a way to revive and recruit Christel into your party, which kind of defeats a big moment in the game. It’s like if Aeris could have been revived in Final Fantasy VII.
15 Worthless: Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid V)
Hideo Kojima, before he left Konami, was the longtime creator, producer, and director on the Metal Gear series since its debut in 1987. So, of course he was going to insert himself in his final installment of the franchise: Metal Gear Solid V.
He’s a recruitable soldier in the game with some pretty high stats. Nearly all soldiers you recruit can then be used as playable characters in extra missions. All except for big story characters like Revolver Ocelot. So while he is valuable, not being playable is odd and makes his inclusion less exciting.
14 Senseless: Alucard (Super Bomberman R)
Super Bomberman R was a crazy release in two ways. First of all, it was the first new release in the franchise in almost a decade; second, after Hideo Kojima left Konami, it seemed like the company was done making video games. Then, this was announced as a Switch launch game.
Later on, it was re-released on other platforms like the PS4, which added in DLC characters like Alucard from the Castlevania franchise. So, with that story in mind, I found it kind of insulting to include Alucard when that series has been dormant since 2014.
13 Worthless: NegaScott (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is one of my favorite games of all time. It makes me hurt inside knowing that it has been delisted from PSN and XBLA so that no one will ever know its joys again unless they bought it before the deletion.
Fluff aside, NegaScott, as the name would suggest, is the wicked version of Scott Pilgrim. If you’re able to fight and defeat him on the world map, he’ll become playable. Like the other “dark” characters, it seems like a waste considering other characters were not playable in NegaScott’s place.
12 Senseless: Hercules (God of War II)
Hercules should be labeled as just an alternate skin for Kratos in God of War II. Costume, skin, or whatever, it did change Kratos’ appearance and his play style.
It's also worth mentioning that this hero wouldn't make his actual debut in the story until God of War III on PS3 as a villain because of course he was. The design is also quite different. Anyway, it's no Herculean task to unlock him, but it's not worth it no matter what.
11 Worthless: Gogo (Final Fantasy VI)
Final Fantasy VI, or as it was known in the west for a large period as Final Fantasy III, had the largest cast of playable characters up to that point. Unless you want to count spinoffs like Final Fantasy Tactics, it still has the biggest roster in the mainline entries.
Not all of them were created equal though, and I could easily nominate others as senseless inclusions like Umaro. Gogo just felt like a better choice since his only gimmick is being able to mimic others. Wow, what a great party member…
10 Senseless: Base Goku (Dragon Ball FighterZ)
Dragon Ball FighterZ was easily the best fighting game in 2018, let alone the very best Dragon Ball game ever created. It's gorgeous and stays true to the anime with plenty of fun Easter eggs for veteran fans.
The one flaw, if I had to name any, is the inclusion of too many Gokus. The game needs two at the most, but there are four! Base Goku is the pre-Super Saiyan adult version of the character, if the name didn't give it away. I would also argue there are too many Saiyans in general.
9 Worthless: Gray Knight (Castle Crashers)
Through various iterations and DLC, there are now over thirty characters you can play as in Castle Crashers. Unfortunately a lot of these characters pale in comparison to your starter elemental knights.
I could make a ranking list of least-worst to most-worst, but instead, I'll just focus on one of the first unlocks, which is the Gray Knight. He has a special, but it's not elemental magic. He's just a knight in the King's army a.k.a canon fodder.
8 Senseless: Wizzro (Hyrule Warriors)
There are some pretty lame inclusions in Hyrule Warriors, but my beef is with Wizzro. He’s a new character created specifically for the game as one of Link’s antagonists.
I’m all for creating new characters, but I don’t like the fact that actual wizards in The Legend of Zelda universe could have been used instead as playable characters. Agahnim from A Link to the Past for example could have been great. Instead, we have this spooky-robed weirdo.
7 Worthless: J. Jonah Jameson (LEGO Marvel Super Heroes)
It’s hard to imagine a game with more playable characters than LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. There’s too many to go through now, just like Castle Crashers, so I will just bring up the most ridiculous: J. Jonah Jameson.
Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to put him in here? He's not a hero in any regard. He's a villain and an instigator, constantly putting others down and vilifying Spider-Man. I know he's had his moments in certain comic arcs, but the guy's a chump.
6 Senseless: Ingrid (Project X Zone 2)
Project X Zone 2 is a really quirky strategy RPG that crosses Sega, Nintendo, Bandai Namco, and Capcom characters all together from a bunch of different franchises. To represent Street Fighter, Capcom decided to throw in Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and… Ingrid.
Does that ring any bells? If not, that’s okay because she’s only appeared in two fighting games: Capcom Fighting Evolution and Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX. It's not like she's a bad character, but her inclusion above so many others is just puzzling to me.
5 Worthless: Cloud (Final Fantasy Tactics)
Okay, now look. I love Cloud from Final Fantasy VII as much as the next guy, but he is not worth your time in Final Fantasy Tactics. For starters you can't unlock him until the near end of the game and he starts at level one. One!
Your characters are at least around fifty by this point, meaning all random encounters are too, as levels scale with you, making leveling him up near impossible. I did it back in the day when I had more time and I certainly regret it now.
4 Worthless: Doughnut Drake (Uncharted)
“Doughnut Drake” is more of a costume, or skin for Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series that changes his physiology to make him, well, bigger. It also deepens his voice and makes him breath a lot heavier when running.
It’s funny, I admit, but it doesn’t make the game more fun. It may have been hilarious at first, but then it went on for the PS3 trilogy. At least Naughty Dog grew up when they released the fourth game. I guess by that point, they matured.
3 Worthless: Pink Gold Peach (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe)
Mario Kart 8 was already a great game, the best of the series in fact, but the re-release on Switch made it just a bit better. Well, in most ways, but some of the new character inclusions were not, how do you say, good.
I've gone on a rant why the silver and gold Mario Amiibo are worthless, so I won't retread that territory for that Mario racer. Instead, my eyes are on the pink gold Peach. The only thing positive here is the equality factor.
2 Worthless: Double Bro Seven (Broforce)
Broforce is a fantastic throwback to 8-Bit and 16-Bit run-and-gun shooters like Contra, but it pays homage to 80s and 90s action films as well. To protect themselves from being sued, I assume, all of the character names have been altered. For example, instead of Rambo, we have Rambro.
It's basically just the name with “bro” thrown in somewhere. Who you play is randomized and every single time I got Double Bro Seven I wanted to scream. His gadgets blow!
1 Worthless: Mary Jane (Spider-Man 2)
Prior to Marvel's Spider-Man on PS4, a lot of fans thought the movie tie-in to Spider-Man 2 was the best game the webslinger had received. Even though it doesn't hold up as well, it's still a marvel for the system.
That said, there is a weird inclusion that just felt confusing. You can unlock Mary Jane in her foreign garb. You could even connect with the real Mary Jane, which made the game get recalled for obvious reasons. I'm not joking.