atlas's Lv. UP 10 (1-2) (Xbox 360) review

A fascinating moral dilemma

We live in an age of uncertainty. 
And so it has come to this. Namco's DLC for Tales of Vesperia, one of the best JRPG's in recent years, allows you to level your characters with no grinding or tedium, grant difficult to find items, and as much Gald as you can shake a stick at. If your wallet is deep enough, you'll be pretty much set to obliterable any challenge the game throws at you, thanks to this handy DLC. 
Now, anyone who has seen the Soulcalibur IV DLC will know that Namco's track record in this field has not been stellar, to say the least. However, I can genuinely see a scenario where these downloads could come in use. The game does get challenging by the end, perhaps not as much as Lost Odyssey, but certainly the boss fights and giant moster battles are events that you have to work up to. It has less JRPG grind than most, but without keeping your team battle ready, the game's greatest challenges with destroy you. 
And so imagine if you will a scenario where you have levelled for two hours, grinding away killing monsters. You've got tons of Gald in your pocket, plenty of items, a strong team, and are finally ready to challenge that huge monster. And after several attempts, you still lose. I'm sure ragequitting could well happen at this point. But wait - your friends at Namco Bandai are here to help, and for the small price of 300 MS points you can immediately jump ten levels. Ten levels is a long time, at least five hours of grinding, and when you've bought it, you can steamroll your way through that monster and move on to the game's next challenge. 
Here's the thing, though; many of the hardest battles in the game are optional. You unlock some cool stuff and plenty of rewards for killing the game's giant monsters, but in the scheme of things, it is not necessary to kill them all. So the question that you must ask is this; are you that much of a completionist, and do you hate grinding enough, to lay down real-world money for what is effectively a cheat. 
When confronted with this question, my personal answer was no. Something doesn't feel right about paying your way through a game. If I come to a boss that I simply can't beat without levelling up for hours, and it's not absolutely essential to beat the game, I'll give it a pass. I can let than one go. And as someone with almost unlimited free time and, while not unlimited fortune, enough money that 300 MS points would be an insignificant purchase, I should be this DLC's target audience, especially since I love Tales of Vesperia. But I won't buy it. 
I will, however, not say a word against you if you choose to do so. It's not a huge amount of money, and is genuinely useful, especially if you love JRPG's but have no time for grinding. It really comes down to you. If you can justify this purchase yourself, and can get over the hang-up of paying for a cheat, then go to town. But I'm sure there will be plenty of people who see this DLC as completely ridiculous. And you know what? They're not wrong.


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