If you thought that red stuff that flies out of a 3D actor's body when they get hit with a sword or impaled with a spear was a common trait for the gameplay experience, think again. Creative Assembly has unleashed a new DLC pack for Total War: Rome II that enables blood and gore.

The pack is available right now on the Steam Store for $2.99. The Blood & Gore pack contains the following content:

• New blood-spattered front end
• Graphics option for turning on/off blood
• Blood VFX on arrow/pilum/javelin impacts
• Blood VFX on rock/stone impacts
• Blood VFX on death animations
• Blood shader on death animations and attackers
• Decapitation on selected death animations
• Dismemberment on selected death animations
• Blood decals on terrain
• Sound effects for all blood animations

So essentially, you're paying for a feature that's basically standard-fare in every single other game out there. I remember joking about stuff like this becoming DLC, we also joked about endings becoming DLC and endings became DLC. We joked about difficulty settings becoming DLC and difficulty settings became DLC.

It amazes me that we've reached the point where blood and gore is now DLC. I have to be honest, I didn't see this one coming.

I know there are plenty of apologists out there who say that blood and gore isn't necessary and that if it's extra gamers need to pay for it, but hot freaking dang! At what point does this end? It's almost like gamers now have to go through a checklist to ensure they get a complete game: Does it have disc-locked content? No? Good. Are all the playable characters/factions included? Yes? Great. All the blood, gore and multiplayer is packaged in as well? They are? Excellent! Oh wait, it doesn't come with any weapons... how am I supposed to fight hordes of the undead with no weapons? $5.99 per weapon pack? What?! Seriously?! Cue Angry Joe rage-video.

Now I don't mind cosmetic DLC – and in a way we could consider blood and gore cosmetic – but at the same time there are some cosmetics that most gamers have come to expect to be part of the core experience. If it's a fighting game we assume that we'll have all the necessary moves to compete against every other fighter available on the roster. If it's a shooting game we expect to pay fair price (in retail games) for an honest, level playing field against online opponents. If it's a racing game we expect that things like anti-lock brakes and traction control are standard-fare to the experience. And if it's a war game, weapons, blood, gore and the battlefield motif just seems like a complimentary feature for the overall experience. But I guess I was wrong for assuming so.

If you don't mind paying for something that's included in just about every other war game, feel free to pick up the DLC right now for Total War: Rome II. Some gamers have excused this feature that Sega did it keep the 'Teen' rating while others made the excuse that artists and sound engineers had to work on the content so they should be paid for it... I'm just trying to figure out why this wasn't included as something you could turn on and off with a parental switch?

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