Fantasy Flight Games recently published a series of connected, downloadable scenarios for their Warhammer 40K Roleplay game lines. This blog entry briefly reviews the Deathwatch scenario Falling Star from that series.
Without getting into details, the Kill-Team's mission in Falling Star takes them onto a Space Hulk to retrieve a lost artifact. As such, the mission set-up is not too original and while the plot contains some neat complications, it is nothing a GM couldn't homebrew themselves. And here is where the problems of Falling Star begin and end: what value does it really have for the customer (aka your average DW GM)?
In conclusion, it's an inexpensive PDF that is useful if you need to come up quickly with a mission and don't have an afternoon to spent on rolling your own. However, if FFG is testing the waters for future PDF releases here, they are going about it the wrong way. Basic plots can be easily devised by any GM worth their salt. Creative mission ideas can be found easily on FFG forums. What GMs truly need is added (quality) detail. Detailed locations and NPCs, ideally with illustrations and maps. If they were to deliver that in a downloadable mission, a price hike to $10 or $15 would be very well worth the price.
Alternatively, if FFG was bent on selling plots to their customers, then, arguably, it would be preferable to publish non-standard missions which take a Kill-Team out of the usual rut of a Space Hulk dungeon-crawl. While the mission itself is alright, its only justification for publication comes from being part of a series of scenarios.
The good news is that the publications signal that the old game lines haven't been completely abandoned. Here's just hoping that FFG tweaks their basic approach to DLC; they have proven able to make changes to their games in the past after all.