Editor: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
DLC and expansions share the sole purpose of adding extra playability to games, but while their ends are the same, often their executions are not. There is much controversy about DLC, specifically Day One or On-Disc DLC which could have been included in the original product, whereas some cry out for the return of expansion packs, which they feel held far much more extra content and appeal than their downloadable counterparts. Despite this, DLC sales sky-rocket, adding to people’s experiences daily and their are certainly some that are far better than others; Here are some of the DLCs I feel stand out:
Old World Blues (Fallout: New Vegas)
While Fallout: New Vegas was by no means a revolutionary game, the one thing it did exceptionally well was downloadable content. Winning the “Best Downloadable Content” award from Inside Gaming and netting a nomination in the Spike Video Game Awards, Old World Blues was undoubtedly the best DLC for New Vegas. The plot had you follow the attempts of the Courier to reclaim his brain after a botched lobotomy left him alive yet brainless. The brief storyline took the player along the comedic mishaps which eventually lead you to your brain and the side quests and exploration of the DLC location, the Big MT, could last up to 20 hours which is fantastic value for the R95 paid for it.
The Shivering Isles (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)
The Shivering Isles was Bethesda’s way of saying sorry for horse armour, allowing the player access to the realm of Oblivion possessed by Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Insanity. The download/expansion added a whole extra explorable world to the game and with it, an extra storyline and all the extra loot and collectables that come with it. The thing that made The Shivering Isles such an iconic expansion is the nature of the world it added to the game; Sheogorath’s realm was vibrant, irrational and flamboyant as opposed to Cyrodiil’s generally typical RPG cities and locations. Later included in the Oblivion GOTY Edition, which itself is still worth a buy today, The Shivering Isles cemented itself as a legendary DLC.
Peer Review (Portal 2)
Portal 2 won many people over with its iconic and amusing narrative and engrossing gameplay, especially on the co-op front, where challenges would often test both parties’ skill as well as their logic to the maximum. The Peer Review pack added to this in the form some truly mind-bending extra co-op levels. The pack added about 5-10 hours of gameplay, depending on how quickly you solved the puzzles, but were excellently constructed and added a few of the notorious Glad0s taunts. What truly capped off the excellent performance of this DLC was its price: 100% Free. Need any further motivation?
Secret Armory Of General Knoxx (Borderlands)
Borderlands was a frenetic, over-the-top, non-stop adrenaline rush of action through about 60 hours for 2 playthroughs, which slapped you around, chased you with guns and left you wanting more. This is where the Secret Armory came in. The Secret Armory was the third of four downloadable add-ons for Borderlands and, in my opinion, the best of them, it was far more difficult than the others barring The Underdome and gave access to new vehicles, a plethora of new enemies, a new area twice the size of Zombie Island and access to the most ridiculously difficult boss battle this side of Dark Souls and the Ur-Dragon, Crawmerax. Now available in the Borderlands GOTY Edition at about R140, there’s almost no excuse to have not tried this out at this point.
The Darkspawn Chronicles (Dragon: Age Origins)
While not the longest, most mind-blowing, largest or even best value for money DLC ever created, The Darkspawn Chronicles was a fantastic piece of DLC because it gave you the “What if?” factor. The premise of the DLC is that your protagonist in Dragon Age: Origins had died in his initiation into the Grey Wardens and the Darkspawn were on the verge of conquering the realm of Ferelden. You were able to find a majority of the NPCs you had travelled and interacted with and kill them, but it also gave some insight into what became of the in-game world and how the characters’ personalities differed from their personalities in your party. Most importantly, it gave you the chance to play as the bad guy, which was a pleasant excursion from your role in the rest of the game.
BONUS: Assassinate The Führer (Sniper Elite V2)
This beautiful piece of DLC was a pre-order bonus, and therefore free to any who ordered the game in advance. It quite simply gave you the opportunity to shoot Hitler (after a short mission through a train station packed with Nazis). The mission itself wasn’t overly difficult on the harder difficulties, although it was by no means easy, and the environment was not huge, but the mission itself gave you the opportunity to shoot a man vilified by a large majority of the world for the atrocities he committed during the course of the Second World War right in his beady little mustache as he flees. Is there any better reason to get your hands on a piece of DLC than that?
These were some of my most pleasant forays into the world of downloadable content, and there are undoubtedly other packs which I either have not had the privilege of using or haven’t mentioned here. Let us know in the comments if there are any DLC or expansion packs which are well worth the money you spent on them!