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Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
DLC, Games of the Generation, PS3, PS3 games, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 games

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

The last console generation gave us all manner of things we now take for granted, including the concept of downloadable content.

For many gamers, DLC has become a dirty acronym. How could it not be? Too many unscrupulous publishers have used it as an excuse to withhold content to ransom, or make players shell out silly money for features that, a decade ago, were included in the price of admission.

It's a crying shame, though, because DLC is actually one of the best and most forward-thinking advances of the last eight years. When developers strive to create meaningful and worthwhile extra content, DLC can enhance, extend and enrich our games - if not our lives. So to that end, here are the ten most outstanding DLC packs and expansions of the previous generation... and why they set a superb example going into the new one.

10: Big Surf Island [Burnout Paradise]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Burnout Paradise had a legendary post-launch DLC campaign. From free motorbikes to zany hotseat multiplayer, one of the very best (the best? Discuss) racing games of the generation became even better over time.

Especially when Big Surf Island arrived. This massive new playground was wide, tall and rammed full of crazy stuff to do; keeping Paradise in our disc drives for months.

9: Vietnam [Battlefield Bad Company 2]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Battlefield and Call Of Duty have produced all manner of map packs over the last few years. Armored Kill is a particular favourite of ours: a great big slice of vehicular carnage that plays to Battlefield 3's strengths.

But for my money, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 delivered one of the very best in Vietnam: a generous selection of themed maps that totally changed the way we played, and provided any number of opportunities for desperate close-range engagements.

8: Citadel [Mass Effect 3]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Mass Effect's DLC pipeline was inconsistent to say the least. For every highlight, such as The Lair Of The Shadow Broker, we had nasty throwaway offerings like Pinnacle Station and the highly controversial From Ashes.

Citadel, however, was Mass Effect's crowning glory. Getting the band back together for one last rip-roaring adventure, the very last DLC pack was also the very best, letting us spend quality time in good company and acting as a spiritual ending to the epic saga. As a masterpiece of scripting and a highly replayable yarn, this was fan service at its absolute exquisite best. Plus, you know, Blasto.

7: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Is this technically DLC? Yes. No? Yes. Just about. Though it was available at standalone retail on Xbox 360, Awakening was primarily a downloadable expansion pack of the old-school: 25 hours of quality content that expanded the universe, strengthened our characters and generally made our lives a little bit better just by existing.

Regardless of whether you count this as DLC or not, we're including it to make a point. Dragon Age and its sequel shat the bed with poxy pathetic weaselly cynical despicable vomitous little excuses for post-launch content (see also: Witch Hunt), but Awakening proved that there's another way. A better way.

6: Artorias Of The Abyss [Dark Souls]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

We were prepared to die, but Artorias Of The Abyss let us die harder. [really, Jon? - Ed] Dark Souls' weighty expansion offered new areas to explore, terrifying new beasts to take down and extra weaponry to equip, adding to the original game in smart and substantial ways.

It's no surprise that the Prepare To Die Edition feels like a complete game, a whole experience, rather than a game and an extra DLC pack.

5: The Secret Armory Of General Knoxx [Borderlands]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Borderlands 2 went big on quality content, but the original FPSRPG set the trend with a tremendously important downloadable expansion. The Secret Armory Of General Knoxx was huge and generous, but stands out for us since it featured a surprisingly complex new nemesis in General Knoxx himself; a relatable and even sympathetic character who we genuinely liked even as we conspired to kill him. Something that he was looking forward to immensely.

General Knoxx was so popular, in fact, that Gearbox took inspiration from the jaded commander when designing Borderlands 2, realising that we wanted a villain to track down and finally defeat over the course of the game.

"We learned a lot of lessons from our DLC in Borderlands 1," art director Kevin Duc told us last year. "General Knoxx had that rich story, and the response from that is that people really like a good strong storyline. So in Borderlands 2, we take those lessons and we apply it." See: DLC really can make for better games!

4: The Ballad Of Gay Tony & The Lost And Damned [GTA IV]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Episodes From Liberty City brought the fun back to GTA IV. Sure, Rockstar's sandbox was technically accomplished, but it never quite scratched our itch for larger-than-life characters and cathartic craziness we've always sought from the series. In fact, in our opinion, it was a bit boring.

Luckily The Ballad Of Gay Tony and The Lost And Damned were on hand to put that right, delivering what easily the best and most memorable hours we spent in Liberty City. This was DLC done right, DLC that improves a game and kept us coming back even after we'd grown tired of our friends constantly ringing up to go bowling every five seconds.

3: Minerva's Den [BioShock 2]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Was BioShock 2 unnecessary and redundant? I personally jumped at the chance to return to Rapture and enjoy a more emotional storyline, but frankly, 2K Marin's sequel justified its existence with a single, glittering DLC pack.

No, not the Protector Trials. Never ever The Protector Trials. Minerva's Den.

This tight, perfectly-paced and haunting story is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, better than BioShock 2, reaching levels of thought-provoking storytelling genius that even gave the original BioShock a run for its money. Had Minerva's Den released as a standalone digital title, it would be in the running for best downloadable game of the entire generation. If you're a fan of the franchise, you must -- MUST -- play it.

2: Broken Steel [Fallout 3]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

Fallout 3 is my nomination for the best game of Generation 7, as well as Brendan and my personal favourite game of the last eight years. It was utterly superb, a stonkingly open-ended adventure that's uniquely yours.

Except... that ending. Ron Perlman was on hand to deliver all the closure we could ever want, but Fallout 3 closed with a whimper, and stopped us from going back into the Capitol Wasteland to tie up any remaining loose ends.

Then Broken Steel fixed everything. As one of the best DLC packs of all time, it added more choice and flavour to the final encounter, then went overboard on a sensational new campaign with twists, turns and big decisions aplenty; all while adding loads of new content into the rest of the game. An absolute masterpiece, and an essential download for an essential game.

1: The Shivering Isles [The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion]

Best DLC Of The Generation | Top Ten Downloadable Delights

When it comes down to it: we're all about expansion packs here at Dealspwn.com. We'd take hours of adventure and rock-solid substance over piecemeal content any day of the week , and one of the first big RPGs of the last console generation gave us exactly what we wanted.

The Shivering Isles was obviously something special from the very outset, when a dingy crypt exploded into a shower of beautiful butterflies, throwing us bleary-eyed and blinking into an enormous new island packed with surprises and memorable moments. With the mad god Sheogorath as our colourful hosts, we explored, battled and quested for hours, facing missions and challenges that added extra variety and fun to an already monstrous game.

Though Bethesda's hilariously pathetic Horse Armour became an infamous meme for the ages, The Shivering Isles set a standard that, throughout the generation, was rarely followed and matched.

Sound off: what downloadable content did you enjoy over the last generation? There's certainly much more to discuss.

Add a comment16 comments
JonLester  Dec. 5, 2013 at 13:46

As an interesting aside: a great many of these games were published by EA, who were at least partly responsible for some of the best and most consumer-friendly DLC practices of this generation.

Just an observation, really. There's a point to be made, but I think we can probably leave it unsaid. :(

Last edited by JonLester, Dec. 5, 2013 at 13:47
ChrisHyde  Dec. 5, 2013 at 14:12

Was a big fan of Skyrim's DLC personally, but I guess 2 TES games would have been pushing it.

But a nice list of something you never really think about. Sometimes DLC is actually done right - going against the evil stereotype it seems to have acquired throughout the last generation.

stevenjameshyde  Dec. 5, 2013 at 14:25

No game has been better supported in terms of quality, quantity and sheer enjoyment than Rock Band. Admittedly there's no single individual piece that would get onto this list, but they didn't miss a week for five whole freaking years. That's pretty special

stevenjameshyde  Dec. 5, 2013 at 14:33

Also: Undead Nightmare is, for my money, a better piece of DLC than the GTA offerings. It's a shame that 'zombie DLC' has become something of a shorthand for unimaginative add-on content, because Undead Nightmare was a fully-featured beast which completely altered the atmosphere and play style of the main game, delivering a fine survival horror sandbox. With unicorns

Late  Dec. 5, 2013 at 19:12

Does Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon count as dlc? Not sure as it's standalone. Fantastic either way.
Similarly Peggle Nights, which I think was originally dlc for Peggle before being released standalone, but I might be wrong on that.

Favourite dlc for disk games for me:
Cod-waw map pack 3 - for the zombie map Der Riese. There have been better maps since, but that map made COD Nazi Zombies.
Whichever map pack brought Trench to perfect dark zero. The game wasn't popular but the kids and I loved it - especially that map.
And similar to sjh's band hero, I enjoyed lots of Guitar Hero dlc.

Last edited by Late, Dec. 5, 2013 at 19:14
FYHF  Dec. 5, 2013 at 19:37

Terrible list, you sir are a casual gamer at best..

Rubisco  Dec. 6, 2013 at 00:45

No need to discuss. Burnout Paradise is indeed the best driving game.

Closely followed by its NFS "sequels".

Anybody who prefers GT or Forza doesn't really like games for gaming's sake, they're just car geeks.

lukekey  Dec. 6, 2013 at 09:27

What about zombies on world at war and black ops....amazing dlc.

MattGardner  Dec. 6, 2013 at 12:26

Undead Nightmare was cracking, but The Ballad of Gay Tony was similarly excellent.

Lair of the Shadow Broker is one of my favourite pieces of DLC (missed Liara enormously in ME2), also FNV's Old World Blues, and the B-movie awesomeness of Sleeping Dogs' Nightmare in North Point.

stevenjameshyde  Dec. 6, 2013 at 12:38

Undead Nightmare was cracking, but The Ballad of Gay Tony was similarly excellent.

Lair of the Shadow Broker is one of my favourite pieces of DLC (missed Liara enormously in ME2), also FNV's Old World Blues, and the B-movie awesomeness of Sleeping Dogs' Nightmare in North Point.


LOVED Old World Blues. Megalomaniacal toasters FTW!

DivideByZero  Dec. 6, 2013 at 15:16

Jon, with you on Fallout 3. Loved it... ending aside. It reminded me of the Month Python and the Holy Gail ending.

Zeipher  Dec. 6, 2013 at 16:28

No need to discuss. Burnout Paradise is indeed the best driving game.


I'd like to discuss that, as I highly disagree. Although the controls and multiplayer in Paradise were fun (for a couple of hours), I couldn't stand the single player.

I'd choose to do a race, set off, get within 30 seconds of the finish line, make a wrong turn, carry on in the hopes that I can loop back, and suddenly end up on a mountain path somewhere. Meanwhile, all the computer players (who have maps and gps programmed into their movements) manage to make it to the finish line, putting me in last place.

I then press start so that I can give it another go, but instead I realise that I have to actually drive all the way back to the start, just so I can try again!

On top of that, there was that god awful commentator. Thank goodness you could turn him off!

Best racing game for me may be N4S Hot Pursuit. The handling was a dream, and the Interception mode was exhilarating.

Burnout hasn't been good since number 2... which, interestingly, is what I thought Burnout Paradise was a pile of :)

stevenjameshyde  Dec. 6, 2013 at 16:37

@Zeipher - a 'retry event' option was patched into Burnout Paradise, just another example of it's excellent post-launch support...

Anyway, PGR4 was the best racer of last gen

Last edited by stevenjameshyde, Dec. 6, 2013 at 16:48
Zeipher  Dec. 6, 2013 at 18:32

@Zeipher - a 'retry event' option was patched into Burnout Paradise, just another example of it's excellent post-launch support...

Anyway, PGR4 was the best racer of last gen


That's interesting. Though it still doesn't fix the racelines. I'm spoiled by having roads closed off for me.

Forgot about Split Second! That was brilliant!

lukekey  Dec. 7, 2013 at 14:05

Yeah split second was a really underated but brilliant game.

Zeipher  Dec. 7, 2013 at 19:24

Yeah split second was a really underated but brilliant game.


Shame it's not on Steam. Would love that on PC.

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