Entertainment

The Best and Worst of Downloadable Content

Downloadable Content has gotten a bad rep as a way for game developers to grab a little extra cash, and believe us, sometimes it’s deserved. But DLC isn’t all bad…

Best: XCOM 2: War of The Chosen

XCOM is a series notorious for its unrelenting treatment of the player, putting you in unfavourable situations and forcing you to harness the chaos and make the best of a bad situation. Though once you understand the game it isn’t entirely difficult.

That was until they added War of The Chosen.

An excellent way of introducing a new challenge to the strategy game

An expansion that added new types of soldiers, bonding between units, new enemy types, and Bosses that can enter encounters at random. Though the best feature was by far inclusion of Soldier fatigue. This meant even if you ran a perfect mission and no one was wounded Soldiers could still become unavailable as they have done too many actions.

This makes the game far more difficult as you have to constantly be building new teams and the chances of having a full team of bad-asses is next to none. An excellent way of introducing a new challenge to the strategy game.

Worst: Dragonball FIghterZ; FighterZ pass

So, you want to get a new cool team fighting game with a variety of characters. You see a Dragonball one on the shelf and pick it up because you have nostalgia for the show and the variety of kooky characters. You’re a little disappointed there isn’t a huge variety in the base roster. There’s only two female characters and a lot of the characters have similar body types.

Ah clearly they’re saving the interesting characters for DLC right?

Nope. It’s all Goku.

Launch day DLC is Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Goku (Yes that name is real it’s not a typo) and then they release Bardock, Goku’s dad, who looks just like Goku. Then the Final DLC character released is Base Goku, non-Super Saiyan.

The question is, can Dragonball have any other characters apart from Goku? Yes, but the game won’t let you have them. 

Tom Sampson

Best: Batman: Arkham City – Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC

Batman Arkham City: Harley Quinn's Revenge (2012)

Let’s turn the clocks back to 2008. The dark days. A time before the Arkham series. A time before a good superhero game was an actual thing, and not some fantasy us nerds drooled over.

Now let’s fast-forward to the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. A game that finally gave us the Batman of the comics. And boy, was it fun to play. Introducing an onslaught of fan-favourite villains, and giving use a claustrophobic tale steeped in horror elements, Rocksteady really outdid
themselves on this one.

Now – 2011. One of the most hyped gaming sequels of all time is released, Batman: Arkham City. And it does not disappoint. Expanding the scale of the open-world, the story, and the roster of villains, Rocksteady was on fire.

Now as a small warning – SPOILER ALERT.

A treat for fans of the series

The game’s writers, in a dark and shocking turn of events, killed the Joker in this one. (An event they seemingly regretted bearing in mind they brought him back from the dead (kind of) in Arkham Knight). The game ends with Batman carrying the Joker’s corpse out of Arkham City.

What happens next, I hear you ask? No one was quite sure. Rocksteady left the game on a tasty little cliff-hanger. Fortunately, gamers weren’t made to wait too long. In 2012 the DLC expansion, Harley Quinn’s Revenge was released. Following the events of Arkham City, the storyline follows the effect of the Joker’s death on Batman and the rest of Gotham.

Including a section where you get to play as Robin, and expanding on the gadgets from the core game, this was a treat for fans of the series. Plus, having taken me a few hours to complete (including a hunt for collectibles) this proves the cherry on top for one of the greatest superhero games of all time.

Ibrahim Lakhanpal

Worst: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Horse Armour

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)

If you know anything about Oblivion, you’re probably surprised it’s taken us this long to get to it. Bethesda earned widespread scorn by selling a (purely cosmetic) horse armour skin (with no gameplay benefits) for $2.50.

On its own this doesn’t seem particularly terrible, but bare in mind that Oblivion released back in 2006, when paid DLC was practically unheard of. It’s hard not to think Bathesda might have set a trend – these days, paid cosmetics are a given in everything from shooters like Call of Duty to superhero games.

Plus, given Bethesda’s ever-worsening track-record with microtransactions (See: Fallout 76, The Elder Scrolls: Blades) it feels like this embarrassing joke was actually the publisher testing the waters for more sinister business practices in the future.

Best: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone Blood and Wine

Ask any hardcore gamer who the most consumer-friendly developer is, chances are Witcher developer CD Projekt Red will come up. And with good reason – CDPR’s expansions to their seminal RPG are some of the best ever made.

On top of over a dozen smaller free additions mostly consisting of armour sets – cough cough, Bethesda – quests and alternate costumes, The Witcher 3 has two paid expansions that last up to 40 hours combined.

Hearts of Stone not only added a new story, but also filled an existing region with new locations, monsters, characters and sidequests. It also pushes protagonist Geralt in new directions that serve gameplay – from the new buff system to willingly working with others, this feels like a more open character than the one from the main game.

The perfect way to retire the Witcher series

Add returning characters from the very first Witcher, and this expansion is more than worth it.

Blood and Wine went one step further, introducing a whole new region for Geralt to embroil himself in, whose bright and colourful aesthetic provided welcome contrast to the horrors of the main game’s map – a contrast that carries over to more playful character interactions.

Blood and Wine’s story revolves around vampires, and its several difficult boss fights expand on the main game’s challenges effectively. Overall, these expansions were the perfect way to retire the Witcher series – they even give Geralt his own vineyard to retire to!

Jack Richardson

Featured image and article images courtesy of Firaxis Games Inc., Arc System Works, Rocksteady Studios, Bethesda Game Studios, and CD Projekt RED via IMDb. No changes made to the images. 

Image use license here.

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