VGU Awards: Best DLC Expansion of 2013
There have been some titles that we just can’t quit and this year Expansion packs and DLC have had a really strong presence. Whilst some have looked to expand their games universe and storyline, others have honed game mechanics and evolved through the inclusion of new bosses, weapons, items and strategies.When the dust settled here at VGU, these five titles have gone above and beyond the pale with giving the public, unique and innovative content beyond their original release.
$ 5. The Walking Dead: 400 Days
The Walking Dead took the gaming world by storm in 2012 with its episodic release, and graphic novel design leaving the player with scarring fast-reflex based choices and decision making. Telltale Games knows what works and how to stick true to the formula with their latest DLC, The Walking Dead: 400 Days. Bridging the gap between Season 1 and Season 2 of the gaming series this short tale, following five different characters, packs in it all the tough decisions of the past whilst you’re trying to defend them against the horrors of the zombie apocalypse. With the choices of this DLC rolling over to alter the course of the soon to be released Season 2 of The Walking Dead, 400 Days is a great example of a tight, powerful and high thrill plot driven piece of extra content.
4. XCOM: Enemy Within
XCOM: Enemy Within by contrast to The Walking Dead is extra content taken in another direction. Developed by Firaxis Games Enemy Within takes the gameplay mechanics of the original release XCOM: Enemy Unknown and increases them tenfold. New abilities, upgrades, weapons and a mech based soldier class system are just the tip of the iceberg. New alien adversaries also make an appearance alongside several fresh locales and a radical new opponent in EXALT, a rebel human faction.
These changes make the central course of the game radically different to any play through in the past. Seeing your small squad of soldiers end up as mechanized, telekinetic, spliced super weapons never quite gets old and Enemy Within gives you a hundred different ways to approach the title.
3. Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep
Borderlands 2 and indeed the Borderlands series in general has always managed to find that sweet spot between exploration, dungeon looting and crazy ridiculous humor. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is another brilliant piece of work from Gearbox with fan favourite Tina narrating the players’ exploration of a corrupted fantasy tale world full to the brim with orcs, dragons, pixies and wizards.
Along with the endless jokes pulled at the expense of this Dungeons & Dragons, Dark Souls and Lord of the Rings universe the content is also stellar with the inclusion of insane weapons, shields and quests. With hints of yet more content to come found within Tiny Tina’ Assault on Dragon Keep Borderlands 2 looks set to continue creating unique DLC’s.
2. Civilization V: Brave New World
Ok, so Civilization V in itself was something of a herculean title taking away days of my life at a time. Brave New World once again made my Firaxis Games knows exactly what it wants in its DLC and sets out to achieve it. Building on the original content and the other expansion Gods and Kings, Brave New World fleshes out the closing stages of your involvement within the Civilization world. The inclusion of trade routes, fascist, democratic and communist ideologies shape how your culture progresses and is represented on the world stage whilst the World Congress and Tourism systems forever change late game threats and decision making.
With nine new civilizations also entering the ring the diversity of A.I personality’s helps keep each new threat fresh and exciting. Trust me; you do not want to be surrounded by the Zulu’s on one side and Rome on the other. Prepare yourself, Brave New World will steal another thousand hours from your life.
$ 1. StarCraft 2: Heart of The Swarm
Blizzard Entertainment has never really let down their Real Time Strategy audience and Heart of the Swarm is, to us at VGU, the embodiment of new and exciting lore, gameplay features and revolutionary ideas held within an extra piece of content. The 20 new missions, nearly matching the scale of the original release follows Sarah Kerrigan as she leads the Zerg on her own internal quest of redemption across the universe. These explosive and interesting missions are also tied together with re-invented tech trees and weaponry, changing both the individual single-player and competitive multi-player scene systematically. New zerg units such as the flying viper, which can pick up and fling away a single enemy character, regardless of it being a lone soldier or a hulking colossus is in itself a stunning sight.
Personally it holds the charm and intellect of 400 Days but brings in new game mechanics similar to Enemy Within. With a second expansion planned somewhere on the horizon Starcraft 2 still has many new ways to excite and innovate and time will tell where the third chapter in this title will go from here! So what do you make of our choices? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Or vote for your favorite game in the poll below.