Love it or hate it, DLC is here to stay. While many developers expect gamers to shell out cash for any little tidbit they want to interject into their games after release, some developers go above and beyond to provide an amazing experience to fans who are craving just a little bit more. With that in mind, these are our Top Five DLC offerings.
"The Secret Armory of General Knoxx" - Borderlands Achievements
A new level cap, new weapons, and tougher enemies, "The Secret Armory of General Knoxx" delivered the one thing that most Vault Hunters were wanting: a serious challenge. Whether it was taking down Crawmerax the Invincible or grinding up to Level 61, Gearbox delivered a DLC expansion that redefined the Borderlands experience and kept gamers grinding.
"Undead Nightmare" - Red Dead Redemption Achievements
I know, I know, I know... more zombies... UGGGGGGGGGHHH! While the zombie genre is certainly wearing out its welcome (I, for one, welcome the arrival of the next bullet fodder du jour, hipsters), "Undead Nightmare" took the highly-serious Red Dead Redemption and added a good dose of tongue-in-cheek humor to John Marston's wild west adventure. Adding new challenges, missions, enemies, and combat dynamics, "Undead Nightmare" was a reanimated (and, dare I say, more fun?) version of Rockstar's Western opus. The cherry on top was that it was released as its own standalone disc with the other, multiplayer focused DLCs of RDR as well, meaning you don't have to pick up the full game to enjoy it.
"Burial at Sea" - BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360) Achievements
The most recent addition to this list is the tale of two episodes. "Episode One" was a short, shallow, combat-challenged experience, but set the pieces in play for the incredible "Episode Two" which served to tie a bow onto the story, better link Rapture and Columbia, and provide a satisfying conclusion to Irrational's tale of ideology run amok. If nothing else, the return trip to Rapture and a new story make "Burial at Sea" worth the price of entry.
5: "Broken Steel" - Fallout 3 Achievements
Many gamers were less-than-pleased when Bethesda chose to have a definite "End of Game" ending to Fallout 3. "Broken Steel" remedied that error, raising the level cap (and, arguably, breaking the game), adding new missions, levels, and loot, and allowing high-level, post-end-game characters to continue their exploration of the Capital Wasteland to uncover all of the nooks and crannies of goodness that were crammed therein.
4: "Lair of the Shadow Broker" - Mass Effect 2 Achievements
Up until "Lair of the Shadow Broker", BioWare had a pretty spotty record for DLC for their smash hit, Mass Effect 2. Fortunately, they got their game together for this addition to their space opera. As the dark hand playing both sides of virtually every galactic conflict, the Shadow Broker was always a ghost that was hinted at throughout the first two Mass Effects. "Lair of the Shadow Broker" gave gamers the chance to get their hands on the slippery figure, uncover the secrets behind the identity, and set in motion a game-changing subplot to the series. More than that, though, it presented amazing combat scenarios, fantastic set pieces, and one of the best boss fights the series had to offer.
3: "Minerva's Den" - BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) Achievements
In many ways the story of "Minerva's Den" was superior to the story of BioShock 2. A sealed off, unexplored portion of Rapture just begging to be explored, a new voice on the radio, and a new mystery to solve. Without giving away any of the juicy plot points, this DLC scratched a great narrative itch, even if it's climactic resolution was bit easy to predict. With a hefty four-to-five hours of play time, "Minerva's Den" should be considered required playing for BioShock fans. It was/is so good, in fact, that I bought BioShock 2 (I initially borrowed it from a friend) just to play it and was not disappointed.
2: "The Knife of Dunwall/The Brigmore Witches" - Dishonored Achievements
Asking to pick between Dishonored's "The Knife of Dunwall" and "The Brigmore Witches" is tantamount to being asked to pick your favorite child. Each displays an amazing addition to Dunwall and allows gamers to step into the shoes of the game's initial antagonist, Daud the assassin. We're going to give "The Knife of Dunwall" a slight edge here simply because it was the first to introduce us to the man behind the menace and give Daud a shot at redemption for the evils he had wrought. That being said, if you were fan of Dishonored these additional chapters are must-plays.
1: Song Packs - Rock Band Achievements
While I'm a sucker for good narrative content and additional gameplay, there is no other game/DLC pack that could be number one. Without Harmonix's dedication to pumping out regular, high quality songs and song packs, Rock Band wouldn't be the behemoth that it was/is. If you're one of the millions who purchased a set of plastic instruments, the odds are that you had at least one evening with friends, possibly aided by a grown-up soda or two, where you impulse bought a handful of songs for the express purpose of partying with friends... I know I did. With their affordable price structure, enduring playability, AND ability to migrate UP to new editions of the game, the songs and song packs of the Rock Band franchise are an easy top spot.
The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!