Over the past few years, DLC has become something of a dirty word thanks to Triple-A pisstaking, but this needn't be the case. In this week's top 5, we count down just a few of the DLCs and Expansions that prove they're still worthwhile.
I’ve played this particular iteration of Civilization much longer than any other Civ game. Partly because it expanded quite a bit on the base game; artillery was no longer the unit of choice (because it couldn’t outright destroy an enemy), but then there was more artillery variety. Corporations and espionage made the late game much more interesting, and the random events. Oh, the random events! They added another layer of complexity as well as a slight narrative to a game where you effectively play as an immortal overlord with severe detail deficiency. The scenarios it came with were the icing on the cake.
Oblivion was one of the very first RPGs I ever laid hands on, and I loved it. On the surface, Shivering Isles was a second helping of Oblivion for people that still had bits of Martin Septim’s deity dust still on their faces. It was much more than that, though; there were a lot of experimental things in Shivering Isles that pushed the boat out for later development in Skyrim. There was a dual-questline system that wasn’t merely a good/evil dichotomy, zombies reanimating in front of you, and cool unique items; like the ring that caused your clothes to fall off.
Bit of a controversial choice here, because there have been complaints levelled against this game for excessive vehicle driving. And yes, some fast travel would have been appreciated. But here’s the thing, right; Knoxx’s Armoury is both entertaining and funny. The original Borderlands, while having a decent sense of humour throughout, suffered from being 90% written and 9% Claptraps whinging. Knoxx went “bollocks to that!” A particular highlight is a section where one of the villains is gay/bi, and tries to hide that (and also the fact he’s a big softy) by behaving hyperaggressively; a comment on issues we still face today.
Blood and Wine is set in some kind of mix between medieval France with rural Spanish architecture and a city that looks like a larger version of Neuchwanstein Castle. In about 20 hours of content it successfully parodies Frankenstein, Don Quixote, various adaptations of King Arthur, and about twenty or so other books that I’m not well-read enough to recognise. If that doesn’t win you over, then trust me when I say the story and gameplay here is second to none, even to other bits of the Witcher. If it can cause me to actually feel something more than passing indifference, it’s well worth your time.
FTL is, without a doubt, one of my favourite games. Granted, it took me a good 40 hours or so before I actually won my first game, but still. The little narrative experiences conveyed simply by textbox and determined by RNG don’t sound like the most engaging thing, but it honestly is. Soundtrack is good, and each ship has a different playstyle associated with it. So what could an expansion possibly add? Well, it turns out the answer is MORE. OF EVERYTHING. WEAPONS. SOUNDTRACK. SHIPS. DIALOGUE. EVEN BACKGROUND ART. ALL FOR FREE. DOWNLOADED DIRECTLY INTO YOUR HARD DRIVE. It’s fucking great.