It’s fair to say that without an outstanding base game to boot — promising DLC just wouldn’t exist, to begin with. Of course, while the additional content is always welcome to help flesh out the overall experience — there has been the odd spotlight hogger or two over the years. And that’s odd, considering the added material is only built to shine an even bolder light on the base game. But perhaps it truly is the player’s choice, and that no DLC is far more superior than the frontrunner.
DLC can range from added skins to fully-fledged campaign scenarios. Ranging from a few pennies to a whopping triple-figure tag, each bundle is undeniably unique in its own way. Of course, rounding back to the DLC packs that are ridiculously rich in content, there is definitely a few questions that surround our loyalty when comparing the occasional base game to the extras. Call it crazy — but we think these five collections of quirks are arguably better than the actual games themselves. But what do you think?
5. Outlast: Whistleblower
It wouldn’t seem right to tarnish Outlast over its Whistleblower DLC, though we do have to give credit where it’s due. While the base game is perhaps the most critically acclaimed survival horror titles on the market, there is a lot of love that radiates around the relatively short expansion pack also. Of course, it does come down to the characters that feature along the way, more so than the actual gameplay itself. But let’s shed a little light on that.
Whistleblower, which released back in 2014, is a three-hour story expansion that puts you back in the pits of Mount Massive Asylum. As a new unlucky camera operator with little to no survival tactics, the only goal is to survive and see the night through with the wandering patients knocking at your very doorstep. However, with some slightly deranged characters looking to induct you into their gory schemes, patrolling the mighty complex spirals into some truly terrifying moments. Unforgettable moments, of course. But utterly spine-tingling scenarios that are arguable more terrifying than the original, for sure.
4. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
We won’t begin to pretend that Red Dead Redemption wasn’t a fantastic entry in the open-world genre. Story-wise, it was bulky enough to keep us scratching the weeks away, and the overall combat was satisfying enough to keep us mopping up every nook and cranny of the Wild West until stripped to the bone. But base game aside, the surprisingly entertaining Undead Nightmare DLC did genuinely pose as a threat to the original story arc.
As well as John Marston making a striking return to his role as a gunslinging rebel, Undead Nightmare also revamped the whole of the map with a brand new theme to boot. Bundling in a seven-hour story with added content, the scourged chapter proved to be far more than your box-standard add-on with a few minor patches to sew into the story. In fact, even when next to the prominent Red Dead Redemption, Undead Nightmare still managed to hold its own and come out swinging. Although, to be honest — it doesn’t take much for Rockstar to flip an absurd script into gold. Just look at Grand Theft Auto, for example. But that’s another story altogether.
3. Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep
Of all the DLC Gearbox stuffed into Borderlands 2, one collection definitely stood above the rest in terms of compelling storylines. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, which we’ll crunch down to TTAoDK to save the endless tongue twisters, is the fourth major pack that fused into Borderlands 2. Boasting a rather lengthy story arc with both riveting moments bolted with action and emotional tearaways with genuine connections, TTAoDK secured one of the best spots within the chain of DLC.
As well as hosting some intriguing characters with a boatload of personality, the Borderlands 2 add-on also gave players some rather diverse locations to explore and pillage. New enemies were introduced to the fold without adding a major strain on the difficulty, and the overall experience comprised a whole lot more than monotonous grinding and A to B questing. And it’s because of the sheer joy that the wealthy DLC captures, that Borderlands 2 can arguably be placed as the underdog title.
2. BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea
BioShock took quite the turn when drifting away from the steampunk city of Rapture. Unlike the first two instalments, Infinite brought players to a whole new realm that stood idly in the skies. And it was great. Columbia was the complete breath of fresh air we needed after rummaging through the treacherous blue void for two courses straight. But like an old friend that had been gone for too long — it wasn’t long before we started to miss the company. We wanted another slice of Rapture, plain and simple.
Thanks to the Burial at Sea DLC, players were able to sink back into the sun-ridden city for another take of the surroundings. Only, with Rapture in its prime and way before the harsh tides that fell before the metropolis, we were able to get a major glimpse of every nook and cranny of the steampunk marvel. Top that off with a well-rounded storyline with a fascinating take on private investigation — and you’ve got yourself a stellar counterpart to the iconic Infinite entry.
1. Grand Theft Auto 4: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Contrary to what many will tell you, Grand Theft Auto 4 is the best chapter in the entire series. Even with a much darker tone and a melancholic plotline driving it, it’s still an absolute work of art with so many positive elements to praise. That being said, after reaching the dramatic conclusion of Niko Bellic’s crime-riddled story in the Liberty City underworld, we did start to feel a little disconnected from the humour and lightheartedness that previous chapters delivered. Luckily for us, The Ballad of Gay Tony relit the fuse.
Of course, Liberty City was still very much plastered in monochrome — but the world was brimming with life once again. The world as we knew it opened up to a whole new arc with some fascinating roles and compelling factions to absorb. The gameplay felt polished and squeaky clean, and the overall experience played out like an absolute dream. The only downside, of course, is that it just wasn’t long enough. We wanted more. A lot more.