By Jeff Neuenschwander / February 5th, 2016
To honor our favorite expansion and DLC from the past year, we bring back Quentin.
2013: New Super Luigi U
2014: Mario Kart 8: DLC Pack 1
QUENTIN: When the main storyline for a console game was over, that used to be it. Fin. Complete. Or, as Final Fantasy IX put it succinctly:
We met, we laughed, we held on fast, and then we said goodbye.
~Melodies Of Life
Thankfully, in the technological age starting with the PS2/Xbox/GameCube generation, gamers could finish the main game, then wait patiently for the title’s developer(s) to create and put out new, additional content that would allow the player to return to that beloved realm once again. There has always been a debate about price vs. content amount vs. whether the content should be included in the main game or not to begin with, but that is not the point of today’s discussion.
With all that in mind, here are the five nominees for this year’s Best DLC/Expansion of the Year.
- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U – Cloud Strife DLC
In 2015, Nintendo asked the gaming publish in North America, Europe, and Japan about who they would like to see added to the game. While it was Bayonetta that eventually won the vote, it is widely believed that the vast support for this character is what drove Nintendo to add him as one of the final DLC characters for the title.
Cloud, along with a stage based upon Midgar (where the opening hours of Final Fantasy VII take place) and his costumes from both his original game and the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, entered the smash arena in December at a price point of $6.00 USD for one platform, or $7.00 if you cross-purchased it for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
Cloud is a fun character to play, and the fact that his charge can be kept even if he gets hit (unlike Little Mac) makes him worth experiencing outside of the nostalgia factor. Plus, his stage has materia that can summon Ramuh, Ifrit, Bahamut ZERO, and more to the field!
In short, a worthy addition to the Super Smash Bros. roster.
- Mario Kart 8 – DLC Pack 2
Four new characters. Four new vehicles. New vehicle parts. And to top it off…
Two full new cups with four tracks each. And yes, that includes the return of Baby Park from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (which was one of my favorite tracks of all time). The new cups, which include a pair of F-Zero and Animal Crossing-inspired tracks, are fun to play with friends and do not feel like they are just cheaply tacked on money grabs.
The DLC Pack 2 is sold for $7.99 USD by itself, or for a total $11.99 USD if bought as part of a bundle with DLC Pack 1. It is a great price for a LOT of content.
If you have the game, you should be getting this.
If you liked Shovel Knight and its gameplay mechanics, then you will grow to expect the unexpected with Plague Of Shadows.
At a price point of free (seriously), you get to play as Plague Knight in a precision (we are talking 8-bit kind of precision here) platform-type game. The original Shovel Knight was challenging, no doubt, but this definitely brings it up a notch. With new moves and the ability to build your own custom bombs to lob or bounce between platforms with, this expansion has some serious depth to it.
If you’ve played Shovel Knight and you’ve already finished it, this is something to play while you wait for a potential sequel. You will be frustrated (just like in the original game), but you will have fun doing it.
- Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
This expansion to Bloodborne takes place in the Hunter’s Nightmare, a corollary to the main world. However, just knowing the ins and outs of Yharnam won’t serve you here as the defeated hunters will continually respawn, even after you kill them over and over and over again…and that is without even bringing up the new boss fights included as well.
The biggest flaw with this expansion, in my opinion, is that you cannot just load up the game and play it. It becomes accessible only after you’ve played through a good chunk of the main story, which can keep more casual players from just buying it to try it out.
It is the most expensive bit of DLC/expansion for this year’s nominees (it’s $19.99 USD as a standalone), but it is worth every bit of the asking price.
- The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
In what is a common theme of DLC these days, this DLC for The Binding Of Issac takes the game formula and occasionally turns it into something harder while both staying true to form and maintaining its original fun.
There are 120 new items, new bosses, and an entirely new game mode called “Greed Mode”. In Greed Mode, there are no more normal drops. Instead, you have to rely upon the item shop for everything… And the enemies and bosses come in waves against you. It’s a fun twist on what players previously experienced and it adds new life to the game for the player on the go.
Oh, and there are now nine new transformations you can put Isaac through. Considering that the original game gave you only two, that’s a big deal. And for only $10.99 USD, it’s hard to go wrong.
AND THE WINNING ADDITION IS…
Mario Kart 8 – DLC Pack 2
At the very beginning, I mentioned how there is always an argument about price, release timing after the main game, and amount of content. And DLC Pack 2 for Mario Kart 8 does it all correctly.
For less than the price of a sixth of the original game, you get 1/4th additional content that the original game included. There are new racers and new experiences. Playing through the DLC, it is quite clear that Nintendo both did not cut it out of the main game to sell it to players, but instead developed it at an affordable price point to get people to keep playing the game long after release.
All of that, put together, is why this is our Best DLC/Expansion of 2015.
Seriously. Go get it. (And I’m not just saying that because I really love the Baby Park track.)
One day more. Tomorrow, we honor the games themselves as reveal oprainfall Game of the Year for 2015.
Axiom VergeBloodborneCloudDungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Sealeiyuu senkiFatal Frame: Maiden of Black WaterHatsune Miku Project Mirai DXKirby and the Rainbow CurseMario Kart 8Metal Gear Solid V : The Phantom PainMonster Hunter 4 UltimatePersona 4: Dancing All NightPlague of ShadowsShovel KnightSplatoonSteins;GateStella GlowSuper Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii UThe Binding of Isaac: AfterbirthUndertaleXenoblade Chronicles XYoshi's Woolly World