When you buy a game, you know it is going to set you back a fair whack – this is nothing new, but what has changed through the years is the way in which you can get some brilliant add-ons, bonuses or downloadable content to make your purchase even better.
The add-on is certainly not a new concept, but the widespread increase of season passes and game packs have led them to become almost a standard addition to any title. But there was a time where add-on’s and DLC weren’t always expected, and what started out as what seemed like an extra couple of side quests developed into intricate storylines that rivalled, if not surpassed, the main story, or changed the gameplay in a way that made you never want to stick with the base game again.
With that in mind, here are a few add-ons released through the years that deserve a special mention.
Baldur’s Gate II – Throne of Bhaal (2001)
Younger gamers will have to trust us on this one, but the add-on to the original Baldur’s Gate sequel was amazing as the game itself. The Throne of Bhaal was an expansion pack that brought the first two games to a convenient close. The group are in danger of being hunted down by some majorly peeved off demigods, and the plot twists and turns as it reaches its conclusion.
BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den (2010)
The BioShock series was one of the most highly anticipated of its day and was released in a beautifully rendered, underwater dystopia, making the series completely unique and highly successful. Minerva’s Den was a downloadable add-on released after the game’s sequel and allowed the player to control a Big Daddy on a mission to infiltrate the city’s primary security station.
The add-on was praised for its engaging back story and narrative with plenty of hidden secrets just waiting to be unraveled.
Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money (2010)
Ever since its release, it’s been up for debate as to whether Fallout: New Vegas is the best game in the franchise so far. With four story add-ons with their own over-arching storyline that tied into the main game, New Vegas certainly got it right when it came to DLC. Arguably the most memorable, Dead Money was the first add-on released, focusing on the moody and atmospheric Sierra Madre casino and the treasure that lies within.
New Vegas wouldn’t have been true to its pre-war namesake if not for its many casinos, and Dead Money allowed the game to expand on this theme in a different direction, striking a darker tone than the light-hearted casinos of the main game, which allowed players to try out a host of games from poker to even slot machines. The latter of which has proved popular with the gaming community inside and outside of Fallout, with many players going online to try out risk free spins on various slot games that don’t require a deposit to play. While many mainstream titles have gone on to feature casino minigames, New Vegas certainly did the best job of reflecting the fun players can have in the real-world casino scene today.
Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 & 2 (2007)
While we may never see a Half-Life 3, Half-Life 2’s episodic add-ons at least gave players the chance to carry the game on further than the initial release. Episodes 1 and 2 are often bundled with the main title, giving players a series of add-ons that expand upon the main game and provide slightly more closure to a franchise that everyone is still eager to revisit.
The list above were some of the best add-ons and expansions we have experienced, but no doubt there will be more contenders over the years to come.