Downloadable content. Expansion packs. Season passes. Extended rigmarole. However you phrase it (maybe not that last way), bonus content for games has long been a part of the industry, and it’s not going away any time soon. I must admit that I wasn’t always a fan of such. For the bulk of my gaming history, in fact, I was quite anti-DLC. I wanted no part of paying extra for additional content in any game, even the ones I held in high esteem. My stance, maybe not surprisingly, changed with the (free) release of the “fixed” DLC ending of Mass Effect 3. Since then, I’ve been more obliging towards DLC, especially if I can get a version of a game with it already included, so I can’t say that I’m totally out of the loop. I can say that I have played some really good bonus content in the past few years, and here my Listmas list of the ones that made the most significant and lasting impressions.
Fable – “The Lost Chapters“
I first played Fable a few years after it was released, and I had no idea then that it’s expanded version, The Lost Chapters, even existed. It wasn’t until playing The Lost Chapters’ remake, Fable Anniversary, that I was first introduced to Albion’s snowy expanse called the Northern Wastes. With everything all-included in the Anniversary version, it was a little odd but no less endearing to beat the game’s main antagonist, Jack of Blades, twice. Once as the ending to the original game, and second in helping the folks of the Northern Wastes defeat the resurrected villain. Fable may be an inherently simple game, but its storytelling is quite good, and the additional content built nicely upon the hero’s journey.
Dragon Age: Inquisition – “Trespasser”
The path I took to get through all the DLC in all the Dragon Age games was a long and arduous one. With conquering the additional content for Dragon Age: Inquisition a couple years ago, and both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II earlier this year, I can finally point to my favorite of the lot, and it’s DAI’s “Trespasser” by a long shot. Before playing it, I can’t say that I was totally satisfied with the original end of DAI – it was just okay enough to leave room for a sequel. With “Trespasser,” however, not only did it add some very meaty story content, but it shone a wide spotlight on elven lore and, in particular, the significance of the “Dread Wolf,” an important thread that had been woven into the DA games since the beginning, and then some. My playthroughs of DAI are now never complete without “Trespasser.”
Ori and the Blind Forest – “Black Root Burrows and the Lost Grove”
If you’ve played Ori and the Blind Forest, you know that Ori, the main character, had a rough go of things early on. After the loss of Naru, Ori’s adoptive caretaker, it’s up to Ori to set things right. But how did Naru and Ori even cross paths in the first place? Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition answers that question with two additional locales – Black Root Burrows and the Lost Grove – onto which is bound the story of Naru. This additional content helped bring Ori’s story fill circle and built well upon Ori emotional start in the world. Plus, there was no arguing with having two new and beautiful areas to exploring in an already-gorgeous game.
Saints Row IV – “How the Saints Saved Christmas”
There are lots of phrases I could use to describe Saints Row IV, but I’ll stick with “uproariously irreverent,” because it describes the DLC “How the Saints Saved Christmas” quite well. Plus, why not end this list on a festive note! In any event, after playing through Saints Row IV, I was prepared for some warped holiday goodness, and the game happily served it up in droves. In this DLC, the Saints were tasked with saving none other than Santa himself from the game’s crazy, simulated world, while also learning about the meaning of Christmas. Lots of heartfelt hijinks ensued, along with plenty of holiday cheer, a touch of Jane Austen, and just the right amount of explosives. Merry Christmas, indeed!
Lede image captured by author during PC gameplay of Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (© Moon Studios, Micrososft Studios).