Friday is upon us and that means another edition of our weekly Shacknews staff collaboration, Shack Chat. This week, we’re diving deep into the topic of DLC, spanning across the entire history of video games.
Question: What’s your favorite video game DLC of all time?
The opinions on this one are all over the place, as they should be. There have been so many amazing DLCs released over the years that you could make a list dozens of entries long. That’s where you come in, faithful Chatty members. We’ve listed our favorites below, but we’re hoping you’ll take the time to weigh in with the DLC that sits in the fondest seat of your video game memory bank.
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows – Ozzie Mejia, Download the Senior Editor DLC today!
Beyond its groundbreaking (no pun intended) core campaign, Shovel Knight owners were treated to a handful of standalone DLC campaigns. Before they were ever sold in separate packages as their own games, they started life as substantial free DLC, starting with Plague of Shadows.
By Yacht Club’s own admission, this one wasn’t their favorite campaign. However, for me, it showed just what the team was capable of putting together and helped set expectations for the future. Plague of Shadows capably introduced new mechanics, remixed stages, and rewrote its own narrative in such a way that it fit in perfectly with the events of the main Shovel Knight story. It was sort of done in a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead kind of fashion.
I had hit a low point in life around the holidays the year that Plague of Shadows came out and playing through the campaign, experiencing the new story, and eventually seeing what became of Plague Knight and Mona helped pick me up that year. For that reason, this DLC will always resonate with me.
Undead Nightmare – Donovan Erskine, West Elizabeth News Writer
Undead Nightmare remains my gold standard for single-player DLC in a video game. The original Red Dead Redemption campaign is full of memorable characters and locations, and the Undead Nightmare DLC expansion offered a brand new campaign experience that reimagined those characters and places with a fascinating spin – there’s a zombie outbreak. It’s an awesome alternate-universe take on an already great story that felt like a true reimagining, rather than an extra mission tacked onto the end. The game even lets you play as Zombie John Marston in single-player and multiplayer after beating the story. It’s still a shame that Red Dead Redemption 2 never got the Undead Nightmare treatment.
Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep – Blake Morse, Co-EIC
There’s a number of reasons I love Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. For starters, it was a great concept that fit well into the Borderlands universe. Using a Table-Top RPG to deal with the loss of Roland and give some emotional depth to Borderlands’ cast of characters was a solid move. It definitely helped cement Tiny Tina as a fan favorite character and offered up some solid variety as far as reskins of enemies and new environments goes. And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s probably the reason we got Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, which is a brilliant mix of D&D and my favorite looter-shooter series. It’s definitely worth a playthrough now that you grab it as a stand-alone DLC experience.
Artorias of the Abyss – Sam Chandler, Never meet your heroes
Dark Souls remains one of my favorite games ever made and it reached new heights with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC. I had purchased plenty of DLC prior to its release, including my much loved Halo 2 Maptacular packs and even some Oblivion Horse Armor, but I don’t think I’d looked forward to a release as much as I did this.
Artorias of the Abyss did something rather incredible, it took players back in time to Oolacile, a place that would eventually become known as Darkroot Basin. The land was familiar, but not nearly as warped and dark. In fact, when players get there, the dark is just starting to spread and we meet heroes of legend that have died well before the start of the base game.
It was incredible to meet these fabled heroes, to discover what had happened to Artorias, and to help keep the legend alive.
Blood and Wine: The Witcher 3 – Bill Lavoy, School of the Bear
I can’t recall being blown away by any DLC as much as I was by Blood and Wine, the final expansion for The Witcher 3. This DLC didn’t just add an entire game’s worth of new quests to dig into, it gave players so many incredible payoffs that tied things up nicely. There was the Corvo Bianco vineyard, the Aerondight silver sword, and a visit from a friend when all is said and done. Blood and Wine adds so much more to The Witcher 3 that listing it all isn’t reasonable (there are 90 new quests), so you should do yourself a favor and play through The Witcher 3, Hearts of Stone, and Blood and Wine.
Mr. X Nightmare (Streets of Rage 4) – TJ Denzer, enjoys DLC punchies
Streets of Rage 4 was an incredible game, highly reviewed and one of our favorite games of 2020. How do you make a great game even better? By making it near infinitely replayable. Mr. X Nightmare is already cool because it made characters like Estel, Shiva, and Max Thunder playable, and it even added an entire collection of new music by Tee Lopes which are mostly banger tracks. However, the real value here was the new Survival Mode.
Mr. X Nightmare brought Streets of Rage 4 a rogue-lite mode in which your entire goal was to survive as long as possible while also gathering perks and debuffs that adjust your scoring. Even more cool is that this DLC brought every single one of the modern characters alternate moves, and you could mix and match them with the normal movesets as you pleased. Everything about this has provided plenty of fun reasons to go back to Streets of Rage and keep on playing. If this was a part of the core package when I reviewed it, Streets of Rage 4 might have got itself a perfect 10.
Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1 (Wii U) – Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host,Start your engines!
What is my favorite DLC of all time? That is a tough question as there is so much downloadable content for games that I enjoy. That being said, I think my favorite would have to be the Mario Kart 8 DLC that added so many tracks to the game as well as more characters to play as. Getting to drive against Link and the Villager/Isabelle is pretty cool. The main add-on for the Mario Kart 8 DLC was getting brand new tracks to race on. The likes of Excitebike arena, Hyrule Circuit, and Wario’s Gold Mine again were cool to see. It also showed that Nintendo was going to make Mario Kart 8 last a long time. Fast forward to the present and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t going anywhere, with the addition of new DLC. It also means that Mario Kart 9 isn’t coming anytime soon. I would like to give honorable mention here for Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC; being able to play in the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra locations. Those added a lot of Pokémon not available in Sword/Shield as well as bringing Dynamax Adventures to the game. Being able to play with friends and battle/catch legendary Pokémon, with a chance of that Pokémon being shiny, is a big deal. I have to mention Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night here as well with just how much DLC it got. New game modes and characters added to an already massive Metroidvania. So Mario Kart 8 DLC was my favorite but Pokémon and Bloodstained are close.
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters – Dennis White
I was close to tossing some Fighting Game DLC in this category but there’s too many to choose from so I’m going with the easier choice for me when it comes to the narrative game experience. The Old Hunters DLC not only adds a substantial amount of lore to Bloodborne but it also has some of the most thrilling and satisfying boss fights I’ve ever experienced. This was one of my favorite playthroughs on my own stream because I went into it without knowing what to expect and had played it way after the game’s initial hype. Lady Maria is such a badass!
Also, since I didn’t know any better, I went into the DLC after starting NG+ so I spent a substantial amount of time getting crushed by the harder enemies and these bosses that were already beefy because I didn’t have time to waste leveling anymore! Guess I made things a bit harder on myself, huh? Ludwig one-shot me so many times that my soul was crushed for a bit. Orphan made me suffer as well. But the feeling of triumph when taking both down was one of the biggest highs I’ve ever experienced in a game. Some of the best soundtrack moments are in the DLC and some of my favorite weapons are discovered in the expansion as well (Long live the Whirligig Saw!). I hope that expansions to Elden Ring are as high quality as what we got with this DLC.
Super Mario Maker 2 Master Sword – Asif Khan, Better at Super Mario Maker 2 than you
Super Mario Maker 2 Update 2 is one of my favorite pieces of DLC to ever ship. The update added a lot of new course parts, but the most important item added was the Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda. This update allowed makers to create levels designed to play with Link, the hero of time. The update also added classic Zelda overworld and dungeon music which just made things very enjoyable. Super Mario Maker 2 actually won GOTY in 2019, and the Master Sword DLC was likely what put it over the top when the Shacknews staff ballots were counted.
Blood and Wine for The Witcher 3 – Morgan Shaver, Wiedźmin
It’s hard to pick a favorite DLC, having played a ton of great ones over the years. Narrowing things down, I’d have to say that Blood and Wine for The Witcher 3 is probably the biggest standout in terms of favorite DLC. First, as far as DLC goes, Blood and Wine is absolutely massive, adding what feels like another game’s worth of content given its 30+ hour estimated completion time. It also comes packed with tons of memorable moments that add to and enhance The Witcher 3 experience, including a quest called Equine Phantoms where Geralt takes mushrooms and is then able to communicate with Roach. The Witcher 3 remains one of the best games ever released, and the DLC is just as good as the base game, so if you haven’t checked it out, it’s definitely worth your while. Not just Blood and Wine, but Hearts of Stone, while smaller, is really good as well.
There you have it. Those are our picks for the best DLCs for some of our favorite video games. What did you see on our list that stood out to you? What did we miss that would be on your list? Be sure to let us know in the Chatty comments below.