When people look back at this console generation, the introduction of downloadable content might be one of the most notable features to stand out.
Of all the innovations and additions that came our way over the last few years, DLC has undoubtedly changed this industry the most. Nowadays, having DLC available for your game on day one is pretty much required. Retailers like GameStop take reserves on DLC before it even comes out and companies spend advertising dollars on TV commercials for their “blockbuster” DLC releases.
Games themselves harbor a slew of great DLC and some downright embarrassing ones. The content that’s made available to us can range from the “who the hell buys this stuff” level to “they could have sold this for full price and I would have bought it.” In fact, many of the best games of this generation took their DLC very seriously and, as a result, enjoyed a long shelf life.
We at Pixelitis have played our fair share of DLC and while our opinions on the topic as a whole may differ, we all have a favorite or two. I mean, at least one guy out there wanted his horse to look badass right?
Best DLC: Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition
To be fair, Super Street Fighter IV:Arcade Edition is also available as a hard copy, but if you happened to own the original version and not purchase Super Street Fighter IV, Arcade Edition was a great leap forward.
Not only did Arcade Edition include the new characters and stages from Super Street Fighter IV, but it came with Street Fighter III twins Yun and Yang as well as darksiders like Evil Ryu and Oni. Arcade Edition balanced out all previous characters and tweaked gameplay mechanics, making for a more streamlined and precise fighting experience. The Replay mode, which let you to re-watch previous matches, was expanded to allow players to share videos among themselves.
Okay, so maybe it could have been better if they included all of those old costume packs as well, but I won’t complain. Arcade Edition is one of the more forgivable Capcom DLCs in recent memory. I’ll be interested to see if Street Fighter IV’s next (and hopefully final) expansion will live up to this one.
- Maxwell Coviello
Best DLC: Lair of the Shadow Broker from Mass Effect 2
My personally favorite, and I don’t believe I’m alone on this, is the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC from Mass Effect 2. While reception of the second game was high, many fans were upset at the lack of Liara. Being that she was a romance option in the first game, it seemed unfair that her only role in ME2 was a cameo on Illium. One of the main appeals of the Mass Effect series is the freedom the player has in crafting his or her own unique story and experiences. When such a major character takes a backseat role, it limits the player’s creative options. Thankfully, Bioware responded to fan’s requests and put Liara back in the spotlight.
And for those Commander Shepards who didn’t romance Liara, or who were indifferent to the character, the DLC is still worth getting. Lair of the Shadow Broker is a very engaging subplot that helps expand the already immense Mass Effect universe. It also includes two very memorable and challenging boss fights that diversify the gameplay in some interesting ways.
Also, personally, I always like seeing the various alien species of the game get further fleshed out. I know that sounds a bit strange, but there are so many amazing creature designs. If those example didn’t sell you, just take a look at what the Shadow Broker himself looks like.
- Stephen Hilger
Best DLC: Horse Armor from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Let me tell you, nothing satisfied me more in my gaming life than plunking down a mighty Jefferson two-dollar bill and Kennedy half dollar for an illustrious and shiny armor to put on my steed in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion who I shall hereby refer to as “Shadowfax.”
Horse Armor filled that void that I felt I was having with the 100+ hours I put into that game back when it was brand-spanking new. Why settle for a measly mod when you could buy it legitimately and be the talk of every town you rode into on that glowing steed? It also had this incredibly magical property where if you equipped it on Shadowmere, one of the coolest horses in the game, it could make him vanish without a trace. In a game that placed so much emphasis on fantasy elements and lore, making your most cherished and capable horse forever disappear was very fitting. It really opened my eyes to the fact that good things can and will come to an end.
It was truly one of the first instances of DLC where I really thought “yes, people who avidly enjoy games could use more of this nickel and diming.” It instigated a revolution that simply can’t be unmatched.
Sorry, Shadow Broker DLC, we all know what the best microtransaction of all time is.
- Patrick Kulikowski
Best DLC: “American Pie – Don McLean” – Rock Band series
For those who didn’t know, the classic rock song “American Pie” was the final DLC song released for Rock Band 3 in April of this year. It is the last of over 4000 songs that were distributed to gamers over 281 weeks of consecutive releases and the choice could not have been more perfect. This was clearly planned by Harmonix, perhaps since the beginning.
The famous line, “the day the music died,” is just too good to pass up and ending their incredible support of the series with a classic the level of American Pie is the perfect period at the end of the Rock Band sentence.
What’s most important here is the commitment that Harmonix displayed by getting to that point. Some of the best memories I have of the last console generation involve Rock Band, including tons of parties, meeting new friends and growing closer to the woman who eventually became my wife. The dedication that Harmonix showed to their product is why a simple game had such incredible longevity.
We’ve reached an age where the perpetual demand for “more” can be achieved via DLC instead of endless sequels. The music game craze from the previous generation filled shelves with various copies of the game to release additional tracks (far too many). For Rock Band, I have one disc and my console to access literally thousands of songs.
DLC isn’t going away but Rock Band should be the gold standard for the next generation: consistent, enjoyable, quality content.