The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine
Arguably packing enough content to be coined a game in itself, Blood and Wine is a masterclass in how post-launch content should be made. Offering players the brand new Toussaint area, the size of which matches the entire map of many open-world games, Blood and Wine introduces a thrilling new story arc for Geralt to get his teeth into. It boasts a whole new faction rich with culture, linguistic idiosyncrasies, and compelling characters to add to The Continent’s already brimming tapestry of inhabitants. Toussaint is a vibrant place, full of new monsters to defeat, quests to complete, and the chance to participate in a genuine knight errant tourney. Geralt even gets his own vineyard. You’re looking at 30 hours if not more of quality content.
The Last of Us – Left Behind
Predating the events of the full game, Left Behind is an engaging character study of Ellie as she roams a derelict mall with best bud Riley before jumping back to her adventures with Joel. In contrast to the danger and rampant violence of The Last of Us, Left Behind lets players appreciate Ellie in a simpler world, in all her adolescent angst, a window into the troubled experiences she had to contend with before even teaming up with Joel. It’s raw, emotional, and terribly compelling. If The Last of Us hit you in the feels, Left Behind is sure to have very much the same effect. The DLC is so damn good, it’s available as a stand alone title.
Red Dead Redemption – Undead Nightmare
Open-world games seem particularly suited to quality DLC content and Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare is no different. Building on what is already an astounding achievement in terms of narrative and immersion, Undead Nightmare introduces zombies to the final frontier with players tasked with getting to the bottom of their sudden rise. Aside from the 10 hours of new story, the DLC adds two new multiplayer modes and a host of new cosmetic items, notably some pretty terrifying new mounts. There’s something truly thrilling about revisiting familiar locales only to see them overrun by bloodthirsty zombies intent on turning Marston’s jaunt through the wild west into scenes from a zombie flick.
Age of Empires 2 – The Conquerors
Age of Empires 2 represents a seminal entry in the pantheon of real time strategy games, fully grasping and executing a tactical take on medieval warfare. However, with The Conquerors, Ensemble studios took it to the next level by introducing a host of new civilizations such as the nomadic Huns, Mesoamerican cultures, and rifle-toting Spanish conquistadors. Yet, where the expansion truly shined was in ironing out pesky problems, streamlining game play, and giving players even more options to craft increasingly complex strategies. To this day, the game relies heavily on the foundations laid out by The Conquerors with players still discovering novel ways to conquer their enemies.
BioShock 2 – Minerva’s Den
At launch, BioShock 2 failed to excite fans in a similar fashion to the original, that isn’t to say the game was a flop, rather it couldn’t fill the deep set shoes of its predecessor. It was an excellent game, just a victim of the franchises success. Intent on reversing this, developer Irrational Games went about making a statement with the Minerva’s Den expansion. The DLC is among the most thrilling and emotional stories to emerge from the BioShock universe as players dive further into the bizarre world of The Rapture by investigating the all-powerful The Thinker AI and its wide reaching influence. New characters, locations, and weapons obviously form part of Minerva’s Den as you’d expect from any good DLC. Though not the lengthiest expansion, the roller coast narrative is well worth it regardless. Many BioShock enthusiasts site how Minerva’s Den offered arguably a better experience than the full length BioShock 2.