When you come to think of it the PC has had numerous forms of DLC for years and years, from patches that drop in new maps and levels to whole massive modifications that change the way the game works. This content has been free up until a few years ago when some inspired game designers decided that they could charge money for premium Neverwinter Nights module content and people would pay it. Why not too, since the modders are putting in tons of effort for very little payback.
Now with the advent of the Xbox and definitely the Xbox 360 the world of micro-payments and Downloadable Content, DLC has snowballed almost exponentially with various games all boasting different DLC for free, or for up to 1200msp in many cases.
Some of this DLC is pretty much just money for old rope.
A lot of EA's DLC for games like Dead Space relies on unlocking modified versions of weapons and armour, giving the player something to make the game easier and allowing for console exclusive versions of items. They did a similar trick with the Godfather 2 and they will no doubt do the same with Army of Two: The 40th Day. There was some free content for Ao2 of course yet again with a few new maps and so on, it wasn't up to much.
Dead Rising offered numerous costumes for free to keep you interested, it didn't really work and the same went for Saints Row.
This seemed to be the trend for DLC until Rockstar announced something regarding their GTA series, GTA IV would provide not just a few new vehicles or a couple of new cars...it would provide a whole new storyline set in Liberty City to keep you playing long after you'd finished the main game. Other developers obviously sat up and took notice.
This is a bit of a spotlight on some of the best DLC that's appeared on the 360 recently and is in no particular order.
First up is THQ's additional DLC pack 1 for Saints Row 2, aptly titled Ultor Exposed it can be played at any point during the main story after the prison break and appears outside of the Saints hideout. This is a pretty cool mission that I'm not going to spoil, there's around an hour of Gameplay in the actual mission itself depending on how you handle it. The pack also adds in new clothing and several actual designs by Joystick Junkies.
It also adds brand new vehicles and several of these are capable of immense firepower. There is an EDF Scout with a laser-guided rocket launcher that can spit rockets out like there's no tomorrow. The EDF Scout is from THQ's up-coming massively open world and highly destructive Geo Mod 2.0 powered Red Faction: Guerrilla.
There is an Ultor attack chopper that's not only a dream to fly, seats four people and has incredible attack potential. It's also added right from the start just like the new cars. There's also an A-10 attack plane that you can play with. The pack also adds in a new coop mode where you can compete to see who the best player is in a ranked points system.
For the price of 800msp this pack is definitely one of the cream of the DLC game packs out there right now. With the extra mission, more vehicles and firepower it adds to your game you really need to pick it up if you're a Saints Row 2 fan. The mission itself is well designed and features the voice talent of Tara Patrick as well as some other cool stuff. I'm trying not to spoil it here since I don't want to ruin anyone's story enjoyment.
Next up there's GTA IV and the much-awaited Lost and the Damned, this is a hefty priced download and it adds a lot of new content to the game. With a much-needed patch to the bike handling to go along with the new character and the Biker Gang themed main storyline. There are also a few tweaks to the game's setup and the inclusion of new bike themed Road Rash style races as well as multiplayer game modes. Lost and the Damned also adds new vehicles (lots of new bikes) as well as new weapons, a fully-automatic pistol and a menacing double-barrel sawn-off handcannon that can decimate a car in a few shots and more weapons to boot. Priced at 1600msp it weighs in at a hefty cost but it's worth it.
The new story brings with it new characters and there are even new radio stations, additional music and a complete new episode of the irreverent space comedy: Republican Space Rangers. The feeling of the Lost and Damned is different to the main GTA IV story/character and rather than being an immigrant you're a member of Liberty City already, a rough and ready biker. You have access to a hideout, safe houses and gang members who you can call for various things like weapons and favours.
Rockstar have also added new game modes in single player such as arm wrestling, a variant of poker and there's even an air-hockey game hidden away. They also increased the feeling of being in a biker gang by giving you specific dialogue for riding in formation, dropping in a gang system where buddies that die on missions are immortalised in a hall of fame, those who survive are given skill bonuses/boosts.
For those 1600msp you get a worthy package that extends the life of GTA IV and allows you to experience Liberty City from the perspective of the biker gang...as well as interleaving with the story of Niko from the main game. It is worth buying, especially if you're still playing GTA IV in mp as well. It is also noted that it's worth buying GTA IV with the Lost and Damned pack if you can; since it gives you the 1600msp needed to pick the pack up.
Now we head to the post apocalyptic world of Fallout 3 and look at Bethesda's first DLC pack. Operation Anchorage is a significant chunk of Gameplay and gives you a good all round dose of fun. Its set inside the virtual machine buried deep in an outpost that the Outcasts have discovered and gives you a chance to cut loose whilst still earning valuable XP towards your character's levels. Fighting to the location after discovering an odd radio signal leads you into numerous battles with raiders and other life forms, eventually you discover the actual outpost and find yourself inducted into the Outcasts plans. The Outcasts are still the same as ever and they treat strangers like total crap.
Operation Anchorage is a good chunk of Gameplay, it's a different style to Fallout 3 and because it's a VR sim you're given a new way of picking up ammo and health. There are various health refill stations around the expansive levels and the same goes for ammo dispensers. There are numerous new weapons such as the awesome gauss gun and various pickups to find as you trawl through the environment blasting the Soviet Forces who have taken over the cliff top artillery station.
It's paced well enough and there's a lot of action to contend with, you can go in guns blazing or you can sneak around and make use of the silenced pistol. Of course, this depends on your character's stealth skills and the way you have levelled up. I took mine in at around level 10 and earned experience from helping the Outcasts out to gain my 11th level. I'm half way through to level 12 with the character and Operation Anchorage was definitely worth the points and download. There are also numerous DLC only options to play with, squads that you can order as well as a few weapons that appear only inside the sim. There's also a Covert Ops perk that can be earned by collecting 10 intel suitcases. There are some reward weapons and armour that become unlocked in the outpost, when you complete the sim.
Operation Anchorage costs 800msp and is well worth it.
Next week we'll be taking at look at some more DLC such as: Left4Dead - Survival Pack. Force Unleashed: Jedi Temple and Fable II's: Knothole Island.