You may have enjoyed some of the best games that the last twelve months had to offer, but it’s worth being mindful that many of those games have even more post-launch content to enjoy.
Downloadable content, or DLC, has come a long way since Bethesda’s DLC horse armour mis-adventure with Oblivion. For some, DLC is content that developers should have included in the purchased game, and for short titles, that may, indeed, be the case. For three of the very best titles from last year, games that already featured hours and hours of adventure, the additional DLC is well worth the price of admission.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is my 2018 game of the year. Not content with giving players 100 hours-plus of fun roaming Ancient Greece, Ubisoft scheduled a whole season of additional adventures and challenges for your hero to experience.
Players can already enjoy free regular updates, like epic ships and contracts, but the meatiest of this free content is entitled the Lost Tales of Greece. These episodic questlines offer standalone stories with new characters. Even if you’ve not picked up the season pass, players that have already finished the game, by completing all the existing missions (and fair play to you), still have plenty to look forward to. Most of the the seven free monthly expansions can already be found in the game, with the rest continuing to be released for the next few months.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Season pass owners are really being looked after. The pass includes a copy of Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered which has just launched. For Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, right now, the first of two additional story arcs are available in the game.
Legacy of the First Blade introduces our hero to Darius, the assassin who allegedly killed the Persian king, Xerxes. All of the three episodes are currently available to play. These introduce some of the elements, that will be familiar to fans of the series (and not just the hidden blade).
The second arc, The Fate of Atlantis (a title that LucasArts fans may be familiar with), shares some more secrets from the famous sunken city. We’ll know more once the story starts sometime in the next month or so.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey DLC, both free and as part of the season pass has added some superb new content to the game. Future DLC should keep this already amazing game fresh and exciting for months to come.
Whilst I found Lara Croft’s latest adventure, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, to be a bit lacking in the story department, the game looks great, especially on PC. The game also features some of the best puzzles since the 2013 reboot. This time the tombs are more like the insidious locations of the original games.
The season pass entitles purchasers to download seven DLC expansions, three of which are out right now. Each of the expansions include a new tomb, a new costume, a new ability and a new weapon. Each tomb can be played as a challenge tomb accesses from the main menu of from within the game after players have reached a certain point in the story.
Playing from within the main story, each new tomb includes a new quest line and story element. These paths include extra gameplay and puzzles that lead players to the new tomb.
The first expansion, The Forge adds a new quest-giver in Kuwaq Yaku. The old lady has a map that sends Lara on a new side-quest called Echoes of the Past. Lara must first translate the map with the help of the map’s creator, Diego, then it’s off searching for the tomb entrance.
The fiery tomb itself features lots of explosive gases that Lara must manipulate to swing over red-hot lava pits. The centrepiece is a massive rotating structure that’s an engineering marvel in itself. As with other tombs in the game, successful completion imbues Lara with additional skills for use in the game.
The second DLC, The Pillar, adds a new challenge Tomb to the main menu and a new in-game side-quest called The Age Makers. This new quest is available in Paititi. The Pillar adds a huge chunk of new story and gameplay before Lara even gets to the new tomb area.
The tomb, itself, has Lara battling against the elements in a huge storm throwing rain high winds and lightning bolts her way.
The third DLC, The Nightmare takes Lara back home, to Croft Manor and has her battling supernatural enemies. The fourth instalment, The Price of Survival, pits Lara against elite Trinity soldiers as she makes her way through a tomb packed with deadly traps. The Serpent’s Heart pits Lara against the evil Kukulkan cultists as she seeks to save the lives of the rebels.
The recently released DLC, The Grand Cayman gives us another challenge tomb and a new mission to save the people of San Juan, as Lara does battle against a group of mercenaries and solves the puzzles of a new volcanic tomb.
These DLC packs each offer, at the very least, a solid hour’s worth of tomb raiding and extra questing. If you try each again as challenge tombs you can easily add on another half-hour per episode. You are likely going to get a good ten hours of extra game time from the full seven DLC packs.
Square Enix have really pulled out all the stops with the Shadow of the Tomb Raider post-launch content. The season pass affords players hours of new gameplay, repayable challenges, costumes and abilities.
For our third game that keeps on giving, we need look no further than the adventures of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, exclusive to PlayStation 4.
Whilst Spider-Man is a huge game straight out of the box, packed with Marvel Easter Eggs, Season Pass owners get even more web-swinging action. The Spider-Man DLC The City That Never Sleeps is split into three self-contained episodes. As well as new story, you also get new suits and side activities to play through.
The first episode “The Heist” introduces Felicia Hardy AKA The Black Cat, who was mentioned, but never seen in the main Spider-Man campaign. The story plays on the unlikely former relationship between Spider-Man and the cat burglar. Black Cat is after some of Hammerheads hard drives and enlists Spider-Man’s help. We also get to play as Mary-Jane in another of her stealth missions. The episode games players some down-time in which to locate some of paintings hidden my Felicia’s father, the first Black Cat. Finishing The Heist unlocks the Spider-UK suit.
The City That Never Sleeps continues with “Turf War”. For this second DLC it’s all-out gang war in the Big Apple. Hammerhead is trying to take down the Maggia dons and Spider-Man is in the middle. Add some seasoned gangsters and a sprinkling of Sable tech and you’ve a recipe for disaster. This DLC whilst fun, is a bit weaker than its predecessor. The Spider-Man DLC concludes with “Silver Lining”. This finale features the return of Silver Sable, who is not happy that Hammerhead hands his hands on her technology.
As well as additional storylines The City that Never Sleeps provides players with new collectables and side missions, as well as additional spider-suits and abilities. There’s even a few more frames for your photo-mode shots. This is on top of some special suits that the developers, Insomniac, have added to the game, fee to all.
These three huge and very different games from the three very different publishers of Ubisoft, Square Enix and Sony Computer Entertainment, offer players some of the best gaming experiences you could want. DLC content, whilst not denying it would have been nice for it to have been in the base games, can hardly be seen as a cash grab. Rather it extends the gaming experience for players that want to extend their time immersed in these incredible game worlds. If only more publishers’ DLC provided such value for money.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is available across PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well. Spider-Man, however, is only available on PlayStation 4. All three games are some of my favourite titles from 2018 and come highly recommended.