January 16, 2015 by Paul Curtin
Becoming a more controversial topic with each passing year, 2014 had more games with downloadable content than ever before. As developers look to extend the life of their games and publishers look to rake in even bigger profits, almost every major game release now has some sort of DLC, expansion, micro-transactions, or season pass attached to it.
But while DLC is getting out of hand and beginning to have a negative stigma attached to it, there are still some developers who are releasing new content that justifies its purpose of keeping gamers happy by giving them even more new and better experiences for their favorite games.
Open world games Infamous: Second Son and Watch Dogs were two of the most anticipated games of 2014, but after not being able to detrone Grand Theft Auto V, Ubisoft and Sucker Punch used their DLC as a second chance to try and win gamers back over by putting more exciting supporting characters in the lead role. We learned that Irrational Games would sadly be downsizing and Burial at Sea – Episode 2 would be the last of the BioShock series we would see for now. Then there’s Dead Rising 3‘s self-aware Super Ultra Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α which was easily the wildest and most hilarious DLC of the year.
Blizzard, who always takes their sweet time with games and expansions, released three of the year’s best expansions that completely turned around two of their games that were on the decline. Reaper of Souls, included in the Ultimate Evil Edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, won our Best Remaster 2014 award, and Warlords of Draneor was enough to raise World of Warcraft‘s subscriber count to over 10 million — the highest it’s been since back in 2012.
But among all of this year’s great extra content, none was more anticipated than the follow-up to last year’s Game of the Year. After The Last of Us won just about every possible Game of the Year award it could in 2013, gamers were left demanding more from acclaimed developer Naughty Dog… and in the typically slow month of February, they got it. Focusing solely on Ellie this time, Naughty Dog found a brilliant way to fill in some of the gaps from the main storyline of The Last of Us while not detracting from the game’s powerful ending.
Left Behind wasn’t necessary better than The Last of Us, but it maintained the momentum all while taking risks that the original couldn’t afford to do. The team at Naughty Dog used the extra couple hours of gameplay to shed light on Ellie as a growing teenager before the events of the game and introduce unique gameplay mechanics such as lighthearted mini-games and finally letting combat between human hunters and zombies to occur at the same time — creating wild situations and completely unpredictable outcomes. This was the perfect example of how to give fans more of what they want after investing in a season pass and exactly what you want when playing a singleplayer game over and over again. The Last of Us: Left Behind was not only the Best DLC of 2014, but the best singleplayer experience of the year, too.