It’s not unfair to say that the vast majority of DLC isn’t better than the game that preceded it, because downloadable content tends to offer a more scaled-down expansion of the beefier base title.
Even truly masterful DLCs like, say, The Last of Us’ Left Behind, are a welcome supplement but in no way intended to outpace the main experience.
But every so often, a DLC arrives that genuinely wipes the floor with the game it spawned from.
Whether because the original game was a flagrant disappointment or the DLC is just That Damn Good, these DLCs all ended up far surpassing the quality of the base release.
From much-needed epilogues to games that felt basically unfinished, to expansions which render the entire game in a whole new light, these DLCs aren’t just essential but superior to what came before.
While many players are understandably wary of DLC and keen to bounce off a game as soon as they roll credits, these extra slivers of downloadable content are proof perfect that it’s sometimes worth throwing down some extra dollar for an improved experience…
10. Awakened - Dead Space 3
After two terrific predecessors, Dead Space 3 was yet another threequel that couldn't quite deliver the goods, unmooring the series' deft balance of action and suspense for a defanged, less-horrific experience packed with irksome microtranscactions.
It was certainly a competent title, but clearly one impacted by the demands of developer Visceral Games' overlords at EA.
Just over a year later, the Awakened DLC was released, which effectively functioned as a 90-minute epilogue to the main story, resolving the fate of protagonist Isaac Clarke while also laying the ground for future adventures - which, sadly, per Dead Space 3's disappointing sales, never came to pass.
Even with its frustrating cliffhanger ending and short length, Awakened is a hyper-concentrated return to the genuine survival horror of the first two Dead Space games, emphasising the claustrophobia which felt so lacking in the third.
If Dead Space 3 feels like a corporate obligation Visceral had to make in order to appease EA, Awakened is clearly the game they wanted to produce all along.
By staying true to the series' roots, it's more entertaining in its brevity than the entirety of the main game.