DLC and expansions build on an already established world and improve it with different mechanics, enemies and all sorts of new content. Some games bring expansions that feel like entirely new games, while others drop DLC, which adds a little flair to a game you may have already beaten.
It isn’t uncommon for a game to announce DLC shortly after release, and this past year, we covered quite a few. Plenty of major franchises brought out DLC and expansions this year, filling out our list for Best DLC/Expansion 2022.
Here are the nominees for Best DLC/Expansion 2022:
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak DLC
Writer: Jordan Biordi
It’s about as standard a story as one can expect from Monster Hunter that adds a lot of charming characters and quite a few additional cutscenes to go along with it. But the story is just the garnish on top of the gourmet platter of added content that bolsters an already amazing game. For starters, the Elgado outpost is a welcome, if albeit familiar location that eschews the more traditional Japanese landscapes and themes of Kamura, for a more medieval style—less Samurai and more Chivalry. This is present even in the many armour sets that can be unlocked through defeating monsters, as they look more like full suits of Knight’s armour.
The biggest selling point of the Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak DLC, is the multitude of aforementioned combat improvements. Several of these improvements came with the 10.0 update—particularly being able to wall-run without Wiredashing first, which never made sense to me—as well as new Dango features that allow players to access higher-level Dango abilities at reduced activation chances; and some new smithing features.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle
Writer: Madeline Ricchiuto
The Elder Scrolls Online has always been poised as the more grounded MMO of its generation, keeping well away from the cartoonish designs of World of Warcraft and the GPU melting intensity of FFXIV’s crystal-strewn landscape, though the lack of colour saturation occasionally makes the game seem flat, particularly in some early starting zones of the Three Banner’s War. High Isle, being the latest entry into the series, has a much better handle on how to make a place interesting, though traditional European Medieval architecture is always going to be a bit too reliant on stone and wood to make for any kind of visual feast.
Whether you’re a veteran player or new to the game, The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy brand-new content as either a solo player or as part of a party.
Destiny 2 The Witch Queen DLC
Writer: Chris De Hoog
Console: PlayStation 5
After this long, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Destiny 2: The Witch Queen would be spinning its tires or coasting on years of momentum, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With this fourth expansion, Bungie’s magnum opus reaches its highest peak yet, simultaneously honouring its past, setting the table for an exciting year, and planting narrative seeds that will bear fruit for years to come.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen represents the highest peak the franchise has seen in years, if not ever. Held back by some grindiness and nigh-impenetrable plot gates, it’s one of the smoothest FPS experiences available today, thanks to its best story yet and a host of gameplay adjustments.
Outriders Worldslayer Expansion
Writer: Philip Watson
Console: Xbox Series X
Outriders is easily one of my favourite multiplayer games. People Can Fly has taken a massive step forward from their initial BulletStorm offering and have revamped the entire looting shooting genre. That isn’t without fault though: since release on April Fool’s Day in 2021, Outriders has seen virtually no expansion, and with the lack thereof, entering a cryo-rest like the titular characters of the title has been assured. While New Horizons added needed quality of life improvements, and a ‘new endgame,’ it was still not the expansion players were looking for an attempt at dressing a wilted lettuce salad. Enter, Outriders Worldslayer, the much-needed meat for the over-digested carapace of a game.
where Outriders Worldslayer succeeds, it SUCCEEDS. There are many new weapons, visual armour pieces, and modifications that can help a player’s Outrider do an ungodly amount of damage. The inclusion of Apocalypse gear allows players to snag another mod slot on already powerful gear, to have three mods instead of two. This can make your abilities destroy groups of enemies in spectacular fashion. As the Technomancer, every enemy I basically laid eyes on proceeded to be frozen solid instantly with the ultra-powerful extra third mod slot. Turrets stuck around for what felt like weeks, and my comrades felt like we were playing with five layers of gunfire instead of three.
WINNER: Best DLC/Expansion 2022 Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
Writer: Chris De Hoog
Console: PlayStation 5
Endwalker is, as mentioned, the end of the MMORPG’s first macro-storyline, the “Hydaelyn and Zodiark saga.” Everything from the last 8-11 years has led to this moment, and the buildup is palpable. Throughout the main storyline, old plot threads become relevant again, long-lost friends are remembered and even dispatched villains get a taste of new development.
In Endwalker, Final Fantasy XIV does the impossible: bringing a complex narrative arc, woven over the last decade, to a nigh-perfect conclusion. The latest expansion is a masterpiece that justifies the game’s current popularity and the best new story released in the franchise in recent memory, and it sets an excellent foundation for the MMORPG’s next years.