Expansions and DLC packs have come a long way in recent years, with some adding more content to their main instalments while others can outright alter an entire game experience. We've listed our top five entries for this year. Here are our favourite expansions of 2019:
5. No Man's Sky: Beyond by Hello Games - After having to deal with a rocky start for its massive exploration-based game set among the stars, developer Hello Games set out to right some wrongs with No Man's Sky: Beyond, which released earlier this year to critical acclaim. Not only did Beyond live up to the promises made when the game was originally released back in 2016, but it also returned hope to its early players while keeping the active player-base busy. Despite being marketed as an update, Beyond can be seen as an overall realignment of the original game, adding VR support, overhauling core mechanics and NPCs, and expanding the multiplayer experience from four to a whopping 32-player lobby (among other things). The ongoing development of No Man's Sky may have turned out to be a lengthy process, but the end-result has elevated the experience tenfold.
4. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep by Bungie - Released back in 2017, Destiny 2 has been updated constantly and received several large content drops. Now going into the third year of its life cycle and having been released from the studio's deal with former-publisher Activision, Bungie has released the latest of these expansions: Shadowkeep.
When Shadowkeep dropped back in October it brought with it a large amount of free content available to anyone who owned the Destiny 2 base game. This included lots of updates and fixes, two new Strikes, a few new PVP maps, crucible updates and also the Moon destination (which returning players will remember from the first game) was finally open for all to explore. For the fans who purchased the expansion, they were greeted with a whole array of new and exciting activities that would become available throughout the rest of the year. This included some new Missions and quests, new destinations and dungeons to explore, even more weapons and gear to earn and add to the collection, and an all-new raid that players could battle through with their squads.
3. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers - The first version of the Final Fantasy MMORPG released back in 2010 and didn't fare too well in the gaming world and was shut down in late 2012. Less than a year later with the help and guidance of Naoki Yoshida, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, a complete revamp made using a new game engine, with new gameplay features, and a completely new story. This new game was much better received and is still going strong six years later.
With the new Shadowbringers expansion, players saw the introduction of a brand new story, where heroes become the villains across two new cities and a handful of new areas. Players got to explore Norvrandt, the last bastion in a world where most areas have become devoid of life, as well as take part in the two newest trials in the game: Titania and Innocence. This expansion also saw the inclusion of three new tribes; Pixies, Nu Mou and Dwarves all got added into the new area. One big addition to this new expansion was the Nier crossover event which brought in some new players with a new story and a whole bunch of Nier-themed rewards. The last big changes saw the level cap raised to 80, players were allowed to start a New Game+, and it also brought with it some new jobs and races. This massive expansion gave players a ton of new content, adding to an already enormous world.
2. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne by Capcom - The grand yet confined co-op based action game Monster Hunter: World took the... well, world, by storm when the hunt began last year, sending players out to track down and take down massive beasts across varied environments. While the story had a conclusive ending, the game could technically go on for as long as players wanted, but grind will only keep players engaged for so long and something more substantial was required. Cue Iceborne.
This ice-cold expansion opened up a brand-new area called the Hoarfrost Reach, a land which had frozen over to offer an added layer of difficulty for more experienced players. In this inhospitable new region, players have to stay warm while tracking down the dangerous new monsters that are just waiting to be discovered - and that's the easy bit. While you couldn't jump into Iceborne straight away, the expansion is most definitely what long-time fans of the game wanted as it offered new gear, new weapons, new monsters and new quests to an already accomplished, vast experience that is still proving popular with fans.
1. Assassin's Creed Odyssey - The Fate of Atlantis by Ubisoft - The latest game in the well-loved, long-running franchise, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, became the first game in the series to let the player choose whether to play as a male (Alexios) or female (Kassandra) character for the entirety of the game. In keeping with the previous instalments in the series, Odyssey had players journey back into an ancient setting, reliving historical events and exploring mythology, this time in Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War.
The grand story was, a while later, accompanied by two three-part expansions, and the one we want to highlight was called The Fate of Atlantis. This new three-chapter-long adventure had the player's chosen protagonist venture into the world of Atlantis and the afterlife of Greek mythology. When crossing over to the other side, so to speak, players were met by various Greek gods and otherworldly beings as they went through the mythological tales of old. Through the fields of Elysium, the realm of Hades and the sunken city of Atlantis, players were in for a real, otherworldly treat after the conclusion of the main campaign.
Perhaps most significantly of all, The Fate of Atlantis has answers. And we're talking about answers to questions that people have been asking for some time. If you're a long-time fan of the Assassin's Creed universe, this DLC triple-bill is well worth the time.
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