The quality of DLC and expansions have been pretty hit or miss depending on the year. That seems to be improving, however, with more games releasing more substantial expansions and DLCs. This year has a decent crop to choose from, as you'll see with the nominees.
Here's the list of nominees (and here's the list of nominees for all categories):
- Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (Our Review)
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
- Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Our Review)
- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Our Review)
- XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (Our Review)
Readers' Choice - XCOM 2: War of the ChosenXCOM 2 was a great game mired in technical issues and less-than fleshed out ideas. War of the Chosen gave the developers the chance to fix those technical issues and build on systems already in the base game, giving players a complete version of XCOM 2, which came together to be an incredible game. It's no surprise readers noticed this, as War of the Chosen did everything it should: improve on the base game and offer new content.
Third Place - Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
By Andrew OttonAll The Frozen Wilds needed to do was give us more of the same Horizon Zero Dawn that we loved in the base game. That's exactly what we got. Learning more about The Banuk was interesting, we got the chance to learn about the history of the world and why it is the way it is, and the new weapons and machines offer some more variety in the combat.
The Banuk are a totally different group of people from those you run across in the base game, and we do learn more about their relationship with the Machines. The warring tribes value combat prowess above all else, so naturally Aloy excelled. There's also a good reason they're not around for the end of the base game, as they're dealing with their own problems. Some may be disappointed that what happens in this expansion ultimately doesn't have all that much of an effect on the overall story, aside from filling in some background and more information, but it will keep your attention for the entire time.
Basically, if you liked Horizon Zero Dawn you will definitely like The Frozen Wilds. If you haven't played Horizon Zero Dawn, you should, as it is most certainly one of the best games released this year. The fact this year saw a whole new area to explore and more content in the interesting world was a real treat.
Second Place - Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
By Sam GuglielmoUncharted 4: A Thief’s End was a monumental send off for Nathan Drake, giving the man one last adventure that proved to be his greatest yet. Despite this, not all of Nathan’s friends got a chance to show up. While Chloe may have played a main role in both Uncharted 2 and 3, she was sorely missing in 4. Thankfully, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy seeks to correct that.
It’s almost impressive how The Lost Legacy manages to take all the things that worked in Uncharted 4 and carry them over into a smaller adventure. While Chloe and Nadine’s quest may not quite be at the same scale as the main games, that doesn’t mean their adventure doesn’t contain its fair share of amazing moments. From using their grappling hooks to literally pull a helicopter out of the air, to having a fist fight on a runaway train, The Lost Legacy is full of moments that we’ve come to know and love from the Uncharted series.
It also sets up the future of Naughty Dog games by giving the series its first major open world area. While it’s clearly still feeling the concept out rather than fully embracing it, it is really cool to see Naughty Dog step into gaming’s current biggest trend and have their own take on it. The open world has some interesting locations to explore, offering unique puzzles and story moments if you seek them out.
Really, isn’t exploring the whole point of the Uncharted series after all? Uncharted: The Lost Legacy does a great job expanding elements from Uncharted 4, providing players with one more fantastic adventure for only half the price.
Winner - XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
By Don Parsons
In short: it's more XCOM 2.
My editor is telling me that's not enough though, so let me explain a bit more. XCOM 2 on release had some flaws: technical problems, some minor missteps, and a few things that left you wondering what else could be done. With XCOM 2: War of the Chosen it feels like we're seeing Firaxis' completed vision for XCOM 2, as the Avenger base is taken more advantage of, there's more elements of resistance and factions fighting the Aliens, and the idea of special "super aliens" is iterated on to reach a fun and far better place.
It's the XCOM 2 that someone was dreaming up and got forced into release, and then got the greenlight to go back and add the things back in. War of the Chosen's ideas are creative and realize different possibilities, and the technical issues are significantly less due to the engine reworking done for the game.
It's no surprise XCOM 2: War of the Chosen was picked here to me because it let a studio strengthen and add on to a solid base with great ideas.