The past year wasn’t just strong for full-release games, it was also a year for incredible DLCs and expansions that built upon those games. I feel like you know you have truly enjoyed a title when you watch the credits roll after finishing it, and instantly start wondering what new adventures DLC might hold. Today, we narrow a strong field down to the very best DLC of the year.
Best DLC of the Year Nominees
This year saw many DLCs that built upon their original games in wonderful ways, but the further adventures of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds stood out among the very best of them.
Best DLC of 2017 – Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds
Horizon Zero Dawn is a game I took my time with. I fought every large, fantastical creature I came across. I explored every part of the map I could get to. Sometimes, with games I race to the finish, but with this one I took my time, sauntering across the finish line and instantly hoping there would be some DLC to sink my teeth into. I simply couldn’t get enough of Aloy and the world she lived in.
New titles can be dangerous things for developers, but Guerilla Games knocked it out of the park with Horizon Zero Dawn. Its post apocalyptic world was lush and vibrant, instead of drab and grey (Editor’s Note: He means Fallout 4). Aloy was a character who had been mistreated by the society she grew up with, but rather than turn into an angry, vengeful creature, she jumped at the opportunity to help people when they needed it. The creature design was wonderful, the combat was engrossing and rewarding, and the world itself was engaging.
It would take a lot for a DLC to be able to build on it, and I would have been happy with more of the same. What we got with Frozen Wilds was, somehow, even better than the base game. The challenge was turned up with new, more dangerous creatures. We were presented with a whole new segment of society to explore and try and understand.
The writing in video games often suffers from the very process of making them. The story can be forced to match the game, rather than a game being designed to tell a story. By the time I was finished with Frozen Wilds, I was in no doubt that it was the latter that had occurred here. The DLC does a fantastic job of exploring things that we have already learned in the game through the eyes of new people, and by the time Frozen Wilds wrapped up, it had done an amazing job of asking important questions about the nature of faith in a harsh environment.
The nature of the new threat to the world in the DLC also means that the creatures you fight are now more dangerous, and I found death came far easier in the new zone. I enjoyed this increase in challenge, and felt it was a strong positive for the DLC that they didn’t try and offer us too similar an experience. Leveling up, finding new equipment and resources, and mastering Aloy’s many skills was just as important now as it had been before.
I found by the time I was done, I had come full circle, and as the credits rolled again, I was wondering what I could expect from Horizon Zero Dawn 2. It speaks to how strong the DLC is that it not only further explored the world I knew, but also made me even more curious about what else Aloy might get up to. For this reason, Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds wins the award for Best DLC of 2017.