Value for your dollar.
It's not easy to follow up on extraordinary release, but Playground Games did just that with Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island. For a fair $20 it included a whole new area that focused on off-roading with dangerous jumps and hazardous terrain. With that came new vehicles, new rally parts, and dozens of new events to take advantage of the area.
What really set it apart from other DLC in recent memory was the addition of extreme weather. During many races a storm would swoop in bombarding vehicles with rain, swaying trees, and causing mayhem on the track. Storm Island felt different from the core Forza Horizon 2 experience, while benefiting from its tremendously good engine. You can't ask for much more than that.
Exposing a weakness.
Destiny's original debut wasn't all that exciting, but the hope for long-term content support has given many a reason to remain invested.
The game's first post-launch content package, The Dark Below, wasn't a strong case for the game's long-term future. Equipped with only one Raid, Strike, and a couple other small editions, many players flew through its offerings within a few hours. Worst of all, it was priced at $20 despite being a package mild in scope. It might very well have been the worst value proposition of 2014.
Closure at its finest.
While BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One was disappointing, Episode Two was a great send-off to one of 2013's best games. For $15 it included a full five hours of great narrative delivery and exciting gameplay. When you consider that BioShock Infinite's main campaign was roughly 12 hours in length, that's a lot of value.
What Burial at Sea Episode Two did better than anything was bring the worlds of Rapture and Columbia together. For fans of the franchise it was delightful, and in the event that BioShock has truly seen its end most will be okay with that. It also helped that Elizabeth played an interesting protagonist.
A new low for micro-transactions.
Assassin's Creed Unity's micro-transaction treasure chests are as invasive as post-purchase content comes. These beautiful treasure chests were scattered everywhere throughout the game world so that you were constantly reminded of their existence. As a matter of fact, when you first learned how to open the regular chests there's a micro-transaction chest glowing right next to you. This was Ubisoft's way of making sure that the millions of gamers who played Assassin's Creed Unity were introduced to its new money making scheme.
It's one thing to have a micro-transaction menu item on the interface, but it's another to populate a retail-priced game world with glowing chests that require real money transactions to open. We can only hope that this becomes the exception rather than the norm.
Setting a precedent.
Before Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, standalone expansions were a rarity in the gaming industry. Ubisoft Montreal would teach other developers that crafting meaningful content and removing the barrier of entry is a quick way to propel yourself into the spotlight.
Blood Dragon wasn't just some tacked-on content. It remixed the original game world with a retro-futuristic palette that worked tremendously well with its new weaponry and enemies.It was a whole new experience even for those who spent dozens of hours in the original campaign.
Why did I get a season pass again?
Many Killzone: Shadow Fall players were hoping that The Insurgent Pack would substantiate their Season Pass purchase. For many, it would fall well short of doing so.
The main problem with The Insurgent Pack was that its greatest addition was the Insurgent class. The Insurgent was particularly gimmicky and wouldn't provide much benefit to the game's online component, which at the time of The Insurgent Pack's arrival was waning in popularity. Its three new weapons were uninspired, and the new single-player Elite Mode was just a slightly modified Hard difficulty. In other words, there wasn't much to see in what was supposed to be Killzone: Shadow Fall's biggest DLC.
inFamous First Light was a standalone expansion for inFamous: Second Son that added a healthy amount of new content. It placed players in the role of Fetch, one of the more interesting characters in the Second Son campaign. She had some unique qualities that made tackling the new content and Arena mode a good departure from the original experience.
How low can you go?
Final Fantasy XIII-2's Requiem of the Goddess DLC didn't include a whole lot. Outside of a few new roles for Lightning to try its content offerings were limited to a single battle that pit Lightning against Caius Ballad. So, it might not surprise you that it fell below the one hour mark for most players.
The best thing that can be said about it is that it featured the "true ending" to Final Fantasy XII-2, which isn't saying much.
Continuation of excellence.
Many would argue that The Last of Us had one of the most compelling narratives of last-gen. Surprisingly, its first and only DLC package would meet expectations by letting players control Ellie during two critical events in her life, one when she is split up from Joel, and the other during her journey to adulthood.
Left Behind managed to be even more fun than The Last of Us' main campaign during a section where Ellie explores an abandoned mall equipped with a party store and photo booth. It showed a side of Ellie that was previously unseen, and had such a powerful ending that it made many gamers want to quickly dive right back into the original campaign.
Compromising the core experience.
Sonic: Lost World wasn't a good game by any stretch of the imagination, but it was actually made worse by its pre-order bonus. Those who pre-ordered the game were given a code that would unlock 25 lives. While this certainly made the campaign easier, it affected game balance. It was as nonsensical as it sounds.