2010’s best DLC and downloadable games

The best DLC expansions

Alan Wake: Episodes Seven and Eight

Given the episodic style of Alan Wake’s storytelling, it’s only natural that the story would continue on in DLC. Now I’m not sure I feel about the concept of paying extra for an ending, and the Verizon product placement in Episode Seven: The Signal was a bit much. Still, it gave the developers a chance to realize some of Wake’s better gameplay and story ideas to their fullest. It was a noble experiment and worked so well as a download, it makes you think maybe the full game would’ve been better suited to episodic content than a disc release.

BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den

BioShock 2 was a great game on its own, but most of the add-ons were either simple additions to the online multiplayer, or shallow single player challenges. When Minerva’s Den hit servers in late 2010, you finally got a taste of BioShock 2’s real DLC potential and a reason to at last take it back off your shelf. A brief but gripping side story set in a previously unseen part of Rapture, the new Plasmids and weapons were great, as were the battles with returning Big Sisters, but the poignant plot and characters were what really got you, making it a very welcome addition to the series.

Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker and Overlord

BioWare was one of the first companies to recognize the importance of DLC for enriching their titles, and the dev proved really committed to adding to the already great Mass Effect 2. Overlord was an action-packed new adventure for Shepard and his crew, while Lair of the Shadow Broker filled in some story gaps and had some of best writing the series has ever seen. Perhaps they were a little short, but gaming would be a better place if everyone supported their games like BioWare does.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

When I first heard of a zombies-based expansion to Red Dead Redemption, I scoffed. “What an empty cash grab,” I said to whoever would listen. But it takes a strong person to admit they were wrong, and I was really, really wrong. Zombies were just the beginning in Undead Nightmare, as the fairly real world of Red Dead became populated with sasquatches, chubacabras, and horses of the apocalypse. The enhanced gameplay and alternate economy were welcome additions too, but the best part was easily getting to spend just a little more time with John Marston and his eclectic cast of characters as they dealt with the situation in their own special way.

The biggest downloadable disappointments

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

While some Sonic fans were satisfied with Sonic the Hedgehog 4, many, many more were let down by what should’ve been a return to Sonics of old. The unasked for graphical update instead of more traditional graphics was bad enough, but when you screw around with the physics and add a spotty homing jump while repeating a bunch of old bosses, that’s just too far. It wasn’t as good as New Super Mario Bros Wii, let alone Mega Man 9, and its Episode 1 distinction and relatively small amount of substance despite costing $15 screams of greed.  It wasn’t Sonic Unleashed level bad, but it certainly failed to meet the admittedly high expectations.

Sonic Adventure

I don’t want to gang up on Sonic, but the download rerelease of Dreamcast launch game Sonic Adventure was another botched offering of something many wanted to play. Again it came down to Sega charging way too much for something; the original game is untouched and is as good (or not) as you remember, it’s the DLC that’s the problem. $10 for the main game is a fair price, but charging $5 for all the Sonic Adventure DX additions is pretty underhanded Sega. Why try so hard to rip-off your most devoted fans?

Dead Space Ignition

Once EA said it was putting out a downloadable game to act as preview for Dead Space 2, maybe we were in the wrong to assume it’d be something like Dead Rising 2: Act Zero. What we got was a collection of shallow minigames connected by a boring motion comic. Instead of ramping up excitement for the remarkable looking Dead Space 2, we felt a little cheated, even if it was free with our pre-order.

Comic Jumper

After The Maw and ‘Splosion Man, it seemed like developer Twisted Pixel could do no wrong. The dev produced interesting games with a wry sense of humor, which we assumed we’d get from Comic Jumper. Admittedly the humor was still great, but the bland, repetitive shooting and annoying level design were a real let down. Still, Twisted Pixel will probably get back on track for next year’s Ms. ‘Splosion Man.

Doritos games

Genuinely I never saw much potential in free advergames like Doritos Crash Course and Harm’s Way. Crash Course was slippery platforming garbage just like I expected, while Harm’s Way was an inoffensive racing game. What did disappoint me was that these crummy games didn’t have the common courtesy to have incredibly easy Achievements like the last Doritos offering, Dash of Destruction. If you’re going to bribe gamers to sell Doritos chips, at least do it right.

Dec 22, 2010

The Platinum Chalice Awards 2010
The best games of 2010, honored with the glittering trophies and glowing tributes they truly deserve


GamesRadar Editors' Games of the Year: 2010 Edition
The 14 different games that rocked our individual worlds


10 Wii games that kicked ass in 2010 
Noteworthy games aren't exclusive to PS3 and 360


  • anduin1 - January 25, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    Um...all of those "XBLA exclusives" are all on Steam :/ fail less
  • Firenzeta - December 30, 2010 8:42 a.m.

    As RushofBlood17 said, Chime is on PC well ahead of 2011, making it no longer a XBLA exclusive.
  • philipshaw - December 24, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    Great article, downloadable games have had a better year than retail games
  • Fuzunga - December 24, 2010 6:43 a.m.

    How is Bit Trip Runner not on this list?
  • Lionzest7 - December 24, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    honestly, I didn't feel like sonic 4 was a big disappointment... I felt like they tried to make the game like the old ones, but wanted to keep it nostalgic. I felt like it was a decent game, not really disappointing. I don't care that much about the graphics, the fanmade one is better looking. Honestly though I felt like sonic will just never be made into anything acceptable to all. "The Sonic Fan"
  • OHMYGODIMONFIRE - December 24, 2010 2:18 a.m.

    I'm gonna have to disagree on the Dorito's dissing. Crash course is an incredibly fun game, and i know i've spent at least three hours in the one day that i've owned it playing online with friends. I haven't played harm's way, though i have heard good things. Besides, they're both free.
  • oxman89 - December 23, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    Monday night combat! xD thats expected for release on steam in january. It makes me excited because i can have tf2, AND mnc!
  • EricBratcher - December 23, 2010 6:53 p.m.

    Weird - I thought the Sonic games would be the most controversial entry on this list, but it's the Doritos games. Go figure. Incidentally, if anyone is playing the new Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money and wondering why it didn't make the cut, it's because it came out too late. It could very well be excellent.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - December 23, 2010 6:20 p.m.

    Undead Nightmare has so much to offer for only 10 bucks. Personally I don't think Joe Danger is worth $15 so it's a good thing I waited til black friday to buy it half off. For some reason I always though Super Meat Boy was a XBLA exclusive.
  • elilupe - December 23, 2010 5:40 p.m.

    haha I remember when Shamus Young from the Escapist got obsessed with Chiime, and played it so much he got number one on the world leader-boards for a short time!
  • PushesPaperInACircle - December 23, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    I had a lot of more fun with Castlevania: Harmony of Despair than with Scott Pilgrim. Henry should give Crash course another shot because the controls are pretty tight.
  • GR_HenryGilbert - December 23, 2010 3:40 p.m.

    @japstersam Yeah there were a few that hit way too late for me to play and include, notably Enslaved: Pigsy's Perfect 10 and BFBC2: Vietnam. Plus Dead Rising 2: Case West has the audacity to launch next week, taunting me with further incompleteness. Also you guys are right, Chime stopped being an exclusive a few months ago. It's way too late for such a major edit, but how about we all use our imaginations and mentally move Chime to the multiplatform section and then fill its 360-exclusive slot with Toy Soldiers or Risk: Factions, whichever you prefer.
  • gilgamesh310 - December 23, 2010 3:23 p.m.

    Why would Dead Space Ignition be there if this is a list of 2010's BEST dlc and games?
  • DirkSteele1 - December 23, 2010 11:32 a.m.

    I find it hard to criticise any game that has a price tag of 0MSP/£0, even if I have to put up with advertising for salty snacks. Both Doritos games were mildly amusing diversions. And I achieved 200G on both. Crash Course multiplayer with friends on line was a good laugh. Scott Pilgrim and Snoopy Flying Ace would be my DLC games of the year (based on hours played). And Limbo of course was excellent. Sonic 4 was the biggest disappointment. Please Sega, just give us what we want!
  • japstersam - December 23, 2010 9:30 a.m.

    probably a bit late for this article, but BFBC2 Vietnam is a sweet add-on! also, like a few people have said, the achievements in harm's way took less than 10 minutes, probably the easiest 200 this side of avatar :D but yes the ones in crash course were awful, the game was a good laugh but just not fun enough to try and nail gold on every level! also although i don't play it, all my friends seem to think cataclysm is a great add-on.
  • veryweirdguy - December 23, 2010 8:48 a.m.

    @jmcgrotty seems a bit extreme. Care to expand...? I've found more enjoyment this year from downloadable titles that retail releases, for sure.
  • jmcgrotty - December 23, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    This article is an embarrassment. Downloadable games/content are the cancer of the industry, and making a list like this seems like you are trying to legitimize the process.
  • AA95mp - December 23, 2010 8:17 a.m.

    Sam and Max should have been on here
  • mattchew86 - December 23, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    Stupid me splurged for the DX addition for Sonic Adventure. If I would have known how completely useless it was, I would've used that $5 to get a pack of smokes.
  • Limbo - December 23, 2010 7:07 a.m.

    Super Meat Boy is probably the most addicting game I've played in a while. I actually just played the demo and accidentally ended up buying it. At first I was super mad at myself because I just wasted all my points, but then I played it some more and I can't stop. Slowly on my way to 100%ing the damn thing. Oh yea and Limbo is amazing.

Showing 1-20 of 45 comments

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