From bite-sized additions to major expansions, older games were kept alive in excellent ways this year.
Just as important and prominent as base game releases now are major expansions and DLCs, especially because developers now put in a startling amount of effort to add in excellent content to games long after they’ve launched. We saw plenty of relatively older titles being kept alive and thriving with such support this year, and some of them were treated to absolutely delicious content updates. Here, we’ll be talking about what have been our five favourite expansions throughout the year, before picking out one from that group that we feel was the best of the best.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.
ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY – THE FATE OF ATLANTIS
No amount of praise is enough for the way Ubisoft have supported the excellent Assassin’s Creed Odyssey since its release last year. A regular and healthy stream of free missions, tons of updates to keep the game mechanically intact, a story creator mode, and two major expansions. And it was the second of these two – The Fate of Atlantis – that really took our breath away. Collectively, the three episodes of this expansion was meaty (and good) enough that if Ubisoft had simply released them as a standalone sequel, no one would have batted an eye. Three beautiful new locations to explore, each of them massive in size, some excellent new boss fights and storylines, and a surprising amount of forward momentum for the overall narrative- The Fate of Atlantis had everything. At its best, it was even better than Odyssey’s base game, and that’s really saying something.
AGE OF WONDERS: PLANETFALL – REVELATIONS
The Age of Wonders returned to the limelight this year, delivering its addictive 4X action to players once again, and not long after Planetfall came out, developers Triumph Studios also treated us to the solid Revelations expansion. Adding an engaging new campaign, a brilliant new Anomaly site mechanic, new technologies and units to play around with, and delivering more of the engaging strategy gameplay of the base game, Revelations did exactly what we wanted it to do- it delivered more of what we loved in Planetfall so much to begin with.
DESTINY 2: SHADOWKEEP
2019 was a huge year for Destiny, and Bungie as a whole, as the developer ended its deal with Activision prematurely and came out the other side as the sole owner and self-publisher of all things Destiny. And the first major piece of content they put out this side of that momentous event made a lot of us very optimistic about the future. Shadowkeep wasn’t perfect – we would have liked a longer new campaign, more variety in missions, and more interesting new Exotics, for starters – but it did enough to show us that Bungie has the right ideas. The Moon was an excellent location to traverse and explore, the story missions were a blast to play through, while some of the endgame content added in was absolutely amazing. Shadowkeep isn’t on the same level as last year’s Forsaken was, but then again, it wasn’t really meant to be. What it is is a solid advert for the direction Bungie wants to take Destiny in going forward.
MONSTER HUNTER WORLD: ICEBORNE
Capcom supported Monster Hunter World constantly for a year with interesting new content drops on a regular basis, but all of it was in preparation for the grand finale- Iceborne, which is just yet another notch on their belt of impressive recent accomplishments. Adding a Master Rank, a new campaign, a large new location, and tons of new monsters, Iceborne is an excellent excuse to jump back into one of the best games Capcom have ever made. And if they support Iceborne for the coming months as well as they supported the base game prior to it, there’s no doubt in our minds that we’ll be coming back to this game again and again and again for some time to come.
FINAL FANTASY 14: SHADOWBRINGERS
It’s hard to think of a game that has had as dramatic a recovery as Final Fantasy 14. Launching as nothing short of an abomination, Square Enix somehow managed to turn it into one of the best MMOs around, and every major new expansion made it even better. The most recent, Shadowbringers, continues that trend, to the extent that it is perhaps one of the best pieces of content the entire Final Fantasy series has ver produced. A captivating story, a large new location to explore, an excellent soundtrack, and the addictive mechanical base that has made the base game so widely popular- Shadowbringers has everything, and it has it all in spades.
MONSTER HUNTER WORLD: ICEBORNE
How do you follow up on what is already one of the best and most widely beloved games of this generation? Capcom’s task wasn’t an enviable one by any means, but they more than delivered on those lofty expectations with the spectacular Iceborne. With the incredible Monster Hunter World, Capcom had already delivered a game that could provide players with hundreds of hours with addictive, compelling content, and with Iceborne, they only went ahead and doubled down on all of it. It is yet another expansion that was large enough that it could be released as an individual, separate game, and the fact that that content upheld the high standards of the Monster Hunter series makes it our favourite expansion for any game throughout 2019.