Best Video Game DLCs 2023

Want to find out which DLCs build upon the base game in meaningful ways? Here are our top picks for the best video game DLCs of all time.

After spending dozens of hours playing through and completing your favorite game, you’ve probably asked yourself “Where can I get more?”

The answer to that question would be video game DLCs, which give us a chance to explore new areas, quests, characters, and sometimes even mechanics not included in the base game.

While some DLCs may be limited to cosmetic items like skins for your character or weapon, others go out of their way to build upon the original game in meaningful ways.

In this list, we’ll look back on the best video game DLCs that managed to get us to come back and spend a little bit more time inhabiting our favorite digital worlds.

As always, we encourage you to bookmark this list and check back as we continue to find new video game DLCs that catch our eye.

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New Horizons is a great addition to the Switch-exclusive library and one of the best installments in the Animal Crossing series that has ushered in a new wave of players.

Although the base game is already packed to the brim with fun activities, craftable items, customizable furniture, and colorful NPCs, Nintendo took things even further the Happy Home Paradise DLC.

Releasing alongside the ACNH 2.0 update, this DLC includes a host of new content that focuses on helping bring villagers’ dream vacation homes to life.

Players are tasked with designing home exteriors and interiors using a wide selection of tools, recipes, and resources not featured in the base game, opening up the possibilities for more creativity.

Ubisoft is known to support its games with post-launch content years after they’ve released, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Immortals: Fenyx Rising get the same treatment.

Building off of the game’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild open-world design, the Myths of The Eastern Realm expansion adds a new map, protagonist, and storyline inspired by Chinese mythology.

The DLC is kept separate from the main campaign and sees players taking on the role of Ku as they navigate three distinct new biomes solving puzzles, fighting monsters, and exploring activities.

Along the way, players are exposed to new twists and gameplay elements that make Myths of The Eastern Realm feel like a true standalone experience.

Taking its cues from legendary sci-fi RPGs like Mass Effect and Fallout, The Outer Worlds is a fun space-faring romp filled with clever writing, action-packed gameplay, and meaningful choices.

Much like those aforementioned franchises, the base game can be extended with two post-launch DLCs: Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos.

The latter is a more narrative-driven DLC that sees you role-playing as detective after you’re hired to investigate the mysterious murder of the prolific Aetherwave Actress Ruth Bellamy.

Whereas Peril of Gorgon focuses on expanding gameplay with new perks, flaws, NPCs, items, quests, and explorable planet, Murder on Eridanos does a lot more with its story.

Outer Wilds is another game that sees players traveling through space and visiting different while trapped in a never-ending timeloop.

While the base game has received nothing short of critical acclaim for its masterclass in writing, the Echoes of the Eye DLC adds another chapter to Outer Wilds’ lore.

Set within the game’s existing world, it sees players investigating a strange satellite photo anomaly that leads them down a breadcrumb trail of clues and increasingly dark secrets.

The expansion does a fine job incorporating and expanding upon Outer Wilds’ gameplay mechanics while creating a much spookier atmosphere with thematic elements of horror.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a thrilling entry in Ubisoft’s historically-based action RPG and manages to shake up the AC formula without taking itself too seriously.

Anyone who enjoyed the base game and was looking forward to DLC has likely spent the last year feeling spoiled rotten as Ubisoft continues to churn out new content for Valhalla.

The game’s most ambitious expansion to date is Dawn of Ragnarök, in which players guide Eivor as they embrace their destiny to become Odin and enter the mythical Dwarven realm of Svartalfheim.

Equipped with divine powers, they travel across this dangerous new world and face off against Norse mythology’s greatest foes to rescue Odin’s son Baldr. 

BioShock Infinite comes from a long line of memorable first-person shooters set in the sprawling underwater metropolis known as Rapture.

The game manages to stand out from its predecessors by introducing a new setting: the floating city of Columbia, which shares several thematic and narrative ties with other games in the series.

Additionally, after players finished the original game’s thought-provoking story, they enjoyed the amazing dual-section addition Burial At Sea.

Set after the main story, the DLC sees you returning to Rapture to investigate the disappearance of a young girl; episode two ramps up the tension with a stealth-driven adventure where you get to play as Elizabeth.

An excellent expansion to an already phenomenal game, The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine is video game DLC at its finest.

Of course, that’s not to take anything away from Hearts of Stone, the game’s other notable expansion that adapts the Polish folktale of Pan Twardowski.

However, what sets Blood and Wine apart is its exciting new Toussaint location, expanded cast of characters and enemies, including a new boss, and overall great story.

At the time, the DLC felt like the perfect send-off for what critics and fans consider to be one of the best fantasy RPGs of all time.

Nintendo’s vibrant third-person shooter Splatoon hasn’t seen much in the way of downloadable content throughout its trilogy of games with the sole exception of Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion.

Billed as a single-player-focused add-on, it offers a new adventure spanning 80 missions that star Agent 8, a new Octoling character who awakens on a dark subway platform.

Tasked with navigating a mysterious underground test facility, Agent 8 must battle wave after wave of enemies and bosses to reach the surface of Inkopolis.

As a reward for completing the DLC in its entirety, players unlock a new playable race along with new missions, gear, and revelations about Splatoon’s lore.

What started as a flash-based game created by Edmund McMillen would go on to become one of many indie success stories and usher in a new generation of roguelites.

Throughout its lifespan, The Binding of Isaac has received countless DLC expansions as well as a meaty sequel titled The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

For this list, we’re highlighting the game’s Afterbirth expansion, which introduces a host of new items, playable characters, bossfights, game modes, and endings.

This adds up to over 100 more hours of gameplay with additional support for daily challenges and competitive online leaderboards.

Every GTA iteration has its die-hard fans, and for some, Grand Theft Auto IV is the best the series has ever been.

A large part of that admiration stems from the quality of GTA 4’s expansions, in particular The Ballad of Gay Tony DLC.

Touching on everything that makes GTA so much fun, it adds several new weapons and missions along with a refreshingly human story about a street thug who struggles with competing loyalties.

Witnessing as Luis Lopez tries to navigate an uncertain world and decipher who’s real and who’s fake makes for a compelling GTA narrative that has aged like fine wine.

Regarded as one of the best single-player games of all time, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us tells an emotionally-charged story about the costs of surviving a major disaster.

Considering the game was a self-contained, narrative-driven affair, fans weren’t expecting much in the way of story-focused DLC add-ons.

Of course, Naughty Dog had other plans and would go on to release the Left Behind DLC, a precursor to events of the game with additional content set halfway through the story.

This expansion did a fine job at fleshing out Ellie’s character and backstory while putting the wheels in motion for her future role in The Last of Us: Part II.

The Civilization games are known to have some of the most content-rich expansions, sometimes introducing entirely new game mechanics, systems, and features.

So while Civilization V may not be the most recent installment, it does offer one of the franchise’s best DLCs in the form of its second official expansion, Brave New World.

This add-on introduces nine Civilizations, eight Wonders of the World, a new Trade Route system, and expanded mechanics from the previous Gods & Kings DLC.

In addition, it broadened the possible victory conditions players could achieve by building upon Civ 5’s diplomatic, cultural, and religious gameplay systems.

There have been three substantial DLCs released for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dawnguard, Dragonborn, and Hearthfire, all of which were well-received by players.

However, if we had to play favorites, Dawnguard is a cut above both its successors in terms of storytelling, gameplay, and originality.

The expansion drops you in the middle of an ongoing war between a band of vampire hunters (the Dawnguard) and the vampires themselves (the Clan Volkihar).

Early on, players are asked to pick between the two factions and depending on their choice, can unlock new weapons, spells, armor, and abilities of either a vampire or werewolf.

One of Mass Effect’s most defining characteristics is the large amount of care and consideration that goes into forming relationships with your crew.

Therefore, it seems only fitting that the final expansion for Mass Effect 3 would wrap things up by shining a bigger spotlight on the player character’s relationships and past achievements.

In the Citadel DLC, a wide range of characters from throughout the series come together for one last mission to uncover the truth behind a sinister conspiracy against Commander Shephard.

Once the ordeal is over, players are given a chance to reconnect with their favorite characters and catch up over drinks by the bar, casino, and Shephard’s own living quarters on the Citadel.

A standout entry in FromSoftware’s catalog of action RPGs, Bloodborne is nothing short of a grimdark masterpiece with challenging gameplay that can be equal parts satisfying and frustrating.

Furthermore, fans who were left mystified by the base game’s conclusion only had to hold out for a few months before The Old Hunters DLC was released.

The expansion introduces a series of conditions that must be met to access the new content, which included a plethora of weapons, armors, enemies, and locations.

Along with fleshing out Bloodborne’s lore, The Old Hunters is responsible for introducing memorable bosses like Lady Maria, Orphan of Kos, and Ludwig the Accursed/Holy Blade.

While it may seem like cheating to include two DLCs for just one game, we’re willing to bend the rules for a game as remarkable as Dishonored.

This is also justified by the fact that both The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches are intimately linked, with one serving as a continuation of the new protagonist’s story.

In Knife of Dunwall, players take on the role of assassin leader Daud as he seeks out redemption for killing Empress Kaldwin and unravels a mysterious plot using powers granted to him by the Outsider.

Daud’s journey reaches its climax in the Brigmore Witches as he’s forced to battle warring gangs and occultists while in pursuit of an evil witch.

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning arguably the best video game DLC ever released, Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare.

Billed as a standalone expansion, it takes place in an alternate timeline where outlaw John Marston is tasked with finding the cause of and cure for a zombie outbreak that infects his wife and son.

Along the way, Marston has to fend off attacks from undead enemies that have overrun the towns, as well as help various characters with side quests.

It’s the kind of grindhouse-horror-meets-Wild-West adventure that fans never could have anticipated but manages to stick the landing thanks to Rockstar’s tongue-in-cheek writing.

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Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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