We live in a post-launch world. Games are rarely, if ever finished when they arrive in our download queue unless they are from Nintendo. The content in this category is a celebration of the games that gave us more of what we love. These expansions provided new and novel takes on base games that in many ways improved on what came before them. Maybe that is due to developers finally having some breathing room out from under the pressure of meeting a launch deadline. Or maybe it is because of the freedom that comes with having a base game that is successful. Regardless, these meaty chunks of downloadable content were perfect to sink our teeth into and return us to worlds we had left but not forgotten. With that said, here are the winners of Lords of Gamings 2023 Golden Lance Award for Best Expansion Content.
Winner: Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Post-launch support for many releases can feel like an afterthought. Oftentimes additional DLC or expansions are cobbled together with clever recycling of base content for some extra sales and marketing. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is not among those, CD Projekt has never done that sort of expansion and didn’t do it here. Phantom Liberty delivers a meaty experience that accounts for everything the base game did so right and wrong.
Phantom Liberty is a concentrated dose of Cyberpunk 2077, no fat, no fluff, just fantastic content. There’s a brand-new story on the level of the base, if not better. The mission design is smarter, they account for each playstyle or possible mechanic in the game. The base game was being built while the team was still trying to figure out what Cyberpunk 2077 was. Phantom Liberty shows the potential of what this series could be going forward and the heights these hard-working developers can reach.
Runner Up: Gran Turismo 7
Over the past year, there have been nine free content updates for Gran Turismo 7. This year’s content updates bring the total list to 17 dating back to the game’s launch in 2021. None of these content updates count towards the 15 quality-of-life updates or patches.
With that said, 2023 was the game’s best year yet. This year Gran Turismo 7 received a free PS VR2 update bringing full VR support to the game. Along with 39 additional free cars. Plus, countless expansions to the GT cafe. As well as a Street Mode, Off-road mode, new tracks, liveries, multiplayer content, and license challenges. Among the new tracks, we got the stunning Lake Louise track set in beautiful Banff National Park in Alberta. I can not stress this enough, all of the content Sony delivered to GT7 this year was free. Sony could have charged $70 for the VR update alone.
Runner Up: Warframe: The Duviri Paradox
The Duviri Paradox felt akin to a much-needed break within the content delivery in Warframe. A rogue-lite mode, set in a fresh and very densely packed open world area, a stripped down and heavier feeling combat system. With the world being filled with skeletal knights, metal serpents and flying horses? This is not what one would expect from a game about space ninjas. Its artistic vision and so many risks taken from a pure gameplay standpoint solidified it as one of the best expansions the game has received in its long run.