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Best Xbox DLC: our top 20 game add-ons and expansions

From Fallout 3 to Trials Evolution, it's a colourful haul

If there's one thing this generation of consoles will be remembered in the annexes of gaming history for, it's downloadable content. We've come to expect that the box we buy off the shelf (or the Xbox Marketplace) doesn't necessarily contain the entirety of what a game has to offer.

From over-priced map packs and costume changes to expansions that are tantamount to full-blown games, DLC is a fascinating and often controversial phenomenon. As compiled by Ben Borthwick, here are 20 of the finest examples we've encountered on Xbox 360.

1. Grand Theft Auto 4 - The Lost and The Damned/The Ballad of Gay Tony
OK, right off the bat we're being cheeky by covering both of Grand Theft Auto 4's add-ons. But they're both important in the history of DLC and, most importantly, really good fun. Rockstar's creations are perhaps most responsible for 'legitimising' DLC on consoles, making it more than just cosmetic additions or superfluous tat. TLATD & TBOGT were two substantial campaigns offering more of what we already enjoyed about GTA4 while introducing two new protagonists with their own stories that crossed over into the narrative of the Brothers Bellic.

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2. Fallout 3 - Broken Steel
It's vaguely ironic that Bethesda - who famously made one of the earliest DLC mis-steps with Oblivion's Horse Armour - has no less than four entries on this list, but they've come a long way since the dark days of equine breastplates. Broken Steel, for example, fixed the frankly rubbish original ending of Fallout 3, tasking the player with bringing purified water to the Capital Wastelands while fighting alongside the Brotherhood of Steel. New perks (including one that replaced Dogmeat with a new puppy should the original "accidentally" die) made this add-on nigh-on essential for Fallout fans.

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3. Red Dead Redemption - Undead Nightmare
Zombies were all the rage in 2010. The Walking Dead TV show debuted this year, and the gaming world already had Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead to cuddle up with. We were at saturation point, frankly. Luckily, Rockstar didn't let that stop it from unleashing an undead plague upon the already Wild West in this "What if..?" style offering for Red Dead Redemption. A wonderfully off-kilter tangent, the pack still haunts us in the small hours of the morning, as our dreams of Red Dead Redemption 2 give way to flesh-eating zombie bears and fiery skeletal horses.

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4. Left 4 Dead/Left 4 Dead 2 - The Sacrifice
We've included this one because it was an interesting experiment - a DLC that's available for two games which somewhat addresses the fate of the original cast by bringing them into the sequel. Given the zombie apocalypse premise (and the title), The Sacrifice was never going to have a happy ending, but players are at least able to choose which survivor gives his or her life for the greater good during the finale. Of course, if you're playing the Infected you can always "help" the survivors decide while they squabble outside the Saferoom...

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