- Raising Hell expansion - 800 Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60)
- Challenge Pack - 400 Points (GBP 3.40 / EUR 4.80)
Codemasters' cheeky fantasy spoof was one of the unsung classics of last year, so while it's surprising that there's been such a long wait for the first single-player expansion, it's a good excuse for the curious out there to pick up a copy on the cheap and give it a whirl. Commanding a horde of gibbering gremlins and committing evil deeds against the inhabitants of a skewed Tolkienesque world is something everyone should try.
These new Raising Hell missions only kick in once you've completed the game, which is just as well since they're fairly tough both in terms of enemies and puzzles. With the WHOOPS SPOILER defeated, you're informed that a new source of evil energy has appeared in your realm. Your subjugated subjects are being lured into strange portals, not unlike the Oblivion Gates of a certain other fantasy game, and it's up to you to delve into the mystery with your mischievous minions.
Building considerably on the size of the original game, with a new infernal level inserted into each of the existing areas of your realm, Raising Hell's netherworlds are warped mockeries of the land they inhabit. Familiar scenery items and characters are often mangled, twisted or otherwise corrupted by their new hellish home, while the layouts (which, sadly, are as confusing as ever) thankfully offer entirely new challenges rather than rehashing the old maps. You'll also be reunited with the heroes you dispatched during the rest of the game, as you find them being tormented by their demonic captors and must face them anew in gruesomely ironic ways. There are also new forge items to be found, as well as some clever new ways of using your minions. As a way of continuing the story, it's all very witty and economical and precisely how this sort of game should be expanded.
For half that price, you can also get the Challenge Pack, which offers seven new maps for the multiplayer games. Even when the game was fresh on the shelves, this side of the Overlord experience always felt under-populated and a little undercooked, so you'd be forgiven for skipping this update. It does offer the new Legendary game mode, as well as more Gamerpoints, but there's enough amusement to be had in the generous folds of Raising Hell that this can be an optional extra.
Ace Combat 6
- Mirage2000-5 and Su-33 skins - 200 Points each (GBP 1.70 / EUR 2.40)
- New Idolmaster plane - 400 Points (GBP 3.40 / EUR 4.80)
- Razgriz Set - 400 Points (GBP 3.40 / EUR 4.80)
- Ace of Aces Mission - 350 Points (GBP 2.98 / EUR 4.20)
- Siege Battle & Co-Op Battle missions - 300 Points each (GBP 2.55 / EUR 3.60)
- Battle Royale download - 100 Points (GBP 0.85 / EUR 1.20)
After receiving a drubbing in the last DLC roundup for some stupidly expensive and utterly pointless new content - charging a combined 2900 Points, or 24 quid, for some new planes, skins and one multiplayer map - it's nice to be able to report that Ace Combat has almost got its act together.
The skins and planes are still overpriced for what they are - the expensive Idolmaster is just a reskinned F-15E - but for those who feel absolutely compelled to spend their MS Points on such things the Razgriz pack at least offers decent value, with four skins (easy now) for 400 Points.
It's in the new gameplay additions that Ace Combat redeems itself this time around. The Ace of Aces single-player mission is a welcome expansion to a game most players will have drained dry, though the super-tough nature may put some off. The online missions, meanwhile, beef up that area of the game nicely - offering eight-player siege matches and four-player co-op fun. I've yet to be convinced that a game set in the sky actually benefits massively from multiplayer maps, but at just 100 Points the Battle Royale download supports 16 players and is worth using those annoying leftover Points on.