If September through November is a verdant jungle brimming with life and excitement, then July and much of August make up the barren wasteland where no one ever wants to spend their valuable vacation days. It’s dead. If it were a horse, you’d shoot it in the head to put it out of its misery, then you’d shoot it again, just in case. There’s very little excitement, leaving us with nearly two months where we have to fend for ourselves. Obviously, we can’t go outside, because our pale gamer skin would burn up under the hot summer sun. Geeks and nerds don’t tan, in fact, it’s been proven in a lab underneath Raccoon City that any light that’s brighter than the glow of a TV or computer monitor can cause irreparable harm to our fragile exteriors.
Why would you go outside and… do whatever it is people do in that mythical place when you could grab a shotgun and rid Liberty City of all its pedestrians, or duel with Big Daddies in Rapture, or strategically dismember Necromorphs aboard the Sprawl? It’s dangerous out there, so we reserve our adventures to video games. Unfortunately, unless you’re like me and you have a massive backlog of unfinished games, there really isn’t anything new to keep you busy until the big games start pouring out in the near future. Thankfully, there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to the collection you already have, so to help you out, here’s the best horror-themed expansions for some games you probably already own.
Oh, and before we dive in, these aren’t in any particular order. Enjoy.
Borderlands – The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
Borderlands is a damn fine game, assuming like to kick ass with your friends and the bajillions of guns you have at your disposal. When it came to DLC, it was a mixed bag, but without a doubt the most creative of the bunch was the Halloween-themed Zombie Island of Dr. Ned. The expansion brought with it new missions and creepy new locations to explore, as well as a bunch of new enemies. Frankenstein monsters, zombies, and WereSkags, oh my!
Infamous – Festival of Blood
Infamous is a great series because it gives you a gorgeous, incredibly detailed open world, gently tosses you into it, and let’s you do whatever you want. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row have been doing this for some time, so to set itself apart from the myriad other open world games, Infamous puts you in the shoes of a badass electrified superhero named Cole. They managed to improve on this formula with the standalone Festival of Blood expansion where Cole is bitten by a bloodsucker, granting him vampiric powers. The best part about all this? You don’t need Infamous to play it, that’s the beauty of a standalone expansion.
Red Dead Redemption – Undead Nightmare
Speaking of standalone expansions, the fantastic Red Dead Redemption had a great one as well, but before I go on, I have to admit something. While I didn’t beat RDR, I did beat Undead Nightmare. I know, I know, shame on me. If you’re in the mood to shoot zombies in the face while you ride atop one of the four horses of the apocalypse–or a unicorn, if you can find it–then Undead Nightmare might be for you.
Skyrim – Dawnguard
Skyrim is a great game that brings with it enough content to keep you busy for as long as you wish to keep playing it. In case you’ve found yourself getting bored of clearing dungeons and Fus-Ro-Dahing people off mountaintops, Dawnguard lets you do that as a vampire lord. You can choose to join the Dawnguard and their goal of ridding the world of vampires with their awesome crossbow technology, or you can join the side of “evil” and cause all sorts of chaos with your crazy vampire abilities.
Mass Effect 2 – Overlord
Overlord was a bit of a surprise when it first came out, because I wasn’t expecting such obvious connections with System Shock 2, otherwise known as one of my favorite horror games of all time. Seriously, if you haven’t played it, SHODAN alone is enough of a reason to invest a few hours in it. Overlord follows a similar theme, in that it’s about an A.I. gone rogue, closing down a research station and killing (almost) everyone inside. The way it follows you around the station, its green face appearing, taunting you. He’s like a less mouthy Red Queen. If you aren’t too deeply invested in Mass Effect 3, though I wouldn’t blame you if you were, I recommend giving this a try.
Resident Evil 5 – Lost in Nightmares
Resident Evil 5 is impressive in two ways: one one end, the game broke sales records for the series, but on the other, it managed to supremely piss off no less than 99% of the series’ fans. I was disappointed by it, sure, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great game. It was Resident Evil, seen through a Michael Bay filter. This made its Lost in Nightmares expansion all the more intriguing, because it successfully injected some much needed horror back into the action series. If you haven’t played it already, or even if you have, Lost in Nightmares could be a great way to get in the mood for Resident Evil 6 this October.
Black Ops – Rezurrection Pack
Treyarch’s take on the immensely popular Call of Duty franchise remains my favorite so far, and a large part of that is because of the crazy fun Zombies mode that comes with it. It’s only managed to get better since World at War first introduced the mode, and with the upcoming Black Ops II due this November, zombie fans will have another reason to return to the series. What makes Black Ops’ Rezurrection Pack so special was how it only expanded on the Zombies mode by adding a new Moon scenario and remastered versions of World at War’s Nazi Zombie maps.
Fallout 3 – Point Lookout
If The Hills Have Eyes taught us anything it’s that mutant inbred hillbillies are fucking terrifying. Fallout 3 managed the impressive feat of making them even more terrifying by throwing you into a foggy marshland, where that shadow you though you saw in the distance could’ve been a tree or an axe-wielding mutant hillbilly waiting for you to come just a little bit closer so he can chop off your head and use it as a conversation piece in his swamp shack.
Have one that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Here’s the rest of our Dead Days of Summer extravaganza, in case you missed them:
Day 1: Vote For The Best & Worst Games Of 2012 (So Far!)
Day 2: Here’s What I Want From Dead Island: Riptide
Day 3: Win A Metro: Last Light Gas Mask!
Day 5: The Creepiest Video Game Easter Eggs
Day 6: In Search Of The Best Resident Evil
Day 7: Here Are Your Picks For The Best & Worst Horror Games Of 2012 (So Far)