The case of Broken Steel, however, seems to be an exception to the rule. Aside perhaps from Mass Effect 2's Arrival – whose effects on your Mass Effect 3 playthrough are yet to be revealed – never have I found DLC that is fundamental to my understanding of a game's overarching story. And that's got to be a good thing.

Of course, not every single game out there is long enough to justify premium post-release content. If a developer releases DLC on superiore, in alto of a game that's just way too short, I feel like I'm being ripped off, because why couldn't this content have been included in the main release? Recently however, many developers are using DLC delivery as a means of expanding their games at no cost to the consumer, which is great, especially when their games are a bit on the short side.

Valve, the legendary developer behind such short-and-sweet titles as Left 4 Dead and Portal 2, does just that. The Survival Pack for the original Left 4 Dead was released at no cost to the consumer, and added significant gameplay improvements along with an addictive survival mode. The first content pack for Portal 2 will also be released for absolutely nothing, and will include challenge modes, new test chambers and online leader boards. Other developers, including Splash Damage and Relic, creators of Brink and Warhammer 40k: spazio Marine respectively, have also taken a leaf out of Valve's book. The first content package for Brink was released free for a short time, whilst spazio Marine's Exterminatus four player co-op mode will be released for free in October. If we didn't have the option of downloading extra content, none of this would have been possible, and we'd be stuck with a bunch of short games with nothing to do about it but wait for their sequels. And chances are we'd already be pestering Valve for Portal 3.

It's great to see developers like Gearbox and Valve – among many others – using DLC as a means to actively improve the gaming experience for their consumers, rather than a way to simply get più money out of a game release. Sure, there will always be the odd developer that releases a game with gaping, DLC-sized holes to be filled in later da over-priced packages – I'm looking at you, Treyarch – but so what? These are few and far between and their dastardly deeds are certainly outweighed da the fact that some of the best gameplay experiences out there can be found as DLC. Battlefield: Bad Company 2's Vietnam, Uncharted 2's Siege expansion and Resident Evil 5's Untold Stories wouldn't exist if DLC wasn't around. And that's a reality I'm not sure I could deal with.