There's nothing like a little undead downloadable content to breathe new life into a video game that's growing long in the tooth.
A dash of zombies, a dose of vampires -- when game companies add a bit of fresh-yet-fetid material to that favorite game you've been playing for months on end, well, playing can get a whole lot more thrilling.
In recent years, we've seen quite a few game developers offer up undead-themed downloadable content for their fans. Here's a look at some of our favorite zombie- and vampire-filled DLC.
"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard"
"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" was one of last year's very best games -- a fantasy-and-dragon-filled adventure that pulled us into its epic role-playing clutches and refused to let go. On Tuesday Bethesda released the "Dawnguard" add-on, available to those who've been playing the game on an Xbox 360. (PC and PlayStation 3 players will get "Dawnguard" a bit later).
Download this package and you'll find a brand new vampire-centric storyline has been added to your game -- a storyline in which you get to decide whether you want to become a member of the vampire-hunting society known as the Dawnguard or transform into a mighty (sparkle-free) Vampire Lord. Depending on which path you choose, "Dawnguard" will give your character the ability to use a crossbow or take flight and turn into a swarm of bats (guess which one sounds more exciting?)
Sure, you may have already spent 80 hours with this game. But what's a few more hours (or twenty) spent sucking blood in "Skyrim"?
"Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare"
Rockstar's wild western adventure "Red Dead Redemption" got a little more wild -- and a whole lot more zombies -- with the "Undead Nightmare" expansion. In this epic add-on, the undead roam the Wild West and our hero John Marston must put them down while hunting for a cure for his zombiefied wife. This DLC also adds a cooperative multiplayer mode known as "Undead Overrun." And as we all know, there's nothing like fending off wave after wave of brain-eaters with your best friends.
But if you don't buy this expansion pack for the zombies ... buy it for the zombears. No really. Take a look.
Oh and if downloading isn't your thing, you can also buy "Undead Nightmare" as a single stand-alone disc packaged with a bunch of other add-on content for "Red Dead Redemption."
"Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned"
The awesome apocalyptic role-playing shooter "Borderlands" went to the zombies with its first bit of downloadable content. The new storyline brought fresh life to your gun-filled adventures on the planet of Pandora. Here, players head to the island town of Jakobs Cove where it seems one Dr. Ned has transformed the working populace into, as the name suggests, zombies. You'll gun down a whole lot of walking/running/jumping corpses and grab up all the loot you can, laughing all the way. Yes, "The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned" is a horror-and-humor-filled good time.
"InFamous 2: Festival of Blood"
The nice thing about "InFamous 2: Festival of Blood" is that you don't actually have to own either the "InFamous" or "InFamous 2" disc to play it. This stand-alone downloadable action adventure -- available only for the PS3 via the PlayStation Network -- takes place in the "InFamous 2" city of New Marais. It weaves an excellent vampiric tale that finds super-powered InFamous protagonist Cole McGrath getting some fangs. To find a cure, he'll have to fight off legions of vampires and find the queen vamp herself.
Our own In-Game editor Todd Kenreck called "Festival of Blood" the best download of 2011.
Here, check out the trailer:
"Call of Duty: Rezurrection Map Pack"
Zombies on the moon! ZOMBIES ON THE FREAKIN' MOON! Need I say more? I think not. Here. Take a look:
These are just some of our favorites. What DLC has floated yer boat?
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.