A pair of 2012’s most acclaimed games are charging right along into 2013. 2K Games and Ubisoft have each announced new DLC offerings for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Assassin’s Creed 3, respectively, and they’re ready for download now. We’ll start chronologically, so as not to play favorites, with the early October-releasing Enemy Unknown.

2K and Firaxis revealed today that the “Second Wave” content pack is available for download now on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 — at no additional charge. A successor to Enemy Unknown’s first add-on, the “Slingshot Content Pack” (click the link for our review — but brace yourselves), the appropriately titled Second Wave adds a new array of gameplay options to the single-player campaign — available after players complete it once.

Each option can be activated/deactivated independently, and places a unique twist on a familiar strategic or gameplay element of our extraterrestrial counteroffensive:

  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
  • New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.
  • Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats.
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
  • The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
  • Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
  • High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
  • Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.

Given XCOM’s notorious death-is-inescapable difficulty, it’s probably better that some of these aren’t available until the second playthrough. It’s also worth mentioning that for XCOM players on the PC, the options aren’t exactly new features — you just had to use mods in the past. Having each enabled through the menu, though, ready at a moment’s notice, should only further enhance the game’s already-high replayability — and it’s an appreciated contribution to the console crowd.

Assassins Creed 3 Battle Hardened DLC

And now to Assassin’s Creed 3. From lab coats to Redcoats, if you will. Ubisoft has announced that the “Battle Hardened” pack — one of the five DLC releases under the AC 3 Season Pass — is available today on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with the PC version releasing on January 15. Costing $10 (or 800 Microsoft Points), Battle Hardened is a multiplayer add-on featuring three new characters and three new maps, as Ubisoft describes below:

  • Three multi-player characters including the influential Governor, the ferocious Highlander and the fearsome Coyote Man.
  • Three multi-player maps including Charlestown, Fort St-Mathieu and Saint Pierre.

Like XCOM’s Second Wave, Battle Hardened is the second DLC offering for Assassin’s Creed 3 after its initial release last October. It follows the “Hidden Secrets” pack, which was essentially an amalgamation of the different pre-order bonuses offered for the game as retailer exclusives. Multiplayer — quite the emerging bright spot in the Assassin’s Creed franchise — didn’t disappoint in Assassin’s Creed 3 (read our review), and even if $10 seems a little steep for three modes and characters we’re optimistic that each can add to its intriguing Abstergo Training concept. At the very least it should keep AC 3 fans active in the game until the three-part campaign DLC “The Tyranny of King Washington” releases later this year.

Are you still playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown or Assassin’s Creed 3 thanks to DLC?

Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.