It wasn’t that long ago that I had the chance to get hands on with Railway Empire by Kalypso Media as well as the latest DLC for the game, the Germany expansion. Straight away I was pretty much hooked on the game and sent my review off to the developers I always do so they could see it for themselves. I was incredibly forward at the same time and asked if I could get hold of the previous DLC packs so I could continue to enjoy the game. Kindly I was sent all of the previous packs and had to write another review just for this content as it is actually full of new stuff for the game.
All of these extras can be accessed in the same way the Germany DLC was, via Free Mode or Scenarios.
The first DLC that was released for the game was Viva Mexico!
This first brought to the game a night mode which was definitely missing from the base game, constant daytime wasn’t that realistic, but to be honest I didn’t really notice it until I grabbed this DLC and then it hit me like a locomotive that it was needed to add another depth. The only problem is that the night mode isn’t one of those things that drifts in and out depending on the time of the day, it is something that is selectable within the radial menu in game.
From the very start of the Mexico scenario it presumes that you rather obviously must have played the base game and so it stops treating you like a baby and talking you through every step, it challenges you more and as such you are left pretty much to your own devices, but at the same time there are still time limits to achieve your various tasks.
The general aim is to boost the Mexican economy by building your railway, connecting towns and cities and supplying them with resources so that they can then turn those resources into goods which can be shipped across the nation. Its a general theme of the game as a whole. All the while you are still competing against rival railway lines to create the strongest empire. There are new resources thrown in to this DLC as well as new businesses to build from what was featured in the main game, something which was needed to keep the game fresh for players.
Set over a period of just 20 years (1873-1893) 24 new towns appear and need to be serviced with the help of your railway lines but also with the help of 2 new locomotives that have been added, both highly detailed as are all of the trains within the game.
It is business as usual however as you play the game so don’t expect anything massively new over the base game, but as the road map of America heads further South, what you do have is extremely enjoyable and is just a natural progression from what came before its release.
What has been released within the DLC is great and ties in to the base game well giving you much more of a challenge than you had before and thats what was needed. Although the original game was extremely fun and well made, it was relatively easy to work through following the baby steps you were walked through. Mexico acts as a steeper learning curve. It took me quite a few attempts after many game fails and starting again to get anywhere and eventually complete it.
Next came The Great Lakes which is set in the lovely snowy setting of Canada. Well, I say snowy, but what I do like about this DLC is the game looks at the date you are currently on, and in those winter months, the snow moves in and causes all sorts of mayhem as far as your railway lines are concerned.
Now for some reason, Kalypso Media didn’t seem to release a trailer for this DLC, so that’s the reason there’s no YouTube video as I always like to add them to what I am reviewing.
The first thing I will say on the Great Lakes DLC is that is hard! That new weather system that they have thrown into the mix definitely stirs things up a lot. It also makes you concentrate on stocking up warehouses through the year for the winter months, but at the same time you are trying your best to concentrate on all of your other tasks. If you’re not lucky enough to be a woman who as we all know can multi-task with ease, you are going to struggle to remember everything you need to do. But that is a good thing once again.
The main issue with the winter months is that the snow will block the railway lines and your locomotives simply will not have enough power to just plow through any blockages on the line (in fact it reminds me so much of the UK railway lines when they have delays due to leaves on the track). The snow however also affects crops within the game, slowing down the production of them, generally disrupting everything you are doing in the game.
The general idea is to bridge the distance between the British colonies and reach economic independence by creating a track infrastructure for the Great Lakes region , but I did find this nigh on impossible to do. The entire scenario (as with Mexico) is set over 20 years, but thanks to that pesky frozen water stuff, your time restraints are practically impossible to achieve, even when you follow what little tips and advice that you do get within this part of the game. Nearly every task you are given to complete has to be done within 12 months, and believe me, that’s not a lot of time in the game to do it.
We do see even more new resources introduced to the game, a focus on warm furs does really seem obvious, especially when most of the map is normally covered in snow, and again there are another 2 new locomotives added into the mix for all you trainspotters out there.
I don’t mind admitting to this, but The Great Lakes is one DLC I still haven’t actually completed, its just too hard. That being said, if you do really want to enjoy it, I highly recommend going mad in Free Mode where you are not governed by the tasks you must complete.
Moving swiftly on and forgetting my previous statement about being useless and not being able to complete a DLC, we are presented with Crossing The Andes.
To complete the roadmap of the American continent, Crossing The Andes takes us into the depths of South America, and offering 3 scenarios to complete it does offer a little more than the previous DLC’s. That being said, it is still business as usual as far as connecting those all important cities and towns.
Its entirely up to you what you want to do with this part of the game, concentrate on going up against European investors who want in on the new money making railway lines, focus on delivering new products throughout the land or become a major coffee barron as the new coffee bean has been discovered and is making some serious money for people.
With 34 new cities to connect and 10 new goods to be transported and manufactured, as well as yet another 2 new trains, there is some new stuff in there, but its still the same idea throughout the game; no matter what the goods are, they are still needed within towns to create other products and then ship them all over to country.
This DLC again presents a difficulty level that is greater than the base game, but thankfully nowhere near as bad as Canada was, still, I lucked out a few times before I got the hang of things. The great thing about this particular DLC however, is that it has that replay factor. You are presented with a choice of which path to take relatively early on by having to complete one of three tasks. Entirely up to you which one you do, but that decision shapes the rest of the scenario for you. There are trophies for each path you choose so it is worth playing it a few times.
For me, this DLC is great as far a the difficulty level is about right to make it challenging, but not overly hard, however there is nothing new brought to the table as far as game dynamics are concerned (Mexico brought us the night time and Canada snow) which affects the games progress.
So which part of the world could we possibly visit next in another DLC I hear you ask? Well how about the birthplace of the railway? Great Britain and Ireland!
The thing I truly love about this DLC is not that it is set in my home country, but you are guided by Robert Louis Stevenson and includes 10 new trains, one of which is his Rocket. Its not just that however, this DLC is Great Britain AND Ireland and eventually you do have to bridge the gap between the islands, something that you never really had to do before.
As I said, there are 10 new trains added to the game, but also a nice new soundtrack to accompany. 45 new cities added as well as new manufacturable goods such as Whiskey (well, Scotland is the birthplace of Whiskey after all). Within those cities, Kalypso have reworked some of the buildings which you can see if you have played most of the game previously.
The idea of the DLC is, as always, the same as the rest of the game but the difficulty level is just nice on here. Its not a walk in the park by any means, but at the same time it doesn’t leave you annoyed like Canada tends to.
Out of all of the various DLC packs available I can say that this was my favourite, everything is just ‘right’ with it and as it is set at the dawn of the steam engine it starts off nice and slow before you start to unlock more powerful engines within the scenario.
So, final scores for each DLC in here..
Mexico is 8/10. A great first addition to the game which introduces the night mode making travelling on one of your trains at night a really enjoyable thing to watch.
The Great Lakes 7/10. That difficulty is just to hard and frustrating although the DLC is great introducing weather physics into the game. Its not a DLC I would recommend however.
Crossing The Andes 8/10. The replay value alone in this DLC is great and if you are a trophy hunter then you will have to play it over at least 3 times.
Great Britain and Ireland for me is a 9/10. By far the best DLC addition to the game and not just because its set in my home country, but the addition of so many new trains, buildings and soundtrack.
The last DLC was Germany, but I have already reviewed that in my initial review of the base game.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with all game codes by Kalypso Media, this has in no way influenced any of this review as per our Review Policy**