As unfavorable as the rest of the world has viewed Anno Domini 2016, fans of PC strategy games certainly have reason to rejoice. The bounty of quality new releases and DLC/expansions continues to be harvested – even now, well into the second half of the year and showing no signs of abatement.
For every quality base game release, additional content is sure to follow. Such is the business model nowadays, of which I do not bemoan. Even for a few select games released prior to this year, developers are continuing to support and add content. And, when I say ‘content’ I do not refer to cosmetic packs or exclusive bonus maps.
Listed below are some of the current and more hefty DLCs, and details about their place within the greater fabric of its franchise.
Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due (Paradox Development Studio)
Love them or hate them for it Paradox are unrepentant releasers of DLCs. Their DLCs even have DLCs.
Crusader Kings II, now well into its fourth year, has a staggering list of content to consider. Naysayers will spat at this, citing abuse of their gamer base. The gamer base who knows better sees each expansion as just that – one that expands the medieval playing field and adds relevant mechanics to that particular location. As a brief overview of which DLC does what check out this fantastic Crusader Kings II DLC infographic by @AsaTJ
The Reaper’s Due puts Eurasia at risk, infesting from the inside out. Plagues are already possible in provinces but this addon handles the sickness like a medieval epidemic rather than an isolated case of illness. To combat this outbreak a new courtier position is available; Physicians are hired in to aid in containment and eradication – should you, as ruler, choose such an approach for your population. And you too, as ruler, are not exempt from the reaper’s due. Indeed, you must decide what to do with yourself while the plague rages, of which alters your ability and methods of ruling.
Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due is available now for $9.99 on Steam
Order of Battle: Winter War (The Aristocrats)
Order of Battle takes an almost episodic approach to playing WWII. The base game, free of cost and released in April of last year, and the bundle of paid expansions released throughout this year, each visit a specific simulation of a campaign of the great war. All are turn-based hexes and utilize specific units, weapons and stats particular to its respective DLC.The most recent DLC is Order of Battle: Winter War. This one is thusfar unique in the lineup. A majority of the four other addons are focused on the pacific theater. Winter War moves its attention far inland and northward towards the Russian/Finnish borders. The primary draw here is to play as the Finns as they try to protect their lands from waves after waves of Russian military who seek nothing more than conquest and protection for their great western cities. International politics, landscape and ball-shriveling winter weather all play a role in how you design and implement your strategies.
Order of Battle: Winter War is available now for $14.99 on Steam.
Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC (Mohawk Games)
Offworld Trading Company incubated in early access for a few years and was officially launched in late April of this year. It is unique amongst the lot of strategy games in that the focus is economic superiority instead of military – You buy your enemies out for chump change instead of stomping them into gore soup. What makes this premise even more interesting is that all this takes place during early Mars colonization efforts. You must set your sights to the heavens if you are to build yourself a true offworld trading company.
… And it just so happens that The Ceres Initiative DLC takes a step in that direction. Indeed. It moves your base of operations off of the martian surface over onto Ceres, the largest asteroid in the belt just beyond Mars. Here, the core concept remains except now the resources are more scant and will even deplete as you mine them. Luckily, as in the base game, there are questionably ethical work-arounds in overcoming the challenges at hand. It’ll be interesting to see how the co-op can work if one player is on Ceres while the other remains on Mars. Cool stuff.
Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC is available for a very humble asking price of $4.99 on Steam.
Endless Legend: Tempest (AMPLITUDE Studios)
AMPLITUDE Studios is on a roll. They received a surge of media facetime recently when Sega added them to their publishing roster, joining the likes of other strategy game developers like Creative Assembly and Relic.
What this means for Endless Legend could mean divers things. Perhaps we shall see what Sega’s publishing power can accomplish for the newest DLC of the divisive strategy franchise. Endless Legend: Tempest will be entering closed beta on September 1. AMPLITUDE is holding a closed beta contest.
Tempest will develop EL’s homeworld of Auriga even more, promising to make the planet’s seas a more viable homebase instead of just an obstacle that must be overcome in order to reach more land. The Morgawr is a major faction that will be introduced in this DLC. This aquatic race will be able to alter the tides and weather of Auriga, thus making them another strong factional contender for the control of the planet.
I love how, with each expansion, Auriga, the mother planet, is becoming more a tool and less of a passive theater upon which EL’s factions faceoff. This fits in with the lores very nicely.
And that is what I love about quality DLC for strategy games: They offer a new vantage and new avenues to accomplish objectives within the same grand space. Obviously, the above four titles are not the summation of all expansions for 2016, but it is just enough to keep us busily digging deeper and deeper.