Railway Empire: Crossing the Andes [DLC] (PS4) Review

In October 2018, Gaming Minds Studios gave us their third piece of DLC for Railway EmpireRailway Empire: Crossing the Andes. This was the final piece of ‘known’ content coming to the resource management sim which was highlighted in the roadmap they shared with us six months ago. Unlike the previous DLC, The Great Lakes, Crossing the Andes comes complete with three scenarios but no enhancements in regards to the gameplay.

With this being the third DLC pack out within the first ten months of release, was this a rushed effort or have the developers put a lot of thought and effort into this new pack? Also, why didn’t the developers just release a Season Pass or a ‘Deluxe Version’ which contains all of the DLC and the game? I can’t answer the latter – although I’ll ask – but let’s take a look at the former…

Railway Empire - crossing the andes 1

Choo Choo

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This review presumes you’ve played the base game and/or the other DLCs. If not, click on any of the titles to read our reviews: Railway Empire | DLC 1: Mexico | DLC 2: The Great LakesDLC 4: Great Britain & Ireland

Crossing the Andes moves us to yet another region of the Americas, this time it’s deep into the depths of South America. As you’d expect, the emphasis is on the Andes and transporting all manner of exotic goods over them and into towns which have never had the opportunity to see such exotic items before. Just like every DLC so far, obtaining this activates the night and day toggle for the whole game but that’s as far as the enhancements go with this DLC

Crossing the Andes comes complete with three long scenarios for you to play through, each covering 1900-1920 as you work towards differing goals. Will you pit yourself against European investors who are out to claim a piece of the pie while you try and expand your network throughout South America, ride the ‘Coffee Train’ and invest heavily in this ever-increasing money-printing resource, or focus on delivering the new and exciting goods all over the land whilst tackling the high mountains and lush forests?

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It’s up to you which one you opt to take on, however, just like The Great Lakes, this ain’t no walk in the park – the challenge isn’t as high as the previous DLC but it’s still much higher than we saw in the base game. This means Crossing the Andes is yet another DLC I would recommend only to players looking for a decent challenge after playing the base game for a while.

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I love riding along for the relaxing atmosphere.

What’s new?
There’s very little in terms of new mechanics or cosmetic effects this time around. The Great Lakes brought us the brilliant snowy weather effects (something which doesn’t occur in the scorching South American regions), and every DLC enables the day and night mode.

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Other than that, we’re presented with 34 new cities, 10 new exotic goods to cargo such as Llama Wool and Guano, and we have the two new locomotives, the Kitson-Meyer (0-8-6-0) and Garratt (2-6-0-0-6-2). Also, as with all DLC packs, the new region (which is quite big) is available in all three modes – Scenario, Free Game and Sandbox.

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I love it when the cities get bigger and more people/buildings appear.

Still too hard?
Personally, I found Crossing the Andes to be a sweet spot between the base game and The Great Lakes. Sure, we still have annoyingly short times to complete tasks, but they seem a lot more doable and accessible than some of the ones in the previous DLC. However, I did spend approx three or four hours on the first scenario to fail at the last challenge (at least I think it’s the last one) and found no way to actually overcome the wall I hit in order to proceed. 

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You see, that scenario is all about beating your opponents, buying them out, and essentially becoming the greatest service in the land. My issue was when it said I had to have 20 express trains running at one time! I couldn’t even get one express train running, never mind 20. I don’t know if I was just doing something wrong or if my game bugged out – but there is no hand-holding or instructions here, just the task to have all 20 running at once. 

As such, this is yet another DLC I would only recommend to seasoned players who understand all of the rules and processes required in order to set up things like the express lines and efficiently transport goods around at a decent pace. I did start the second scenario – regarding the coffee – and that one seems a lot more relaxed so far, but I’m only a few hours in on that one at the moment. 

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The atmosphere increases whenever you turn on night mode!

Technical
Please see my original review for Railway Empire – nothing has changed as far as I can tell. As with the previous reviews I’ve done for the DLC, nothing has been added that affects the performance, load times are nice and fast and there is still no photo mode (I’ll complain about that until it’s added!).

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One thing I would like to bring up – and it’s a thing quite a few games do – I like that the main menu changes once you install a new DLC pack but maybe let us pick which one we want? For example, all the banners I have for each DLC review (bar this one) is an image of the menu screen – it changes each time. Yet once you install the next DLC, it’s replaced with the new one and there is no option to change back. It’s not a big issue and doesn’t change the game at all – it’s just something I would have liked to have control over. 

Personal Opinion:
So, we came to the end of the pre-planned DLC for Railway Empire (even though there is another one which came out in December) – what did I think of it? I prefer this DLC over The Great Lakes and Mexico in terms of the more accessible difficulty and multiple scenarios, but the previous DLCs both brought new mechanics with the time of day and weather implementations. However, all DLCs have the time of day selection, so that doesn’t count I guess. 

This trio of DLCs has been interesting. They all focused on the Americas and Canada and offered a much higher challenge than we saw in the base game – this is something I believe will appeal to a lot of simulation and resource management fans as they are always saying games get too easy once they master them. For a casual gamer though who may have struggled with a few of the missions in the base game, Crossing the Andes is good in that it’s the least intense out of all three of these packs, yet it does still presume you know how to set up things like express railways quickly (no pun intended) and efficiently.

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Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Railway Empire: Crossing the Andes is more forgiving than the previous DLC yet still offers a decent challenge to those looking for one. With it’s new massive South American region, 34 towns/cities, ten new resources and two new locomotives, this DLC pack contains hours upon hours of extra content for a single low price. If you don’t own any other DLC, you’ll get access to the night and day switch which completely changes the atmosphere of the game, other than that though, there isn’t any other visual changes this time around.

I’d highly recommend Railway Empire: Crossing the Andes, and the previous two DLCs, if you’re looking for a challenge and know Railway Empire inside out. Otherwise, these could prove to be a little too challenging if you’re not 100% competent at all the various processes and mechanics.

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Railway Empire - Crossing the Andes

£6.49
7.5

Final Score

7.5/10

The Good:

  • - Three new scenarios to play through
  • - The new South America map, for all modes, is quite big and interesting
  • - 34 new cities, ten new resources, and two new locomotives
  • - Less strict with it's timing than previous DLC packs
  • - Tonnes of extra content for fans of the base game

The Bad:

  • - The DLC presumes you know how to operate advanced setups such as Express Railways
  • - It's not as difficult as previous DLC but it is still more difficult than the base game
  • - No extra modes/features other than the day and night switch (if you don't own any other DLC packs)
  • - Still no photo mode!
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