As a rather surprising turn of events, Gaming Minds Studios have moved on from the Americas and delivered a DLC for Railway Empire which I’ve been eagerly awaiting since playing the game almost 12 months ago – Railway Empire: Great Britain & Ireland! Being from the UK myself, I always become hyped and excited when a game I love sets part of their game over here rather than in a fictional land (or America).
It also seems the physical location wasn’t the only thing the developers took from the feedback they’ve received regarding the game. This is by far the most accessible and entertaining DLC pack I’ve played so far, one which I would happily recommend to every single owner of the base game. Let’s find out why…
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 Lakes | DLC 3: Crossing the Andes
As previously stated, this pack instantly became more relatable and sought after by myself simply for the location alone – having the ability to plan the railway systems around my own country of residence is rather delightful and entertaining. However, that’s not the main reason why I can 100% say that this is the best DLC pack so far. That award goes to the whole package including the new map, locomotives, assets and music which has been provided.
The single scenario takes you from 1830-1850 as part of the transport revolution. See the birth of the first steam engines as you set up new connections between the major cities and rural resources in order to supply the demand of new goods from all over the country (and Ireland) to people who didn’t have access before. Sure, it sounds like what we’ve done in previous scenarios – only this time it’s in jolly England as you face off against three rather aggressive stock-buying CPU opponents.
What’s so Great about Britain?
Great Britain & Ireland may be priced approx 50% higher than the previous DLC packs but in my opinion, it’s worth every penny. Not only is the map the biggest new addition yet, with 45 new cities and a map literally covering all of Great Britain & Ireland, but the game seems to be using some new assets and textures. That’s right, the UK didn’t have the same history as the USA and our buildings were never wooden saloon-type establishments. As such, the developers have provided new assets for the buildings as well as perfectly capturing what our landscape looked like with its green farming lands and snowy Scottish mountains.
Also, if you’ve played Railway Empire previously, you’ll know that the awesome soundtrack sounds like a western in most cases as that’s around the time period the game goes for – the Great Britain & Ireland DLC introduces more fitting music for the new locale and setting. Not only that, but it also introduces yet another 13 manufacturable and tradable goods such as whisky and cider (not that us British do nothing but drink…).
However, the biggest new addition comes in the form of its locomotives – as we’re embarking on a journey around the start of the first ever Steam Engines, there are a whopping ten new locomotives for you to unlock and use within the scenario! The previous DLCs have all given us two new locos at a time, having ten new ones is very generous and perfectly fitting for the new country we’re in.
Are the English ‘easy’?
Now, the main reason I love the Great Britain & Ireland DLC is because of its difficulty – it’s spot on for me. I loaded it up the other day and around six hours later I had achieved all but one of the trophies assigned to this new pack. Was it an easy scenario? Not really – but you did have plenty of time to meet your goals, no un-realistic goals to try and achieve, and no surprise “have 20 express trains running within 12 months” thrown at you.
The whole experience was great – it was around the same difficulty as the base game and even offered a decent amount of challenge as the CPU characters woke up and started to join in with the auctions and expansions (they don’t become active until about 10 years into the scenario). This did lead to one issue for me – the CPU characters get very hungry and begin to buy up stock left, right and centre. This resulted in my company being fully owned by a CPU character for the first time ever! Thus, ending my game. Thankfully, this happened post-scenario when I was just messing about after achieving full marks for my performance.
Due to it’s more relaxing take on the game and more accessible and straightforward missions, I’d highly recommend the Great Britain & Ireland DLC pack above all the others if you could only buy one of them. Don’t forget, the full Great Britain & Ireland map also becomes usable in the pre-built scenario, Free Game and Sandbox modes as well, so easily adding a bunch of hours of entertainment for you to work through.
As I’ve advised in my previous reviews, the game technically is the same as it was upon launch, which you can see the review of HERE. However, mechanically there have been numerous patches since launch which have added new features and altered existing processes (which can all be read HERE). Once again though, the console version still doesn’t have a camera mode! Other than that, I have no issues or flaws with both the visual and audio aspects of Railway Empire.
Railway Empire: Great Britain & Ireland is by far my favourite DLC for Railway empire to date. Not only do I get to play around with trains in my home territory, but we also got a bunch of new locomotives and region-specific goods to transport. I love the fact that the most recent PC update (which will come to consoles soon supposedly) has changed the in-game currency to GBP (£) and it’s more prone to rain (just like in real life!). However, I’m yet to see if they literally change the $ sign into the £, or if they adjust the prices accordingly as £1 in 1800 is worth around £100 today.
I found this DLC to be the most fun in terms of completing the tasks and expanding. I know all the scenarios are very similar and involve expanding, transporting certain things to set places, overtaking your competitors, and then becoming the monopoly, but this scenario literally had me hooked from beginning to end. I honestly can’t wait to see where the developers will take us next – Asia would be interesting, or Europe with the inclusion of the Orient Express!
Railway Empire: Great Britain & Ireland is the best DLC to pick up in my opinion. Not only are we introduced to a brand new country, but we also have ten new locomotives, 45 cities, new city assets and new music to match the locale. The overall experience also feels more accessible and achievable with no curveball tasks which surprise you as you juggle your limited time available.
Those looking to expand upon the core gameplay of the base game will find it within the Railway Empire: Great Britain & Ireland DLC pack. Those looking for more challenge and a ramped up difficulty should grab the previous DLC packs.
Railway Empire - Great Britain & Ireland£9.99
- - A map covering the whole of the UK (including Ireland)
- - 45 new cities, ten new locomotives, and 13 new goods to transport
- - A perfect DLC for those who enjoyed the difficulty of the base game (as it's more fair with it's deadlines than previous DLC packs)
- - New/adjusted assets to suit the new locale as well as new music to match
- - Upcoming update to adjust the currency to GBP and increase the likelihood of rain!
- - About 50% more expensive (but I feel it's fully justified)
- - Still no photo mode
- - The CPU are quite aggressive with their stock purchases (watch out)
- - I wished we had a few scenarios to play through. Although, the one we got did last me about six hours