Mohawk Games‘ excellent strategy Old World arrived on Steam in May – with a bonus for those who got it in the first two weeks: the new “Heroes of the Aegean” DLC, free of charge. In these tricky times, there’s not much that’s free – but is this DLC worth picking up?
A quick recap on what Old World is: featuring one of Civ’s lead designers, Old World‘s elevator pitch is a cross between Civilization and Crusader Kings. A player looks after a kingdom but also their own dynasty, ruling as the king or queen; building improvements, studying research and waging war, while ensuring that your dynasty stays in power. This means having a spouse, having children and raising them to play a part in your kingdom.
Old World is far more granular than Civ, encompassing just one era (the Bronze Age) rather than all of human history – and doing it well. It’s been available on Epic Games Store for some time, and now is making its way to Steam. So, those who have avoided it because of Epic now get a chance to see what this game offers.
The Heroes of the Aegean DLC pack contains six new scenarios that take the game to Ancient Greece, offering distinct and exiting twists on the base game.
The Greek Wars
In the first scenario, the player is cast as the Athenians as they confront Darius during his invasion of Greece. Its main purpose is covering the major battles of the time. As such, it largely ignores dynasty building and empire maintenance, providing players with numerous units from the start. And – the scenario also features the iconic battle of Marathon.
The second scenario advances history to the invasion by Xerxes of Persia. This time, the invader seeks to defeat the Greek city-states in detail before they can form a unified defense. This story will be familiar to movie fans as well as history nerds. It begins with King Leonidas’s desperate defense of the Hot-Gates and the naval battle at Salamis. It concludes with the epic showdown at Platea – between an allied Greek army and the Persians. Your performance in each battle will have a direct impact on your disposition and strength in the next scenario, which is fun. Once again, there are no dynasty building or empire elements here, just fighting.
The third scenario casts you as King Phillip of Macedon, before he created the finest army in all of Europe. The Macedonian Kingdom is young but weak and faces rivals on all sides. This gameplay is more similar to the base Old World, though it’s one of the toughest scenarios. You’ll guide Phillip and his court of mighty characters as he fights to unite Greece under Macedonian leadership.
The fourth scenario is very intriguing – in more ways than one – as you take the role of Queen Olympia after Philip’s assassination. You’ll need to use all your cunning and wits to keep young Prince Alexander alive and unite the kingdom under his rule – as powerful rivals attempt to establish their own reign.
The fifth scenario is the epic journey of young Alexander as he leads the finest soldiers in the entire world against the seemingly invincible Persian Empire. This is much like a normal game too, but on a larger scale; starting a player out with a mighty army, kingdom and court of the united Macedonian Empire. In this scenario, you’ll get a real feel for how incredible Alexander’s accomplishments were. There are also less dynastic elements here – Alexander, famously, left no clear successor.
This leads neatly and finally to the Diadochi: the war between the various successors to Alexander’s throne. In this game, you’ll command one of the Diadochi generals as they contend with each other to carve out a new Empire. While the scenario defaults you to the Seleucids, you can also take on the role of Ptolemy, Antigonus or Cassander; the latter being the trickiest.
The last scenario is essentially a four-way war to carve up Alexander’s conquests. It also includes a bonus, if you’ve played the previous scenarios – of pitting many of the characters you’ve come to know against each other.
Mohawk have designed some deep and rich scenarios to play around with. There are significant differences between all six and the base game – a nice change of pace from the regular gameplay.
Of course, there are some minor downsides; if you’ve come to Old World for the dynasty and character-building – that has to take a backseat, and sometimes the game can feel a bit too scripted. I also found, in one or two scenarios, the difficulty was very high, making it hard to make much progress.
However, this is a good amount of new content and, for two weeks after the game’s release on Steam, free of charge. This could well just be the icing on the cake for anyone who was already going to pick up Old World.
So, grab your Sarissa and give it a go!