Rise of Venice was a cracking strategy game – deep, intuitive, and pretty to boot – but it was awash with missed opportunities.
Sadly, Kalypso can now add Beyond The Sea to that list. The name alone conjures up imagery of venturing onto land past the coastal cities that make up Rise of Venice’s map, establishing trade routes via land, securing your domination via armed patrols, building fortifications and establishing your own outposts that might eventually grown into towns, markets and cities…
Yeah, there’s none of that. For the frankly rich £14.99 price tag you get yet more sea. We’re not all classical Venetian merchant lords, Kalypso. It’s hard to imagine someone paying so much cash for so little content. Bear in mind for the same money you could pick up the Bioshock Infinite season pass and have considerably more nautical joy. For the same money, you could order a good pizza and just enjoy more of the Rise of Venice core game. More sea, more land to do nothing more than sit there and look pretty – which, admittedly, it does very well.
You get French and Portuguese cities to trade with, but it doesn’t introduce anything new, just more of the same It’s a 50% map size increase but infuriatingly it doesn’t integrate with the core game – you’re going to have to start again and select the new map to play with all the new stuff. Which means you’re going to have to crawl through a bunch of stuff you’ve already played to get to the relatively lean meat of the new content.
It’s an expansion in the most literal sense of the word, but it just isn’t quite enough to get the job done. You get the (apparently) famous NAO ship class, which Christopher Columbus used to sail the world and terrorise Native Americans (For shame, Kalypso. For shame. Why not add the option to sell beguiled townsfolk into slavery while you’re at it, too? Oh wait – Tropico 2). It’s important to note that my nautical knowledge extends no further than what Assassin’s Creed IV has taught me. The Jackdaw and all of its impossibilities are my new standard for vehicles of the sea.
So you get a host of new cities and more things to painstakingly micro-manage, but what’s really meant to sell this DLC is the new Doge and Residence tasks, and all they really do is flesh out the ‘Rise’ in Rise of Venice and make the late game a bit more substantial, which just addresses one of the issues that hampered the core release. Developers, if you’re going to produce paid DLC, especially one for such a niche game with such a high price tag, don’t just use it to fix things that went wrong the first time around.
It seems almost insulting that such a scant gathering of new features is being sold for so much – in this case it would make much more sense to have some kind of micro-purchase model in place. It’s not that the new stuff isn’t good – it’s just that it comes with a price tag that’s far too hefty.
In short, Rise of Venice is an excellent economy simulator in a lovely package, a game I’d recommend wholeheartedly – but this DLC just isn’t substantial enough to make a decent splash. What’s there is good, it’s just very overpriced, and that shouldn’t ultimately determine your opinion of the actual content. Three out of five – because the content is good and worth getting for your Rise of Venice experience – just not for that much cash.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.