The excellent Ancestors Legacy gets its first helping of paid DLC in the form of Saladin’s Conquest. Time to dive back into Destructive Creations’ strategy game, which we reviewed when it was initially released last year.
Up to this point, Destructive Creations and publisher 1C have been very generous in terms of DLC, with several post-launch additions to the game that have come free of charge. Saladin’s Conquest doesn’t follow that pattern, but it’s the biggest chunk of new content that’s come out so far. It adds an entirely new faction to the game in the shape of the Saracens, but that’s not the real meat of the expansion.
Also included with Saladin’s Conquest are new units and maps, and – most importantly – a brand new campaign. As a package, Saladin’s Conquest represents a change of theater, as you can now suddenly engage in conflict set against a middle eastern background. This doesn’t just make for different gameplay (more on which later), but also gives the game a visual nudge in a different direction – new units, but especially new game maps, look very distinct from anything seen in Ancestors Legacy so far.
Among the most interesting new units is a squad of assassins (or rather, Hassassins), which allows for some creative stealth-based gameplay which involve traps for unsuspecting enemies. This is a great way to make a bang even when you’re still severely outnumbered – and a way to cause chaos that you can capitalize on later. This changes the nature of the gameplay on a larger scale as well, since your strategy will often change to waiting with an all-out assault until your stealthier units have created the opportunity to do so.
The new campaign, lasting somewhere between five to eight hours, takes place against the historical backdrop of middle eastern conflict in the 12th century. It’s very well delivered, with music, voice acting and visuals that were all especially created for this expansion – nice to see add-on content receive the same kind of love that the base game got.
For existing Ancestors Legacy players, the Saladin’s Conquest expansion is a nice breath of fresh air – especially if you enjoy the more campaign-driven experience. In skirmish battles, the element of surprise is lost somewhat – especially in multi-player environments, where opponents anticipate the actions that are the key to success in the campaign missions that were designed around them. Still, given enough time and perhaps a balance tweak here or there, I’m sure the Saracens will settle into a spot in between all the existing factions.