I feel like I’ve been playing Railway Empire for a lifetime. Not because the game is boring, far from it as it’s a very brilliant niche sim game that captures the world of train development in the 19th century. No, I feel like I’ve been playing it a lifetime because of the miles I’ve travelled around the world building my real train sets. It started in America, then Mexico, then Canada and after a short trip over the ocean I have also taken in good old Britain, Ireland and Germany. I’m exhausted, to be honest with you, but there is no time for resting as I am now required to use my railway building knowledge to help the people of France get themselves and their goods across the country safely and on time. So I’ve got my inspector’s uniform on and here I go again with the Railway Empire – France expansion.
I have to be honest and admit that I’m a bit of a fan of the base Railway Empire on Xbox One. It is a well-detailed sim with a load of stuff to do and for railway fans, it’s a bit of a must buy. I did find the controls a bit fiddly on console, but not so much to destroy the enjoyment of the experience, and the plethora of content packs that have been added in so far have provided a wealth of extra trains, locations, goods and scenarios, keeping the interest for the game very healthy indeed.
Once again this new France expansion pack is a great little assortment for the price and delivers a whole chunk of life and a nice bit of ooh la la to this very detailed train sim. It doesn’t really do anything new in the way of the mechanics of the game, but that isn’t a bad thing, even after all this time. If it’s not broke and all that.
The location this time around sees us hop the Channel to join our neighbours in France. Here you’re able to build your train track from the north to the south and from the east to the west, across this wonderful country full of great food, wine, and culture. There is one new scenario – Into a New Time – set between the years 1874 and 1890. The story follows the wake of Emperor Napoleon III’s exile, the French monarchy has collapsed for the second time, and the Third Republic has taken its place. This time Railway Empire gives you a choice which direction you want to take; either take sides with a militaristic general and increase the strength of France’s borders in anticipation of a new war, or help the minister of public work to rebuild the infrastructure of the country and undertake a controversial new project – the Eiffel Tower. It’s a great scenario and the choice selection gives us a new dynamic which is hugely enjoyable.
There are 31 new cities included here, giving you the chance to wander around and connect to. 12 new trading goods are also present, which include – as you might expect – soft cheese and wine, which in themselves usually sorts me out for a normal night on the sofa. But it’s not just about food and train fans are obviously well catered for with ten new engines on offer which include the Coupe Vent (4-4-0) and Forquenot (2-4-2). One day I will work out what these numbers mean, and not just that the train goes choo choo.
As a whole, Railway Empire on Xbox One becomes a bigger and better package as each of these content packages releases and the same is true now with this French addition. The sandbox modes are still around too, allowing a play around with the tracks without financial restraints or worries, but while the price asked is a bit more than normal, it is well worth the buck for Rail Empire fans.
The game still looks great as well, and here the visuals perfectly capture the era draw of France. There are some nice new characters that appear too, adding to the atmosphere and story of the game.
Overall and Railway Empire – France is another engaging piece of DLC, created to a very high standard. Yes, the game mechanics can still be a bit fiddly on console and there hasn’t been a huge change in the gameplay, but it does what it should very well, adding more content to an already outstanding product with a whole new map, engines, scenarios, and goods to enjoy.
Viva la France.