After a short break which has taken me to other sim worlds dealing with airports, farms and driving trains, I’m back in the railway business again. All those other jobs were very hands on so I’m looking forward to dealing with the larger picture again, watching my dominance of the transport industry grow and grow. This time we’re not in 19th century America, but way down in Mexico where the sun forever shines. A cheerful Mexican song plays over the menu page, which reminds me of getting off a plane on holiday and feeling the warm air hit you. But heading up a railway empire sees no time for such frivolity… let’s build some tracks.
If you haven’t yet delved into the deep world of railway empires with the base game then I urge you to get involved. It is a well-detailed sim with a load of stuff to do and for railway fans, it’s pretty much a must buy. I have to admit to finding the the controls a bit fiddly on console, but not so much that the whole train empire grinds to a halt. Now though we are looking at Mexico – between the years 1873 and 1993 in fact – and this expansion brings new scenarios, trains, cities, and goods. It’s a piece of DLC that expects you to know your carriage from your signal tower and is designed for those who have previously gone deep with the main game and are now looking for that extra challenge. You can play through things in the sandbox arena, free mode or via some new scenarios that are on offer.
I would just like to point out that Railway Empire – Mexico doesn’t really do anything new in the way of the mechanics and for that reason it’s a good idea to remember the ins and outs of the base game before setting off into the DLC, else you’ll spend a good hour trying to remember how to connect the main track to a sidling. Once you have, the scenarios section is the best way to experience it all again as it gives a nice little insight into the history of the time and a taste of the problems of the rail industry in Mexico itself. There are around 24 new cities to examine and connect to, which is a great little bonus if you are bored of the old ones in the USA. There are also some new trading goods which rely on sugar and coffee as they reflect the main goods of that region and timeline. Also, and this is one most definitely for the train buffs out there, there are two new engines on offer; the Fairlie (0-6-6-0) and Stirling (4-2-2). If that means anything to you then great, but my knowledge is limited to just thinking that they look pretty and make all the relevant noises.
Mexico certainly offers a lovely bit of extra playability if you’ve exhausted the massive amount of content from the main game. It’s a neat package and the new country really does offer up a completely different sandbox world to put your train wheels down on. The price is brilliantly cheap and a bit of a bargain if I’m honest – and these are not words I usually use in regards extra downloadable content. It is well worth a buy for fans of the series.
In the looks department, it’s nice to see a different terrain on show with its rocky sandy landscapes and great sunsets. For me, Railway Empire always seems to look better every time I sit down for a railway building session. The presentation is still very high and it’s always great to be able to zoom in and out of the action with ease. The soundtrack is still of a good standard too, with some Mexican themed tunes added to liven up any living room.
Overall and this is a delightful piece of DLC on offer, bringing a very high standard of experience for anyone involved in the railway building game. The price alone sees it hugely appealing to any previous Railway Empire controllers, and whilst the game mechanics can still be a bit fiddly on a console and there hasn’t been a huge change in the gameplay, what it does well is add more goodness to an excellent product. And that is good news for any railway tycoon.