Yet another Crusader Kings II DLC has hit our shores, and this time it carries raiders, barbarians and heathens, allowing players to enjoy (or suffer) the pagan hordes.
Not that pagans are an uniform and cohesive bunch, mind you, pagans are just the followers of one of the myriad of non-Abrahamic religions, and thus encompass from Nordic Vikings to monotheistic Zoroastrians.
Pagans behave mostly like everyone else, but each religion has its own special abilities and idiosyncrasies. Norse, for example, can raid enemy provinces by navigating major rivers, while Zoroastrians can marry their own close kin (sickly as it is to even consider it to modern society) to raise their reputation with their vassals, though doing so will render your descendants inbred quite fast…
One main problem that Pagans have compared to followers of more structured and stable religions (Zoroastrians not withstanding) is that they are stuck in less-efficient succession laws. Furthermore, times of peace are damaging to them, and leaders, in a more tribal way, must show their strength constantly by conquering and raiding new territory. Pagans can reform their religion and have more stable realms, but doing so comes at the expense of some of their benefits. It generally pays off, however. To reform, they need to control at least three of their holy sites and have a high moral authority. Holy sites are, however, located in odd places sometimes… and I have to wonder if this is completely historical or just a necessity for game balance.
The most interesting addition to the DLC is not the Pagans themselves, oddly enough, but a new 867 starting date. The map of Europe in this date is radically different to the one in 1066, with Europe being a mismatch of duchies and petty kingdoms. This map is here to give a more interesting game to pagans, as they control much more of Europe in this time, but it also adds a 200 years or so of game and a more unstable and cool Europe to play around with.
In addition to all of the above, the DLC also adds several things of note. Rebels are no longer just random bands without purpose, now they are directed by a leader and have a clear target. Technology has also been somewhat revamped. While the old system is still in place, now you accumulated tech points that can be used to speed up any of the different areas that can be developed. While I liked the old system, I understand this is to satisfy those that wanted a more active hand in the development of their realms and it’s a very unobtrusive change.
To wrap up the package, the DLC includes hundreds of new events, many specific to the different pagan religions. It also changes the interface depending on your chosen religion, as it had done before with republics and Muslims.
Even more dynasties and characters to play us, updates to tech and rebel system makes the game even more engrossing
Nothing that I can think of!
Overall 5 out of 5
The Old Gods is almost a perfect DLC. It does what a good DLC needs to do, add more options and intricacies to an already big game. Nothing in the DLC will be felt missing by those with just the standard game, but having it will just enrich the experience. Sure, it doesn’t do anything that will make those that are sceptical about the genre take notice, but it doesn’t have to. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of the series this is a must buy.
Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods was provided to us by the publisher free of charge. You can purchase it directly from the publisher or from Steam for £9.99.