NOTE: I’ve had this review in my documents for ages, but just forgot to upload it. I only just remembered because I am planning to restart this blog.
Going from the Old Gods to The Republic, I was left a little disappointed. The Old Gods, with all its vast scale in terms of time and who you could play, dazzled me. I felt it added a huge amount to do the game. The reason I mention this is because The Republic DLC does kind of the opposite: it forces you to downscale tremendously: to focus on minute details and to forget about the sprawling land masses and instead be happy with money.
As a merchant republic, money and trade is the main goal in this expansion. It’s what you work for: not land or making a huge empire, but money. You acquire this by building as many trade posts you can, as quickly as you can. Throughout your attempts of building a great merchant rule, the other republics will try to thwart your aims, and various choices such as embargoes can be enacted so that you can maintain dominance. It sounds pretty different from the main game, doesn’t it? It is, and it doesn’t really fit together well with the rest of the game. One feels disconnected from all the other grand strategy in the game pretty soon through the play through, making it lose what made CKII great.
While the outside world feels ignored, I did enjoy the inter-family mechanics of The Republic. As an elected ruler, you must make sure, primarily through campaign funds, that your heir is voted in when you die. If he doesn’t, it’s not game over, but it’s a definite advantage. All this intrigue and the great new random events, such as family feuds, kept my interest for quite a while. Forming vendettas that last centuries is certainly entertaining, but the closer-to-home intrigue lacks the detail to justify being the reason to buy this game.
Perhaps I am being overly harsh on the expansion now knowing what is capable from this game with the Old Gods DLC, but to me, when faced with the option of playing this, or even the base game, the base game would win almost every time. The novel scenarios could warrant one or two playthroughs, but it’s hardly an endless mode to sink your teeth into. I would only buy this expansion if you have somehow managed to exhaust the main game and the other DLCs and even then, it still is not a blind buy.