Renowned Explorers International Society was my favorite game of 2015; combining great gameplay with a great visual aesthetic. Since my review went up, the game has changed a lot in terms of base mechanics and progression. With the first actual piece of DLC now out, I figured it was time for a second look at the game and see how things are going.
I’m not going to reiterate my thoughts and overall impressions of Renowned Explorers, as you still have my original review. Abbey Games has been hard at work since the original release and have made several big changes before getting to the new DLC pack.
The captains themselves have been slowly gone through with balancing out their perks. Some were just too good, while others required a very specific way to make use of them or even get a use out of them. The changes have been a part of Abbey Games’ plan to flesh out the content and give players a reason to keep playing and find new stuff.
To that end, the developers did something drastic that I didn’t see coming, they completely redid the research progression system. All the abilities that you could unlock have been altered; removing some of the “must haves” and trying to spread the wealth around. While you’ll still use research points to unlock progressively more expensive perks, you’ll find that the different trees are more interesting now.
One area that I have to point out as a really good thing is now spreading out the ways to increase your supplies, or the number of areas you can visit on an expedition. Before, only one tree had options to increase your supplies, but now multiple ones do. This helps prevent one choice from being the superior choice, and gives the player the opportunity to try more without being punished.
Over the months of patches, the various expeditions have been balanced and altered, with one brand new one added before the DLC. With the More to Explore DLC, the game now has two more expeditions to choose from: A mid-game one and an alternate end-game. Expeditions are definitely a big deal for the game, as each one is explicitly designed around different combinations of skills, party compositions and passive abilities. The more expeditions Abbey Games adds, the more options players have and aren’t pigeonholed by their party composition.
As a new quality of life addition, treasures that used to provide special bonuses have now been altered.
Instead of getting one bonus per treasure, you can now pick the bonus from a pool of benefits that you can assign to that treasure for that expedition.
This means you’re not punished for getting a treasure that isn’t beneficial to your party, but you could make it better or fine-tune it for your strategy.
The biggest addition with the More to Explore DLC is a brand new meta-game system that adds big changes to how you build your party.
The cast of Renowned Explorers is one of the understated elements of what made the game great for me. Each person is completely unique with a personality all their own. Abbey Games has taken that a step further with the new campfire system.
How it works is that after you explore X amount of nodes during an expedition, you’ll be able to set up a campfire for your party. A new card system lets you pick stories represented by cards, and you can choose one card per campfire. The basic cards simply give you more resources which is great by itself, but it’s the rarer cards that will hold your interest.
The higher tier cards can provide similar bonuses that special entourage members would provide to certain passive traits, but there’s more. At the highest tier, you can unlock special personality-driven cards that are unique to the specific character.
These cards will radically change how that character behaves for the entire playthrough; perhaps making them better in some aspect but worse in others among other things.
Getting the cards require you to unlock booster packs which is done by simply completing expeditions.
This is a brilliant idea for Renowned Explorers as it does two things. First, it gives you a sense of progression by simply playing the game win or lose. And second it fleshes out the characters more and provides you with more ways of fine-tuning your party strategies.
With all that said, the More to Explore DLC is definitely designed for returning fans of Renowned Explorers. My problems with the game haven’t changed: That there is a lot that has to go right to have any chance at winning, and the game still has trouble with explaining the finer points of the mechanics to the player.
If you loved Renowned Explorers and wanted more, the More to Explore content is definitely worth looking into. For newcomers, I would suggest getting your feet wet with the base game first to see whether or not you like the game. For videos on the new content, you can check out my new playlist on the Game-Wisdom YouTube channel.
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