Crusader Kings II: Way of Life (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 26.03.2016

Review for Crusader Kings II: Way of Life on PC

Of the many well-made features that Crusader Kings II boasts, one of the many flaws it also has is how randomised some of the key aspects can become. Provinces converting culture and religion does not happen at predicted rates, events spur the kingdom wildly about, an impromptu uprising can ruin a key banquet, it can't be assured that the children to the dynasty will be male or female, a single bad heir can potentially ruin a nation, and, worst of all, ending up controlling an inept Lord can end the game early. The Way of Life DLC intends to fix that by offering a bit of added control to the game.

Crusader Kings II: Way of Life is a fairly simple DLC on the whole. It seeks one very simple goal and hopes to accomplish it with relative ease. In Crusader Kings II, previously, a lot of how the game unfolded was the result of the random number generation to the point where the player was almost a slave to it. Something as relatively simple as engaging in a basic diplomatic event (such as marriage) could end up becoming disastrously difficult if not providing the proper sacrifices to the Random Number Goddess as she could smite characters with many penalties to their diplomacy as they grew up, while blessing foes and rivals for the throne with many positive attributes. Even in a time of peace, something as minor as a cold could easily result in kingdom-wide panic if there was no heir or the heir was inept, hence why Crusader Kings II: Way of Life was created.

There isn't much to this DLC on the whole, though. Any character that is, at the least, a Count is allowed to pick one of a potential ten 'focuses.' Each of these provides a small boost to the characters' stats and abilities, as well as unlocking some events directly related to these things. It sounds really simple and straightforward, and it is, but it also brings a lot to the game. The focuses, while allowing a degree of control that is very useful, simply lack any lasting meat and long-time players will be more than used to playing without the added control, so, while helpful and likely a boon to newcomers, it ends up being lacking on the whole.

Screenshot for Crusader Kings II: Way of Life on PC

One of the constant problems with Crusader Kings II is that having a low stat can mean a lot of things. Having a low martial stat, for example, may not hurt too badly in times of peace, but trying to raise it up may detract from other stats only for no major conflicts to arise. Way of Life attempts to fix things like this since the stat-boosts provided and related events give some control to the player, and control is a major thing, which makes this very important.

However, unfortunately, there just isn't much to this expansion besides this key feature. People willing to put up with randomised events and stats, as the majority of the game has been before this, will be more than used to coping with things like this and, while the extra control is appreciated, if such a thing is really worth that amount of cash will be very dependent on the player more-so than usual. In reality, this DLC seems to be little more than a glorified patch that costs money to obtain and, well, simply isn't worth it on the whole.

The value of this DLC is suspect since, while it will affect the game over a prolonged period of time, it simply is not that big of a change on the whole. With prior DLC that allowed gamers to venture into playing as different cultures or added new parts of the world, there was an immediate, noticeable, change in how the game was going to unfold. However, Crusader Kings II: Way of Life simply lacks that and doesn't bring much meat to the table.

Screenshot for Crusader Kings II: Way of Life on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

If any other game were to attempt to charge money for something that offers so relatively little, it would get low marks across the board. The only reason this is not is because the base game, in of itself, is fairly solid and the added degree of control is much appreciated. However, it is key to take this score with a grain of salt: namely that this score is assuming that the player desires this extra degree of control for their game! If not, or feeling comfortable without it, skipping this DLC is a perfectly viable option that won't hinder the experience on the whole.

Developer

Paradox Development Studio

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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