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Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado DLC Review

8.5
The nation designer is perfect, the rest is just a nice bonus.

Release Date: February 26, 2015

Available For:  PC

ESRB Rating: T for Teen

MSRP: $9.99

Recommended Price Point: $9.99

El Dorado is Paradox Interactive’s latest DLC expansion pack for their grand strategy title Europa Universalis IV. Paradox have a history of releasing content-heavy DLC that vastly improve upon the base game. El Dorado certainly follows suit. As you might guess, El Dorado, EU4’s fifth expansion, takes you on a journey of exploration to the New World of the Aztec and Mayan lands of South and Central America. A whole host of new features have been added to these regions, including religious mechanics, events and gameplay additions for the colonising nations.

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With each DLC Paradox offer, EU4 just gets better and better. El Dorado might just be the best one so far. This is mainly due to the addition of a single feature: the nation designer. Yes, that’s right. You can now design your own customised nation at the start of the game. This is definitely the highlight and focus of El Dorado, and is an incredible new feature that sky-rockets the already massive replayability of EU4.

The nation designer is a perfect feature for a game such as EU4. You can customise everything, from the dynasty and monarch points of your ruler, to the national ideas, to the appearance on the map, to the government type and technology group. It works by giving you a set amount of points to start off with, which you then spend on each feature that you can customise. Obviously, the better the elements you choose, the bigger the cost. Don’t expect to be able to have a 16 year old 6/6/6 ruler with land that takes up all the richest provinces with the best ideas. This really is the one feature you’ll want to play with most out of El Dorado.

Being able to make any nation you can come up with is easily one of the best features to have been added to EU4 throughout all of its DLC content. Wanna make a Jewish or even Norse Empire with Native American culture and Western technology in the heart of the Himalayas? There’s nothing stopping you from making the sort of state that would make a geopolitician baulk. The only slightly annoying part is that you don’t get the nation-unique missions and events, but that’s not really much of a downside.

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In addition to being able to create your own nation, El Dorado now has a setting that allows you to start a game with a world full of randomised states or an even-playing-field world where all provinces have the same value. Again, this does wonders for EU4’s replayability factor. For only a tenner, this DLC adds a hell of a lot of play time.

Compared to the nation designer, the rest of the features aren’t really all that much to get excited about. There are the three new Nahuatl, Inti and Mayan religions complete with various gameplay additions. These are pretty decent, and add extra incentive to play as one of the states of the more boring South and Central American regions. In this sense, more content is good content, even though there is little enough reason to play as one of these states.

As it is called Europa Universalis, expect more additions to the mechanics of the European nations. You can now get treasure fleets, pirate hunting, colonial merchants and various exploration mechanics that let you discover locations in the oceans or even find the one of the titular Cities of Gold. The Catholic Treaty of Torsedillas lets you colonise an area with bonuses while competitors get penalties to colonisation, which is a nice touch of historicity. El Dorado also deepens the liberty desire mechanics, a good addition that makes owning client/colonial states a bit more interesting and challenging. This is all reasonably decent stuff, it’s not gonna massively change the way you play EU4, but it’s still nice to get a bit more content.

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Bottom line

Paradox have a great history of adding more and better content to their games with each DLC pack. El Dorado keeps the tradition going by adding the absolutely fantastic nation designer, which is definitely worth the price of the pack alone. All the extra stuff is just icing on the cake really, but El Dorado has still got some pretty good extra content to it. The only negative thing that can be said about it is that it adds more to the European nations which have probably seen enough content as it is. It would be nice to see a similar pack for the East/South-east Asian and Indian nations, but I’m not gonna argue with what El Dorado has to offer. If you’re a fan of EU4, you’ve probably already downloaded it. If you haven’t, you can expect more of the game’s strategic map-painting, but with an extra few features to sink your teeth into. Definitely worth buying.