Scramble map 1

What an awesome excuse to sink some more hours into Civ V. Not that I need an excuse. But still, I was pleased to get tasked with checking out this DLC so that I could revisit one of my favorite games. While playing Civilization V never really feels like a waste of time, I’m wondering about this DLC.

Scrambled Continents is the latest addition to Civilization V. As explained by Firaxis:

The Scrambled Continents map pack includes real geographic locations with special scripts that produce randomized interiors each time a new game begins. While the familiar outline of the continent’s geography stays constant, the inner heart of the world changes each time you play for endless replayability on countless plausible worlds.

Scramble map 2

That’s right, the outline and shape of the continent will be familiar to you if you know about the real world, but the interior is completely randomized. This means that areas that are normally swamps may become mountains, while rivers and natural wonders have relocated. In fact, you may get the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Canada like I did on one play through. Scrambled Continents offers 10 new maps: Africa, Thawed Antarctica, Earth, East Asia, Middle East, North America, Oceania, Small Continents Plus, South America and Western Europe – with the exception of Antarctica, these were all maps I already had under “additional maps”.

I’m not quite sure I understand the appeal of this map pack. When I play Civ V, I either want a world generated under certain conditions (Pangea, continents, etc) or I want to play on a map that simulates reality. It’s fun to run around as Ghandi in Europe, or to take over all of the Americas as Carthage. However, I never found the real world maps to be boring or repetitive – the other civilizations and City-States provide enough variety to make each play-through something different. Besides, I normally play on various sized maps and with new leaders each time. So, how much new variety does this map pack add?

Scramble map 3

I suppose this will be a nice DLC for those who feel like they have already exhausted all the topographical options in Civ V. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure that this will add much value. Look, you can play in Africa but there’s a bunch of swamps and the resources aren’t where you expect them to be, or in a scrambled version of the South Pole. Does that really add hours of new gameplay for you? It’s not a bad DLC, but it feels like a ploy for money. It only costs $5 on Steam, making it feel like a micro-transaction to me: low-cost, low-value add-on.

C’mon Firaxis, I expect better from you. If you want to release a map pack, just give it to us. Or, make it something truly unique and interesting that adds some new game play to an already varied experience.

Last Updated: October 29, 2013

was reviewed on PC

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