The real-time strategy game Ancestors Legacy released back in May of 2018 and it was pretty well received by both critics and players alike, and one year later the developers graced everyone with Saladin’s Conquest, a paid DLC expansion that brings quite a bit to the table. With that said, it has been a while since I played the base game, and it was only recently that I got the chance to play it the DLC, so I guess I’m late to the party. If you’re interested in reading more about the game itself, you can check out this review that’s here on the site.
Much like the base game, Saladin’s Conquest doesn’t spare you the gruesome details of war, and I guess that’s to be expected given Destructive Creations’ track record. As it should be obvious, given the name of this expansion, Saladin’s Conquest brings a new playable faction, the Saracens, with their own single-player campaign, as well as 3 multiplayer maps. I must say that multiplayer is not really my thing, so I’ll instead focus on the new single-player content.
The new campaign follows the story of the legendary Salad ad-Din Yusuf, also known as Saladin, on his quest to retake Jerusalem from the Christians. The whole thing is fully voice-acted and, on top of the short exposition pieces between missions, there is also quite a fair bit of dialogue during missions, as different characters interact with each other. The plot flows quite nicely and it connects each mission right up until the final one, where everything culminates in the iconic siege of Jerusalem.
The Saracens also introduce 3 new types of units which play pivotal roles during the single-player campaign. For starters, there’s the Scorpion which is pretty much just a reskinned ballista, but then there are the Hassassins and the Grenadiers. The Grenadiers are quite possibly my favourite units in the game, as nothing feels more broken in a game that takes place in this time period than just bombarding your enemies with grenades and watch them turn into smithereens. Watching them lob grenades in their slingshots and see the devastation that they unleash in enemy formations is extremely satisfying. Finally, the Hassassins are these five-man squads that not only can place explosive traps that can single-handedly take out buildings, but they can also hide from enemies thanks to their camouflage ability.
Meanwhile, the Saracen campaign is comprised of 5 missions, with each ranging somewhere between half an hour to about an hour in length, with the entire campaign amounting for about a total of 5 hours or so. Much to my surprise, as I was expecting something more traditional within the RTS formula, the campaign offers a decent variety of scenarios, featuring a series of hit and run scenarios, stealthy city infiltration segments with your Hassassins, and the siege of Jerusalem itself.
Now, although Saladin’s Conquest is a stand-alone expansion, in the sense that the only requirement to play it is to have completed the first 4 levels of the first Viking campaign that act as a tutorial, I get the sense that this DLC assumes that you’ve played through the rest of the game, or at least a part of it. I say this because Saladin’s Conquest is surprisingly challenging, it requires a lot of micro-managing, and you must approach each mission in a very specific way to achieve victory. While it might not seem like it at the beginning, most often than not, the odds are stacked against you, and so you must play very meticulously and not rush into battle.
Even though I had a great time playing Saladin’s Conquest, I can see why some people might not like it due to its mission design. All the missions either involve some sort of stealth segment that significantly slows down the pace of the game, or they force you to act quickly by putting you on some sort of time constraint that leads to an instant failure state. There isn’t really any room for players to come up with their own strategies here, you’re kind of forced to play in a certain way and use specific units to complete your objectives, and I bet some people simply won’t enjoy that.
If all you wanted was more Ancestors Legacy, then Saladin’s Conquest is exactly just that. This DLC brings more of the same tactical real-time strategy greatness that the original game did so well, but it also provides a different enough experience so that it sets itself apart from the rest of the game. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but given its price and the content that you’re getting, I’d say it’s worth the shot.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ancestors Legacy Saladin's Conquest Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
If all you wanted was more Ancestors Legacy, then Saladin’s Conquest is exactly just that. This DLC brings more of the same tactical real-time strategy greatness that the original game did so well, but it also provides a different enough experience so that it sets itself apart from the rest of the game.