REVIEW: “Land of Lions” is the Most Expansive ‘Anno 1800’ DLC Yet

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Anno 1800: Land of Lions

Anno 1800 Season Pass 2 has come to an end with its last content update and sixth DLC: “Land of Lions.” The most expansive DLC yet, it invites players to the region of Enbesa. In “Land of Lions,” players will experience a wide range of new content. “Land of Lions” brings new gameplay mechanics (Irrigation and the Research Center), two new citizen tiers in Enbesa, one new citizen tier in the Old World, new production chains such as Hibiscus tea and telephones, 90 new buildings, three quest islands, 134 new items, and even more.

“Land of Lions” opens up Anno 1800 by adding the Eastern-African-inspired region of Enbesa. While playing the single-player, you get around 10 hours of story content with this DLC to add to your campaign. In this story, you enter the service of Ketema, the Emperor of Enbesa, who tasks you with building his new capital city, fending off foreign influence over his nation, and learning more about Enbesa’s rich culture and history.

“Land of Lions” starts with an expedition to the region of Enbesa. This expedition, much like previous DLCs, is much more expansive than what we’ve gotten from the rest of the Season 2 Pass. This is because it involves a map and some puzzle-solving to achieve your goal of reaching Ketema at the Enbesa capital city. The campaign in “Land of Lions” is once again only tied to the single-player aspect of Anno 1800 so if you play in a Co-Op game, the campaign will not be triggered, and reaching Enbesa will be just like any other expedition.

The campaign itself is broken into multiple questlines that involve various islands within the region. Players having a choice in quests is something that has been in Anno 1800 before but in “Land of Lions” these choices seem to matter much more than before. There are plenty of relationship dynamics going on within “Land of Lions” so giving the players some meaningful choices is a nice addition. There are multiple moving parts to this story as you are supposed to help Ketema rebuild the capital city along with forge beneficial relationships with all of the Enbesa tribes. At the same time, there is Archibald and the Queen who wish to expand into Enbesa so players must decide once again whether to help Archibald or Ketema.

The story itself in “Land of Lions” has plenty to offer as you explore the region and all its history. You can tell that Anno 1800 really wanted to make players enjoy this campaign and take time to experience it with all the choices and dialogue options available with each task and quest. The quests in Enbesa have also been expanded to more than just your usual delivery or pick up. These types of quests are still a common thing within Enbesa, but there are now plenty of investigations and puzzles to solve as you work to learn about and uncover the history of Enbesa.

The only downside to all this campaign is that you want to make sure you are in a good spot overall before beginning “Land of Lions.” As anyone that has played Anno 1800 knows, the game will continue to progress in other regions. There were a few times I was reading lore and doing a puzzle quest only to realize I had issues crop up in other regions. When you enter Enbesa, be prepared to be in Enbesa for a while. The Campaign also does a great job of tying in the Research Institution and all the other Old World features that “Land of Lions” brings to Anno 1800.

This region not only opens up a new campaign but also brings Arid weather conditions that make building a thriving city a completely new task. In this new climate, you have to use the Irrigation system to transform the unforgiving landscape into lush green farmland. With the only fertile land situated along the rivers, you need to use water pumps attached to river slots situated on the map. Once placed, you can irrigate the land, transforming the yellow tiles to green. This allows you to place down farmland, including resources like Lavender and Linseed, or even cattle and goat farms. While the buildings themselves don’t need to be on irrigated land, every plot that attaches to the main building does.

While your first thought may be to just run canals across the entire island, it’s actually not that easy. While yes, making the entire land irrigated makes sense in theory, each river slot only affords a limited amount of water which dictates how many tiles of canals you can run across your island. You can increase this by joining multiple water pumps together via canals, but as you upgrade your villages you’ll need two items: paper and clay. While you can easily import clay from your Old World cities, which is what we did, the paper serves as a hurdle. Both resources are produced using river slots. That said, once you lay down one of those buildings, you lose the water that would have allowed you to irrigate your land.

This means that irrigation itself must be thought of when planning your city from the very beginning. Unlike railroad tracks, every resource you’ll need to grow your island must be placed near canals. In order to do this effectively, you have to think about how you can place your farms in the most efficient ways and how to build your residences on land that takes advantage of areas you’ve strategically left barren.

With all that said, the third biggest element that “Land of Lions” brings to Anno 1800 is the scholars and their Research Institution. This encourages players to search and craft technologies and items or to make Major Discoveries to help them accomplish their goals. The Research Institution is unlocked after reaching 300 Elders in Enbesa. So it is critical expand your territory into the Enbesa region and pay attention to it, upgrading to Elders when you can because you need it to unlock not only the Research Institution, but also the Scholar population tier within the Old World. This is different from other expansion areas like “The Passage” or “Sunken Treasures” which both provide you with more areas to explore but don’t have direct ramifications for your progression in the world if you choose to ignore.

The Research Institution is an amazing addition to Anno 1800 as any regular player knows finding endgame items becomes such a struggle and monotonous task that the ability to research almost any item in the game drastically improves the player’s experience. Much like the Palace from the “Seat of Power” DLC, the Research Institution is a “quality of life” feature disguised as a fancy structure. And that is by no means a bad thing either. The Research Institution really allows players to extend their games out longer and to push their empires further.

The Scholars is another population tier found within the Old World. This tier is unlocked as you level up Enbesa populations to the Elders tier. The scholar residences are also tied to the Research Institution as you have to research each time you want to add more residences. The scholars have their own set of unique needs and luxury items along with their own set of residences that need to be set up within your city layout. Scholars are also important because the higher number of them of them increases the total number of research points you can have at one time along with how many gathering researching points. You can get research points by donating items to the Institution, but when Legendary items are only worth 50 Research Points per item you are better off adding more scholars to provide not only a faster way of getting research points but a more consistent way because you gain research points over time with your scholar population.

Overall, “Land of Lions” brings new challenges that will test your city-building and management skills. That said, it also brings elements like the Research Institution which will help improve the quality of life of the game overall. Ubisoft Mainz marketed this DLC as the most expansive it’s released and that’s the truth. While last year’s “The Passage” DLC added a new area to explore, “Land of Lions” easily surpasses it by how it’s integrated into the Old World.

“Land of Lions” is now available on its own or with the Anno 1800 Season 2 Pass.

Anno 1800 - "Land of Lions" DLC
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

“Land of Lions” brings new challenges that will test your city-building and management skills. That said, it also brings elements like the Research Institution which will help improve the quality of life of the game overall. Ubisoft Mainz marketed this DLC as the most expansive it’s released and that’s the truth. While last year’s “The Passage” DLC added a new area to explore, “Land of Lions” easily surpasses it by how it’s integrated into the Old World.