Last year's best strategy game finally comes to Steam

Old World had our resident strategy buff frothing at the mouth, in excitement I hasten to add, at a 4X that was actually doing some new things. In our review Fraser described it as "a brilliant 4X, and one that I'd actually recommend over Civilization at the moment. It feels like a genuine step forward for the genre, boasting so many inventive, smart design decisions."

The game was released in July last year as an Epic store exclusive, and impressed us so much that it eventually scooped our Best Strategy gong for 2021. Now the exclusivity period has ended and the game's out on Steam and GOG, alongside a 10% launch discount and new DLC that is thrown-in for free if you take the plunge in the next fortnight.

The DLC is called Heroes of the Aegean, and adds a bunch of Ancient Greece's greatest leaders and warriors. Players can apparently "lead Athens to victory in the Battle of Marathon, defend Greece from a Persian invasion as Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, and conquer the Hellenic world as Alexander the Great himself." It features six freeform scenarios from the classical world, and introduces the new Hittite faction.

Old World is essentially a game where the secret sauce is that you're leading an empire through multiple generations, building your own historical dynasty of ruthless (or perhaps benevolent) leaders. Mohawk Games and designer Soren Johnson also reconsidered various 4X systems and streamlined their approach without sacrificing complexity.

Anyway, the 4X genre remains one of those quietly vibrant spaces in PC gaming, and Old World is one of the best recent examples as a game taking a look at an established genre, shaking it up a little, and achieving great results. It's also quite a pacy experience, surprisingly enough, though I say that in the context of the oft-ponderous 4X genre. 

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."