Curious Expedition 2: Highlands of Avalon/Shores of Taishi DLC Review

Curious Expedition 2 screenshot - Combat
Curious Expedition 2: Highlands of Avalon/Shores of Taishi DLC Review
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Platforms: Steam, Windows PC, GOG, Epic Games Store

Game Name: Curious Expedition 2

Publisher: Thunderful Publishing

Developer: Maschinen-Mensch

Genre: Adventure, RPG, Strategy

Release Date: November 16th, 2021, May 19th, 2022

Curious Expedition 2: Highlands of Avalon DLC and Curious Expedition 2: Shores of Taishi by Maschinen-Mensch

Curious Expedition 2 by Maschinen-Mensch needs no introduction, as it was one of my favorite games of 2021. Its focus on management, exploration, and randomized elements made it hard to put down. Since its release, there have been two DLC releases: Highlands of Avalon and Shores of Taishi.

Curious Expedition 2 screenshot - Highlands

Maddening Heights and Mythological Monsters

I think it’s apt to start with Highlands of Avalon since it’s the first DLC, released in November of 2021. It adds many new features to the game, including a new island type for expeditions, new recruitable characters, enemies, items, and locations.

The main draw here is the island type. Referred to as The Highlands, this area offers a new place to go on expeditions within. It’s an area type with its own unique characteristics and new random encounters to discover like a giant talking lake serpent. It also adds high and low terrain alongside new enemies and items. It’s a good amount of content for those wanting a new area to explore.

What makes it stand out is how I had to approach exploring in this area. Since the game incorporates higher terrain, it made me second-guess particular exploration routes. This meant that if I wanted to venture through higher terrain without finding another way around, it would drain my Sanity meter more. This meant that I had to be far more aware of my Sanity while exploring this area. This change doesn’t necessarily rock the boat. It doesn’t change up the game too much by making things too difficult. It just adds more challenge and made me more strategic about my trekking. Which I actually welcomed because it made for some tense situations.

Curious Expedition 2 screenshot - Exploring Gif

The other additions of this DLC help mitigate the increased difficulty. New recruits may make traversal here less of a burdon. New items can make the Sanity cost for the high hills less taxing. The recruits and items fit nicely to make expeditions here more manageable for those who want to curb the difficulty. That being said, the items and recruits don’t change or break the game fundamentally. They cohesively fit with the base game as if they had been there to begin with.

Islands in the Sky

The second DLC I checked out was Shores of Taishi. This adds a locale called the Celestial Shores, a water-filled place with small clusters of islands.

Most of the island masses are not connected, so in order to get to different ones, I had to find teleporters. These teleporters make each expedition feel more like a puzzle. Recovering and planning where to go next is more of a must. In fact, I’d zoom out the map far more here to get a better lay of the land.

It also means that special encounters are spaced further away than in other locales. As a side effect, this again makes Sanity meter management a priority.

Thankfully, the Celestial Shores aren’t too challenging or frustrating. It’s true that the encounters and opportunities for acquiring Sanity-replenishing items are scarce, but I found managing Sanity a bit easier than within The Highlands, as long as I made sure to plan ahead before expeditions.

Besides the map type, this DLC adds more, as well: new locations to discover, enemies, items, and recruits. Like the other DLC, most of them aid the specific map, but I did feel like it only aided so much when compared to the Highlands. Exploration in the Celestial Shores felt a bit more linear because I had to find specific portals, so the new recruits and items don’t aid as much.

Curious Expedition 2 screenshot - Map

Sight-Seeing Attractions for Intrepid Explorers

Visually, both Highlands of Avalon and Shores of Taishi are different while keeping within the base game’s art style. The lush, more forested area of the Highlands has a nice classic adventure feel to it, while the Celestial Shores have a more magical, otherworldly vibe. Both areas are nicely detailed, from the tiny landmarks to the clothed talking tanukis. The Islanders of Shores of Taishi in particular are my favorite since they are basically talking peacocks, which adds to its otherworldly feel.

Overall, I liked the unique challenges both Highlands of Avalon and Shores of Taishi provide, the more puzzle-oriented aspect of the latter and the more arduous terrain of the former. It makes for two entertaining area types. If you’re a fan of Curious Expedition 2 and are looking for more content, I would highly recommend it. It’s more complementary content that doesn’t rock the boat but adds worthwhile features for those looking to get lost in exploring new regions.

Highlands of Avalon DLC and Shores of Taishi DLC are available via Steam, the Epic Games Store, and GOG.

Check out the official trailer for Curious Expedition 2: Shores of Taishi below:

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