My vote in this category also goes to Oceania 🙂 All animals look very detailed and realistic as far as I can tell. In Tropical pack I'm not entirely satisfied with the Fossa's quality.

All of the DLCs from 2023 have generally amazing quality animals, it's quite noticeable when compared to the previous years productions of similar species. For example Przewalski horse looks less detailed than the Somali Wild Ass, the latter even has more natural looking animation and body language.
"Best quality overall" is a bit difficult to evaluate without just simplifying it to "Best pack". I think the most groundbreaking pack is the Aquatic DLC but if I am being asked about which one has the most beautiful and detailed animals and pieces, my vote is for Tropical DLC. The improvement trend over the years is obvious, almost every single of the last 5 scenery packs has been better than any of the first 5 (Aquatic being the big exception).
So even though Aquatic showed how a great pack must be made, Tropical has still better quality just because it's newer.
Like most others here I’m really struggling between Tropical and Oceania, but I think I’ll have to give it to Oceania. While the animal picks in Tropical and the (some, but not all) not so culturally authentic scenery picks in both leave a bit to be desired, that isn’t the focus and artistic quality wise they’re some of the most well done sets of animals and scenery Frontier has done.

The only real quality nitpicks I have with Oceania are the Tassie making the wrong sounds (if that wasn’t fixed by now? I haven’t had the chance to play in a while), and the kiwi pulling from the Australian name pool. What really puts this pack on top are the two birds looking amazing, Frontier is really good at doing birds and it’s a shame they don’t do them more. Same with marsupials to a lesser extent, both of which also look incredible here. Considering the extra animation work that had to be put in, the uniqueness of Oceania’s fauna (both the pack and the IRL region) compared to the more commonly used rigs of Tropical definitely gives it an edge here.
We are now onto the second part of the competition, the scenery packs! These will have the same categories as the animal packs plus a few more that are for the building pieces. Also, since there are only 6 animal packs but 10 scenery packs, 4 will move on instead of 2.

Feb 20th - 22nd
: “Best Quality”

Choose the scenery pack with the best quality of both animals and scenery.

Here’s my take on each one:
  • Arctic: The building style taken altogether is meh for me, even though I admire the inspiration taken from Norwegian architecture. I sometimes use the wood walls for other buildings, so they’re reasonably versatile. The animals were well made by the standards of release.
  • South America: The temple pieces are great, especially for decorating habitats, but the bamboo and thatch pieces are okay. I don’t find myself using them much. The animals are pretty good though.
  • Australia: The rustic desert theme feels like something out of a ranger station at an Australian national park (Can any Aussies confirm this?). Also, the new rigs developed for the kangaroo and koala are well made.
  • Aquatic: Scenery is well made. The animals really shine here though due to the developers making four unique rigs for penguins, otters, pinnipeds, and caimans.
  • Africa: I’ve made some great use out of the North Africa scenery. I love working with it. The animals are also extremely well made, especially the quality of the southern white rhino and the meerkats' burrowing ability.
  • Europe: I never could quite get the building style right for the European theme, so I don’t have much of an opinion on it. However, the animals are pretty good.
  • Conservation: The creative liberties that they took when designing the conservation theme is great. Also, I love the choices that they made for the animals, even though I wish they picked a different carnivore over the amur leopard. The siamang really shines here with the brachiation.
  • Twilight: The Twilight theme is well made, but the gothic eastern European theme (that’s what it’s inspired by, right?) a little too niche for me. Also, they invested so much effort into the new rigs for the raccoon, wombat, and skunk.
  • Tropical: The thatch roofs in this pack was difficult to get right. I wish that they could’ve been grid pieces. However, the quality of the brick walls and the temple/shrine pieces are phenomenal! The animals were really well made too.
  • Oceania: I have the same problems with the thatch roofs as I did with tropical, but the Polynesian theme was well made. However, the new rigs from the kiwi, tasmanian devil, and quokka were amazing!
Overall, my vote is going to Conservation with Africa and second place.
My Ranking of the Packs by Animal Choices:
  • South America: I use these animals all the time. The giant anteater and jaguar were obvious picks, as was a capuchin, even if they aren't my favorite SA monkey. A SA camelid was another obvious pick, and the fur patterns of the llama make it more interesting than the wild ones. The sheer lack of favorites (maned wolf, howler monkey, tamarins, capybara, sloth) from the base game disguises how strong all of the picks actually are. I think most of the negative steam reviews were from a desire for additional animals, especially the beloved capybara.
  • Africa: They are all popular animals and great choices for a pack. I was very happy to finally get an African rhino. The small mammals and penguin are very useful, too. Great nostalgia factor.
  • Europe: The animals are all great choices, especially now that there is a swan and wolverine. All of these animals (though this applies to the badger to a lesser extent) are extremely iconic to the region. Fallow deer and lynxes are popular in zoos near me, and ibexes are a very famous goat.
  • Australia: Aside from the dingo and maybe picking a different lizard, this roster was nearly perfect. I genuinely don't think the dingo was that bad of a pick. The animals look great together add something iconic for Australia's main biomes.
  • Oceania: I'm missing a tree kangaroo, but they got the kiwi and Tasmanian devil people have been begging for. The penguin is also nice. The bat should have been lorikeets or even a tuatara, but the lineup isn't that bad.
  • Arctic: They got the polar bear and caribou, which are great. The other two are nice, but it seems obvious to me that the Dall sheep should have been a musk ox, there should have been a walrus, and the "clone" Arctic wolf should have been left in place of an exhibit animal. I still like the inclusion of the animals even though the dall sheep (I don't hate this animal, btw) kind of creates problems in the caprid lineup by making the bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and musk ox somewhat redundant without adequately filling the niche of any of them.
  • Conservation: They nabbed the 3 biggests wishes on the wishlist, so maybe I should put this pack higher, but I think such a broad theme could have included a tamarin and a tree kangaroo. Asia has a lot of storied endangered animals, but there are other regions with important conservation species.
  • Tropical: Getting so little from SA just felt like trolling by the devs. It's not funny anymore. I love the animals, but it still seems like a wasted opputunity.
  • Aquatic: All of these had more popular counterparts. I like the animals, but I don't understand why the favorites (sea lion or even harbor seal, emperor or rockhopper penguin, ASCO or sea otter, spectacled caiman) weren't included in the first place. Maybe they wanted the new diving models to be tested on the species people cared less about. The taxon combo was pretty good, though.
  • Twilight: The timing of this pack was weird. I think they should have done an Oceania animal pack that fall and done a temperate animal pack in 2023 to add NA's colorful black bear; Europe's red deer, wild boar, and red fox (the color morphs and wide range make this one great); the skunk and raccoon for international NA animal representation (they don't do much for local zoo rep, but I personally kind of like skunks); and an ornamental bird (golden pheasant, Mandarin duck, swan, maybe a turkey?). After just getting the temperate-heavy NA and Europe pack, the lineup felt redundant and strange. The bats were awesome for the theme, though, and the wombats were requested. The pack really needed another community favorite.
South America wins handily for me, I would have chosen Africa, but South America has the benefit of an amazing exhibit animal. I mean I can’t imagine building a South American section without the following:
  1. Jaguar
  2. Capuchin monkey
  3. Giant anteater
  4. Llama
  5. Red eye tree frog
All are iconic, it only beats out Africa because that pack has a scarab beetle. Also while I find conservation to be overall essential, you can’t play that game without the South American pack imo.
For animal selection i'm between South América and Europe. Both are examples of an almost perfect roster ( i say almost because both leave important key species out but some we're added later on and even without them both packs manager to offer a selection of iconic and essential animals for their respective regions). To me SA gets the edge for variety: monkey, first domestic ungulates, unique animal type and carnivores, but in this case one that was really missing from the base game roster and the exhibit animals is still one of my favorites. Europe on the other hand has two carnivores and two ungulates. If one of those animals would've been a bird then it might have won just for a little. We later got the swan so that adds to it and Europe had the chance to become almost complete (red deer, wild boar, wisent, Wolvere, etc), now i need SA to recibe the same treatment.

For scenery is hard really. The latest packs offer incredible quality pieces, specially Tropical and Oceania, and very useful ones as well. But i think the most versatile and universal one which also makes it one of the most useful is Conservation. I think not having a very specific theme but versatile scenery is what makes it the best one to use.

Now if i have to choose one pack that has the best combination of scenery and animal selection then it is Europe.

Twilight remains the worst pack in both aspects in my opinion.

So idk i'm Lost about the differences between this cathegory and the previous one lol

So for short:

  • animal selection: South América
  • scenery pieces: Conservation
  • balanced between both aspects: Europe

Choose which ever fits this cathegory the best i guess 🤣
A bit out of left field but I’m going to have to go with Australia.

Every habitat animal here is essential (yes, even the dingo, which is necessary for Australian parks and is still among one of the regions most useful animals for overseas zoos. I think it would’ve been much more well received if canid fatigue wasn’t a thing and if we hadn’t gotten it before the Tassie. As its own animal it’s a great choice.)

Scenery wise it also remains one of my favorites - the new metal pieces are super versatile (the beams are probably my most used pieces in the whole game), and most of the more themed scenery (with one massive, mechanical macropod aside) is small enough to be incorporated into realistic builds for a subtly themed section of a zoo.

What really sells the scenery for me though is that they actually brought on an indigenous artist from the culture they wanted to represent. This was one of the best choices Frontier has ever made and something I really wish wasn’t a one off case (especially for the Oceania pack). John Smith Gumbula’s work is amazing and is easily one of the highlights of the set.
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