Click for Gameplay Trailer - Review
+ credible landscapes
+ clear, sharp graphics
+ lovely details
- technically simple
- many gray-brown textures
+ good tutorial
+ extensive help and tooltips
+ every action has an traceable effect
+ realistic disasters
- difficulty only affects the starting conditions
+ individual villagers
+ coherent middle ages scenario
+ atmospheric seasons
+ high realism
- brittle presentation
+ vibrant sound world
+ very good weather effects
+ appropriate music
- some sounds a bit thin
+ uncomplicated building
+ statistics with high significance
+ customizable interface
+ four speed levels
+ free save
+ random maps
+ many farm-variants
+ decent amount of buildings
- virtually no upgrades
- no scenarios
+ every action needs realistic time
+ a large population, a long-term challenge
+ there is always something to improve
- Survival voltage decreases with increasing skill
We start Banished depending on the difficulty with some settlers and supplies on a randomly generated map. All buildings are available from the start - provided we have building materials and workers. But ... what we start? With a farm, as effectively as possible to win food? Or with a hunting lodge, so a tailor from the skins of hunted animals can sew jackets?
Banished course is not the first game in which a city or an entire country perish without thoughtful planning and functioning economic cycles.
Hodorowicz missing aspects of urban planning, could not even capture the teeming settlers: an intimate proximity to the population and the intense experience of her worries. And just to include questions such as "how tomorrow is food on the table?" or "How do we get enough firewood?"
You don't control your citizens, but your people do have "lives" of their own, which can sometimes throw a wrench into your plans. They get cold, hungry, and tired.
While you're yelling at them to just frickin' move that rock, they go for lunch. It's not that they're endemically lazy; it's more like they're unionized, and by gosh, it's break time.
But that's also a big part of the appeal: You're not building this town. They are, and that can lead to an odd sort of personal connection with "characters" who don't actually exist, like the crazy herb lady all alone out in the forest or those jerk builders who insist on regular meal breaks.
People, more than anything else, are your vital resource. They need homes, food, decent clothes, tools, emotional support, medicine, and more.
Every mechanic, every building you can place, and everything else you can do relates back to that central theme of survival. If you can't gather enough food, your people die.
If they're stuck outside for too long, or don't have warm clothing, they die. Each time you fail as their leader, you're reminded of the loss with a grating sound and a yellow gravestone.
These serve as a one-two punch to punish you for failure because losing citizens makes it that much harder to keep up the resource flow.
Banished has a number of natural disasters that strike your populace. In many ways, they serve as a kind of random "boss fight" in the sense that they will often test one aspect of your infrastructure.
Diseases test the health of your population, fires your city planning, and tornadoes your ability to rapidly rebuild before winter comes again.
With Banished already amounting to a desperate attempt to stave off death, disasters can be absolutely devastating for the unprepared. When pests hit your crops and you're already barely squeaking by each year, you're going to start losing a lot of people.
While the process of survival is never-ending, holding out against the elements amid the hostility of the untamed natural world is a small but powerful personal victory.
Villagers have names; they're born, grow up, and eventually die under your intense supervision. Banished reinforces the human drama with its brutal difficulty and negative feedback loops.
There's no goal beyond survival and a handful of achievements to work toward. The lack of a campaign or meta-game meant that it was hard for me to stay motivated to play once I had a good-sized, reasonably stable village.
Score: 84 / 100
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