Its my first review and I see a lot of people click that my review is not helpfull. On the other hand I see people writing a review exist of only 3 or 4 words and a lot of people click it's helpfull for them.
Feel free to leave a comment if you want me to tell why it's not helpfull in the comments so I can write better reviews next time I buy a game.
A few weeks ago I bought this game full price (24.99) from the Steam store.
I thought it was safe because all of the recommendations made by other players on Steam for this game.
Also I’m a huge fan (played over 1000 of hours) of turn based strategy games like the HOMM series, AOM series and of course Civilization.
After struggling 8 hours with this game I think it’s time for a warning to other players to not buy this game for this price.
In my opinion it’s simply not worth it. Why not?
The manual is almost 400 pages and available as a free download from the developer. Half of the manual is not about the game or how you need to play it, but just big tables with unit and spell stats what can come in handy as a reference if you know how to play the game. Save another 10 bucks to buy a printed one or print it yourself, otherwise it’s useless. Even the manual is set up very user unfriendly. There is not even a directory/index in Adobe or Word to scroll easily to the different subjects. So prepare for scrolling the 400 pages often.
There is a map you can open in game what is called tutorial. In the manual there is a 27 paged introduction of the game what you can read as a tutorial while playing the map. Unfortunately it covers only a few subjects of the game and for me it was no big help either. The 8 hours I played the game till now was mostly because experimenting with the game after watching many hours of let’s play vids on Youtube. Don’t expect any help in the game itself. There are no pop ups, tooltips or other information (like civpedia) to help the player.
In terms of gameplay I cannot write a fair review because I still have to less information on how to play the game. Overall it looks very promising. There are dozens of spells, creatures and heroes to invite if I have to believe the other reviewers. There is big map with a lot of provinces to conquer or explore. But to me it looks all the same. A big map filled with water and land. If I click the province a big arrow appears on the screen so at least I can remember what the last order was before I click the End Turn button. But there are no clues at all what the different creatures do and what profit I can have for capture certain provinces. I can send a scout to any neighbour province before I send my army. But it doesn’t make any sense. If I click the province I can only see (in a text pop up) what kind of army is defending the province. It’s just a surprise what the stats of the different armies you want to attack are, because this stats you can see only if the battle is already fought. To prevent my review is become bigger than the manual I stop about the gameplay. It’s a miracle for me.
Fighting….The biggest disappointment of being ripped off for this scam kind of game is the fact that there is no fighting at all in this game. You cannot control even a single aspect of the fight yourself. All is calculated if you click the End Turn button automatically. You know that games where you can click the “auto calculate battle” button if you are bored because you know for sure you win the fight? In this game you don’t have the choice. Everything is played by the PC. Even over the battles in Civilization you have more control then this one. Forget nice tactical turn based battles. It’s not in the game. If I knew that before I bought it, I was not buying this game at all.
A very strange inconsequence in the reviews made by other players is about multiplayer. In one review I read the AI is not that smart (reason because the game is too complicated even for a human being), but multiplayer games makes it all good. I like both, so I took the risk. After installing the game and try to play I start search for a multiplayer game. The server selection field in my screen was empty so I try on the web. What I find is a few reviews about the multiplayer is buggy and people playing online is using the Play by E-mail function. That means you can play one turn. Send your turn in a file to the host and wait for the next move of your opponents. Not what I think is multiplayer. So the AI is stupid. The multiplayer is buggy and the only option is Play by E-mail, what I personally don’t like at all.
I’m not the kind of person what needs a full 3D, shadow covered graphics engine for the representation of my strategy game. I like older games too (Heroes of might and magic III for example is 15 years old) and the graphics are more beautiful in my opinion than a lot of newer games with unpolished 3d models without any detail. What is important for me is eye for detail and to see that the artist is put some attention to the graphics he made. Whether it’s full 3D or hand drawn 2D sketches is not that important to me. This is one of the ugliest games I ever see in my 15 years gaming experience. The landscape, the map, the trees, the mountains, the castles and even the arrows what represent your next move before you click the End Turn button, it looks all the same to me. A temple is a white sprite and a castle a grey sprite. No diversity at all. All the castles, temples and (eventually) caves look the same. In the small screenshots I can handle this presentation, but in full screen on a standard monitor it looks so ugly that I prefer to play this game with my eyes closed. Even if you go on the internet to search for free to use content for use in games 99% of what you find looks better than this.
I was expecting a lot from this game. It was for the first time in years I paid full price for a game. Based on research I did before, my own gaming experience and based on reviews on steam. I want to like the game. I want to neglect the ugly graphical presentation. I want to put energy in reading a 400 page manual, but how more I try, how more disappointed I become.
If this is the best what Indie can develop it’s the first and last time I buy an Indie title.
If there was a refund option I was ask my money back for this game. I cannot enjoy it and will not enjoy it in the future. That Steam start to offer this game after two weeks I bought it with 75% discount isn’t help my dissatisfaction.