The latest title from the renowned strategy game developer and lead designer of Civilization IV, Soeren Johnson, has just said goodbye to Early Access in the Epic Games Store and is officially on sale. Developed with the team at Mohawk Games and known as Old World, this is a turn-based strategy game that is basically like a civilization where you never step out of the old days. It is your responsibility to lead a dynasty at a time when technology is incredibly primitive, and it is your duty to work your way through this hostile world of rival cultures and leaders for the survival of your people and yours Secure ancestry over time.
Designed like a traditional 4X strategy, the first impression you get of Old World is how much it resembles Civilization games. The design of the world, the fighting style, the construction of the cities, to name a few, reflect the mythical strategy game. Don’t get me wrong, there are some differences that I am commenting on below, but if you compare Old World, for example, to Humankind, another historical strategy 4X, you can clearly see how many similarities with the Civilization Saga while the other is working on it, to create something more original.
These similarities aren’t bad, however. In fact, if we factor in Johnson’s career, we’d be a little pissed that the experience he gained working on the Civilization franchise wasn’t used to bring Old World to life. With this in mind, you can expect a well thought-out and sophisticated strategy game in which you as a player have a wide range of options for leading your employees. Too many options, if any.
Before we get into the complexities of build an empire and how it plays out in the game, one of the things that caught my attention was the choice of character because at first glance you might think they are very few, but there is a good reason for that. In Old World, you don’t choose a leader who will last the entire game – you choose a dynasty. What I mean is that leaders are fatal and will die during the game, and your duty is to make sure you have a successor ready, otherwise it’s game over. The reason this mechanic is very original is that after a full and long life, leaders can die of old age or, on the contrary, can die abruptly in the heat of the moment, so prepare your ancestry for anything.
Upright a dynasty To survive the harsh realities of time, you need to manage marriage proposals and raise your children because at the end of the day you are sure to play as one of them at some point. Also, you must do all of this while creating a functioning society and maintaining diplomatic relations with rival civilizations, as in a typical 4X strategy. It goes without saying that doing all of this successfully is darn difficult and sometimes you will fail and have a hard time, especially when you are at war.
To the fights, there’s not much to say: it’s the typical strategy of a 4X. You create units with resources that are within the limits of your civilization and then you can move or upgrade each unit a certain distance each turn or use them to attack, but you can only make a limited number of moves per turn. The main differences in Old World are the forced actions you can take, such as: For example, move a unit further in one turn, but doing so is a waste of resources and usually doesn’t seem right for your people.
Yes, I realized that fighting has a problem that I have encountered a number of times in 4X strategy games and that is that you come across civilizations that have seemingly infinite troops. No matter how many resources you spend or how hard you work building your own army, they have more and more units and it becomes harder to justify participating in battles instead of just focusing on cities.
Regarding the Urban developmentInstead of pushing a button and having a new building in one of the boxes, Old World uses a district system that allows you to create a growing city. Instead of having everything in one place, you can choose where to build mines, barracks, forts, and even pastures. There are additional customization options that can help you make your nation and cities more productive, but it can be a little tricky to keep track of and you are wasting a lot of resources too.
The system of resources, for a change, is the typical 4X strategy. You can farm the land within your borders to help your cities develop, but when we consider building design it is more of an active generation system than a passive one. The main problem I found is that I had a very large abundance of one resource and very little another, but this is solved with a market system that uses the algorithms of the Offworld Trading Company and allows players to share resources to buy and sell if you want. It’s a very useful feature that doesn’t go unnoticed and makes Old World a little different.
At this point you may be wondering: How do you win at Old World? Well, the best way to do this is to start and complete Ambitions, which are long, dynamically generated challenges proposed to you by members of your dynasty. The thing is they take a lot of devotion and they go away soon after the person who suggested them dies and if you don’t move on there are negative repercussions. This system is also quite original and gives you a chance to win if you prefer to stay calm rather than shedding blood.
The other major part of the Old World that I haven’t mentioned yet is the system of the technology, and I’ve decided to avoid it until now, because maybe that’s what I don’t like about the title. Unlike Civilization or other 4X strategy games, you don’t have a technology tree to use to plan which direction to lead your dynasty in. Instead, there is a card-based system that, after researching a technology, lets you choose one of the four new ones to focus on. Needless to say, in a strategic game like this, there is already too much randomly generated content complicating things to have a random number based technology system. It’s over the top and takes control of the player.
But technology aside, Old World looks and works great. The title’s performance is fluid and fast. In addition, the user interface is designed in such a way that it is for the most part very easy to use, although there are so many options that one is often in the cockpit of a fighter plane. In any case, for a game that competes against Civilization and soon also has to contend with humanity, Old World is a 4X that offers enough reasons to choose it over the other available alternatives. Hard to say much more than what this title is enjoyed from start to finish.