Old World shakes and much more deeply than I imagined
Ah, civilization. The game I played more than any other. Through the many iterations of the venerable strategy game, I played thousands of hours. Play these games enough, and you start seeing them for what they really are. You can fill your game with fancy graphics, but below you have a fantasy board game filled with tables and spreadsheets. It s not glamorous. It s 4x. So what do you get when you remove all the artifice, and you find yourself with good ideas? You get a game like Old World.
Mohawk Games s new strategy game gives the impression that it has emerged overnight, but it s actually in preparation for some time. The development is directed by Sore Johnson, the main designer of Civilization IV and Off world Trading Company. And this game is a dead ring for Civilization V. The way the borders cross the hexes. The clouds that are slowly banned by your scouts. If I did not know better, I would have guessed it was a kind of piracy by fans for CIV.
It is partly due to the fact that this construction of the old world is very early. The game makes its debut in Early Access soon, but for the moment it is filled with reserved space text and missing items. Animations are not what they will be. The great moments are welcomed with the word heel. This game has a long way to go. I do not mention it by derision, but to emphasize that it is not yet a show game, it s a game of ideas.
So, what are these great ideas? At the highest conceptual level, Old World is a 4x strategy game that is inspired not only of CIV but Crusader Kings. You are not an immortal leader, you play a dynasty. Start as King Phillip of Macedonia and you will end up taking control of Alexander, and after that, you may change the story and will have the father conquering some heirs. In order to support this dynastic style, the game does not try to cover the scope of human history, but rather the time to which it refers in the title. The old world. Currently, it means leaders and civilizations from the Mediterranean region to the beginning of the first millennium of the common era. Greece, a first version of Rome, Egypt, Assyria, Persian, Babylon. These are the nations you can direct.
But the other innovations are even more granular. When you search for a new technology, you draw a handful of options where to go then — you can not choose to search anything. If you want more control, you can learn capabilities (or hire advisers) that allow you to redraw your hand. Scouts can claim unclaimed resources, which gives you a quick and fast bonus to growth. Since these types of games always start by ordering scouts around the map, this mechanic gives you a very appreciated direction.
Of all new ideas however, the most important is the control system. In most 4x strategy games, units have a number of actions per turn. Maybe they can move two spaces and build a building, or move and attack, or something else. In Old World, you have a universal pool of commands to spend. This is probably much more than what you need, so you can use your orders to launch builders on projects, reposition your armed forces or send a scout very far. If you say a unit to do too much, it will end up damage, but this system allows you to go further or deeper. I was delighted whenever I remembered that I could send my colon in a forced walk to claim a city before a rival can get a key place.
So that s the facts. But is it ok? Is Old World enough to hold the attention of a 4x drug addict like me? The answer is yes, but I want more. I want more than anything. In just a few games, I often repeated the same events, but I also continued to meet things I had never seen before. The artistic style is wonderful, but textures still require a lot of work. The buildings are enormous and in blocks, and do not seem well in cities. I am eager that this game is what I know it can be.
This greed does not come from a place where it looks like the most expensive 4x game ever created. No, the value is something bigger. It s a genre dominated by a giant franchise. But there is room for change and growth. 4x means exploring, expand, exploit and exterminate. Old World reminds me that there is plenty of room for these things to happen in the genre. This is a game exploring new mechanics and expanding what can be a tour strategy game per turn. He exploits a complacency in the genre. I do not think it s sufficient to exterminate competition, but sometimes the rising tide raises all ships. And talking about that, I just learned how to build Bremen, so I have to start finding new lands to conquer. Old World will be available in advance access on Epic Games Store on May 5, 2020.