Game Review - by SkaDaddy
Simcity meets Warcraft in this 17th century struggle for colonization. You must sail to a variety of islands and then set up camp. Once there, you'll have to build, mine, farm, and do all of the other things that we take for granted in this century. You must also set up trade routes to acquire items that your people can't produce. Of course, be on the lookout for others that want to take over what you worked so hard to build. Be ready to defend your colony and its people.
The year - 1602. Your future is uncertain. Cities are overcrowded. Poverty and starvation are rampant. You and a small band of fellow voyagers set sail for a new life and the New World. Welcome to the ranks of explorers and pioneers. Strategy, colonization, diplomacy, production, trade, warfare, and real-time strategy brought into a whole New World.
This game is unlike any other in its type of strategy and simulation. It really is the building of Simcity with the conquest of Warcraft. To be successful in this game, you must be able to: explore the islands, build your colony, defend your islands, fight on land, fight on sea, develop and expand your colony, create trade routes, and stay at peace with your neighbors. The tutorials help you learn all of those skills by showing you where to click with big, colorful arrows. In a few easy lessons you are ready to go out on your own and colonize the New World. That world consists of hundreds and hundreds of randomly and always changing islands that you can explore, build on, and take over. Some contain mountains, while others have only deer inhabited forest. Because of the nature of them, you won't be able to visit them all. If you think you did, however, then you'll have to take advantage of one of the cooler features of this game: the scenario editor. You start from scratch and build your islands and their resources and/or inhabitants. This allows you to never get bored with the included scenarios. In addition there is a multiplayer mode for LAN or modem play.
The many options didn't take too long to get used to. You can do so much that it seems overwhelming at first. Simply go one step at a time and build what you can and what you need. The only problem I have is that you can't easily adjust some of the options. You can't change the scroll speed and you can't incrementally change the game speed. It's either normal or 4X. The land battle controls are nice because you can set up formations or sort by type of soldier. Say you want to send in the cavalry first (which is what the tutorial wants you to do) and then send in the infantry in a side-by-side wall, it's real easy to do. This is better than Warcraft because the troops are somewhat intelligent. There isn't too much battle however, if you do your diplomacy job right. Sometimes, however, rivals just attack. Be sure you know how to defend yourself.
Before you defend yourself, you'll have to build something to defend. You must build everything that a 17th century colony would need. Also, you must build them in a certain way. For each building there is an area of service. The sheep farm's service area for instance should be mostly grass. The sheep farm should be in the weaver's hut's service area, but the weaver's hut shouldn't be in the sheep farm's area. If that's confusing here's another example: You can only build things in the warehouse's (the main building) service area. If you build a etplace on the outskirts of the warehouse's area, then you can build stuff in the etplace's area. This extends your usable land. It is somewhat confusing but the tutorial helps to explain a lot.
The graphics on this game are horrible. It might have something to do with its inability to run the right resolution with the right video drivers. As it stands, it looks bad on my Voodoo3 3500. There were a few interesting visuals. For instance, when I built my hunting lodge, the little man inside went right out, shot a deer, threw it on his back, and then went back inside. In addition, there are many nice videos that are slightly grainy but overall entertaining. In addition, you can select which events you want to have videos with. I know graphics are unimportant in games such as this, but after so many 3D accelerated games, it's hard to look at.
The opening of this game had pretty cheesy music. It was good quality along with the sound effects and voiceovers, but it was still annoying. Once in the game, you can choose from several classical music pieces. Also, you have full control of sound volumes and sounds for specific events. Say you don't want to hear a warning when a battle has begun. Simply uncheck that option.
This is a very in-depth game with many things to do and keep track of. If you want more than just a chess-like strategy game, then this is the one for you. I keep describing it as Simcity combined with a little Warcraft, but I can't think of a better way to describe it. If you liked Simcity and want to try it in the 1600's, then get this game.