We have played a preview version of The Settlers -apkrig

At Gamescom in 2018, Ubisoft announced the return of the Settlers strategy. The series, which dates back to the legendary Age of Empires, was born in 1993 and has almost always retained its original specifics. These include, in particular, the need to expand their territory, the system of paths, a bit of magic and a not very convincing duel compared to the economic part. However, we were able to try all this for the last time in the area of ​​a full-fledged sequel in 2010 with the seventh volume, which the upcoming novelty from the Blue Byte studio was to follow up shortly after its unveiling. For over three years, however, the developers did not make themselves known so much that they would please us at the beginning of the new year with the information that the release is literally around the corner. The new Settlers will arrive on March 17, and thanks to the preview version – which will be followed by a closed beta on January 20 – I was finally able to start playing and start finding out which direction this unnumbered restart actually went.

What happened to the developers

If you first ask what has happened to the game in recent years, that fans have begun to doubt it and even call it canceled, I have a statement by development manager Nadim Affani, with whom I could talk about the game before I played. . Affani sees nothing explicitly critical behind the silence of the developers from the Ubisoft Blue Byte studio – which brings together branches in Düsseldorf, Mainz and Berlin. However, he confirms that his team gradually reworked the mechanisms that did not seem good enough in the final, which logically took some extra time. “We realized that the game would only benefit if we took advantage of the extra time and focused on gradually improving all the elements on which the strategy is based,” Affani explained. In our interview, however, he further indicated that the level of intervention may have been a little greater than that it could be described by the word improvement, and it is possible that the development was restarted. “We weighed all the elements that were implemented in the version at the time, decided which ones would remain, and went back to the drawing boards to do better,” Affani said literally.

Regardless, the new iteration returns spiritually and practically to the third and fourth works, which he takes as a model. According to the developers, there will be a natural connection between the old and the new, and the game will have the potential to appeal to both veterans and newcomers. Although it always sounds like a cliché, I have to admit that even when playing the latest version, you won’t have a problem identifying what the game is and it’s definitely nice to see how much the specifics of the titles in one genre can differ. Especially when you start comparing, for example, with the Anno series, which is being prepared by another of the teams in Blue Byte. You don’t have to worry too much about any shortcuts at Settlers – this is a very distinctive game, created with the support of the Snowdrop engine on a green field, and despite its shortcomings and some unusuals, it goes its own way. “The game will serve as a great gateway for those who do not know the series and will not unnecessarily confuse the veterans who spent their childhood with it,” Affani summed up the definition of the game before I could dive into it.

Different nations, similar gameplay

The full version will feature three factions – Elari, Maru and Jorn – which will bring together a vaguely sketched story about the need to leave their homeland and move to a new country. They all differ in various bonuses, production costs or specific buildings, which multiplies the possibility of finding the ideal style that could suit anyone. Representatives of the first two mentioned nations were available in the preview version – Elari focused more on production and Maru a little more on combat. But I honestly have to say that I haven’t found too many differences in the available skirmish yet and it would be necessary to spend more time with the game, or to experience the rest of the content, so that it is possible to say clearly how decisive those differences are. At the moment, it’s just a different price for a handful of buildings, which doesn’t have much of an impact on how you’d like to play for Elari or Mara, and it’s a question of whether anything will change or add to the finals. For both nations, however, you have to be patient and have a relatively clear plan to spend the initial seconds and minutes, because the production chains are very long in the new Settlers, and if you don’t pay attention to something early enough, you don’t have to get to the raw materials in time. .

You have to keep in mind that the game does not share supplies in the individual warehouses and that everything must be directly connected to the road network so that automatic transport with the help of the villagers can take place.

This time, too, everything stands for the expansion of your territory, which is marked on the borders by iconic bollards. Because you can directly control the engineers, you can very effectively start pushing the boundaries, which your opponent naturally strives for, and it usually doesn’t take too long for you to get stuck at a critical point. It thus becomes close to inexhaustible sources of stone, gold, coal or iron, which are the most important commodities for your development, and taking into account other mechanisms, tough battles are fought for them. However, you must also keep in mind that the game does not share supplies in individual warehouses and that everything must be directly connected to the road network so that automatic transport with the help of the villagers can take place. This makes the roads, especially in the beginning, becoming dangerous places where you and your opponent can capture caravans of carriers and thus disrupt a large part of the entire economy with the help of a handful of soldiers. It’s a little mean and the strategy doesn’t work indefinitely, but as a player you still remain in a slight tension due to the need to control not only production or combat, but also safety on the most important arteries.

Long production chains

It is then quite natural that instead of the sources of the main raw materials, other branches of the center of your empire grow, until they gradually grow into self-sufficient units, which no longer need to be optimized on a global but only local scale. Unfortunately, the artificial intelligence of the villagers, who often run for raw materials to a completely different warehouse than the one closest to them, is not much affected at the moment, which can be affected by congestion for the transfer of raw materials to another building or simply confused and unfinished game optimization. But this is, of course, something that may not appear in the full version, and I firmly believe that it will not even appear. Something you can’t directly control – since the villagers, unlike the engineers and the army, are completely autonomous – costs all the gameplay, and it would be a great pity if the developers didn’t give the game more care in this regard. This also applies to the labels of individual buildings, which in the construction menu will indicate what they can produce, but will not acquaint you with what raw materials you will need for this.

This naturally returns us to the production chains, which are very protracted, but unlike, for example, the above-mentioned Anno game, you can see them at the end. Just for example – in order to produce a soldier with a sword, you first need a coal mine and an iron mine. I forget that you usually have to find the bearings with the help of engineers and not always in an area that could be described as safe, let alone yours. So you have to move the boundaries, build the road, move all the raw materials, move the engineers who are the only ones who can actually build the buildings, and that doesn’t end there either. When you mine iron and coal, you first need to make steel out of them, for which you need another building, and then you have a forge waiting to make a sword. Of course, you deal with enemy raids, engineers dying, resending or recruiting, declining free population, expanding the city on the other side of the world and many other elements of micromanagement that can overwhelm you relatively quickly. However, the path to the production of the infantryman is almost over, so all that is needed is the barracks, to which the consignee himself brings a sword from the warehouse and gradually learns to handle it.

Not everything has worked so far

Unfortunately, the game does not yet provide detailed enough descriptions, so the first few games were in my submission about trial and error testing, but on the other hand, Settlers will not be a particularly challenging game that should bother players completely and you can still enjoy detailed graphics for quite some time. . The Settlers may not offend anyone in this regard, although I admit that I do not remain completely unqualified in this regard either. Of course, I remind you again that I played the unfinished version and some details may vary, but the visual style is set and with it, for example, the degree of animation or processing of various effects, which, for example, overlap events on the screen and make the game confusing at critical moments. In this respect, it is clear that the developers have invested primarily in the processing of the whole, especially considering that the maps are relatively large and your empire can grow very quickly.

Closed beta is approaching

If you want to play a closed beta, write down the date of January 20, when it starts for four days. But in order to immerse yourself in your own gameplay, you must register on the official website and be naturally lucky to have the developers choose you. This will probably be the last opportunity before the release to try the game, the full version will arrive on March 17.

However, nice details, such as various ruins or places that you can occupy with the help of engineers and, by bringing the appropriate raw materials, activate the reward, are not left out either. This is usually other raw materials or items, the production of which is time consuming, but during the preview version there was never a moment if one such point on the map reversed the fate of the whole game. They do not include the camps of the bandits, which are to serve as proof that you and your opponent are not on the map, because they are not leaving their camp and are just waiting for you to reach it so that the battle can take place. It’s hard to say how developers will approach them in the future, but since the preview version doesn’t even offer the ability to determine the difficulty of the game against artificial intelligence, changes are likely to come in this area as well. Apart from these matters – although sometimes relatively important – I do not have much reproach, and in combination with the musical accompaniment, sounds and a slightly different approach than other strategies, I like the new Settlers.

Of course, the full version will also be available in the full version, which, according to game director Nadim Affani, should not only serve as a tutorial and will allegedly directly test your skills. Skirmish and multiplayer in general will then be available to up to eight players in 4v4 matches and there is a plethora of maps based on three main biomes – greenery, desert and islands. The developers have also promised to include the Onslaught mode, which is another name for a game set according to their own rules, and there is also a cosmetic modification of the appearance of some elements, such as buildings or various emblems. But as Affani has confirmed to us, nothing will function as a pay to win element, and at least For the time being, The Settlers will not be associated with any form of NFT, even if Ubisoft focuses on them. If you are interested in the first impressions of the game, I would like to remind you of the upcoming bet – it will start on January 20, run for four days and you can sign up for it on the official website. The game will then arrive on March 17 on the PC and no console version is expected yet.

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