Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom
It’s been a while since the first Settlers game saw the light. It was an immediate hit and sequels quickly spawned. After four years the series went down the drain a bit, mostly due to some changes to the concept and the graphics becoming more serious. With Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom Ubisoft seems to have heard our pleas and created a new giant of an RTS.
Before we start praising this game we want to spill the beans on a very annoying element. Eventhough we’re seeing it more and more, the DRM system immediately got on our nerves. You first have to register, log in, then wait a couple of seconds before the game is ready to start up, and so on. Also you can’t play if Ubisoft is having problems, something that may not bother too much at first, but after a while it certainly becomes extremely annoying!
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s have a look at the positive things of this heart-warming game. You take on the role of the redheaded princess Zoé who wants nothing more than to become queen of Tandria and is asked by her dad to take out his rivals. If she manages to get that done, she’ll get the throne as a reward. The tough owner of the Cripple Swine bad, Bors, is at your side throughout the story and will be ready all the time to give Zoé tips but usually things come down to just kicking everyone’s ass.
The first missions are a tutorial in which Bors explains how everything works. It’s very clear and step by step you’re introduced to Settlers 7. It may be a bit slow for some, but it does do a good job in refreshing your memory. As you progress in the missions, the game becomes more extensive and all innovations and new features are nicely brought to your attention. If you do run into some problems with a certain subject, you can always ask for a mentor which is another player with more experience and thanks to the permanent internet connection you can ask one for help. The good thing about this is that you’re always in contact with someone who speaks your own language and after four missions you’re finally ready to get to the real work with all functions available.
Ubisoft clearly wants to go back to the roots with Settlers 7. Everything is shown in a cartoony style and the beautiful graphics and vivid colors immediately bring you in the right mood. If you zoom in enough, it’s almost like you’re walking in an RPG world with your character. The worker’s houses of course are all animated but in a rather clumsy way which brings back the feeling of fun we had with the original games. Your settlers are also very often fatties that walk around like penguins and plenty of fun elements from the past return.
After three missions you encounter the victory points system. You don’t only need to conquer as much areas as possible, but you can also achieve victory by fulfilling missions. For winning you need to collect a certain amount of points which can go from collecting as much money as possible or making the biggest army, to delivering a nice piece of meat to the wolf in the enchanted village and so on. When one of your opponents is nearing his goal, you’ll get only a couple of minutes to turn the tide, something that makes the game very challenging as you need to think what is most convenient for you, how your opponent will react, act fast, etc.
The controls are very good and you’ll have no problem getting used to working with the map, the compass or hud. We can conclude that Ubisoft clearly succeeded in their goal by taking plenty of elements from the original games and putting them in a new and improved jacket.
Of course a multiplayer mode is also present and there you can play individually or in team against others. A nice extra to check out when you’ve finished the singleplayer.
Finally we also want to mention that there are certain achievements to be won which you can show off on Facebook and coints that can be earned when succesfully completing missions and these can be used to buy some nice stuff to adjust your castle with. Also Ubisoft is gathering all kinds of stats from your games and you can check them out and compare your progress with other players on Ubisioft’s website.
Settlers 7 guarantees many hours of fun and excitement. If you’re a fan of the series then this is certainly a must-have. And if you haven’t played a Settlers game before, then this is no doubt a good start.