The Settlers VI: Rise of an Empire
The preview version contained some bugs and other annoying elements. The game has been improved after that, but is it enough?
You are king (or queen) of a thriving kingdom, but Viking attacks disturb the peace. They are being incited by the ‘Red Prince’ and his minions. There is nothing left to do but send colonists, accompanied by a faithful knight, to discover the source of all problems and find allies in the quest against the Red Prince.
There are six different knights, each with their specific capabilities. This allows you to choose the knight with the best attributes depending on the nature of the mission. The chosen knight can be promoted and in that way unlock more possibilities, but also means more needs for the settlers.
Resources (wildlife, fish, stone, iron, …) are collected or produced and then brought to a warehouse. Shopkeepers collect those resources to create their own products which they offer for sale in their shops. Each building can be upgraded twice, causing the production rate to increase, while lowering the costs. It comes in handy that those upgrades don’t take more place, because they are built vertically. Another way of improving the production rate is making sure that your settlers find wives by holding big parties at the market place.
However, the warehouse is quickly full. It can be improved too, but after that you have got a problem, because it is not possible to build a second one. A possible solution is to sell some goods to trading partners if you have them. The production can also be stopped if you can find the right button to do it (it is hidden quite well). Still, you will have to keep an eye out, as all supplies run low fast.
During the game you will encounter other players with who you can sign treaties or wage war against. For that you can train archers and swordsmen and build some siege weapons or traps and walls for defence. To destroy such walls you really need siege weapons, for other buildings the torches of your soldiers are enough (though slower).
Keep in mind that soldiers have a limited stock of torches with them, if it runs out, they will have to be resupplied at your castle or at an outpost. By that time the dealt damage has been repaired. Your soldiers cannot attack settlers, so it is not possible to avoid that buildings are repaired, they have to be repaired in one try. Siege weapons too have limited ammo.
To annex a hostile territory, you just have to destroy the outpost. Once that has happened all the other enemy buildings will collapse. Nice if that is your objective, but not so nice if you could have used those buildings for your own purposes. To conquer a main territory you first have to beat your opponent by destroying one of the main buildings (church, warehouse or castle) or occupy their market place with a great deal of soldiers.
The difficulty is in no possible way (economical, military, …) high. This makes this game somewhat simplistic and shallow. The game also imposes you a lot of limits, depending on your progress or just because of the mission. That means quite some frustration arises now and then. Furthermore your colony has a reputation, which increases with certain activities (mass, feast, lots of goods, …) and of course it can also crash, causing you to lose the game.
Graphically Settlers 6 is very nice. Details like the four seasons, reflections, shadows, pets and more have been implanted very well. Music and sound are good too, they fit the game and the problems of the preview version do not resurface.
If you are looking for a challenge, Settlers 6 is not the game you need. If you feel like trying a city building game, go ahead