Try your patience
Age Of Wonders marries two turn-based strategy genres to create a love child that is surprisingly fun to play if you are willing to spare the time
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Developer: Triumph Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platform: PC, PS4, XBO
Price: PC: Rs 1,099; PS4/XBOX: Rs 2,900
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a turn-based strategy game that falls under the 4X genre—explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. The goal is simple, be the last man standing on a huge map or complete the objectives first to win.
A great example of this genre is Sid Meier’s Civilization. Like Civilization, AOW has a map where your hero/troops can explore and claim territories. However, get into a skirmish and the game takes you into a turn-based third person combat scenario similar to X-Com.
Though it is heavily influenced by both Civilization and X-Com, AOW Planetfall manages to hold its own and keep things fresh by bringing in some key differentiating factors. Starting with the factions, the game has six different types that are both unique and weird in a fun way. Unlike most games where factions just look different and play pretty much the same, this game makes the effort to create distinct play types for each of its faction. Even the design behind each faction is distinct and well thought out. You might want to start with the Vanguard; it is by far the simplest faction to learn, as it features typical human soldiers that use human tactics.
The story mode is also good; it lets you explore and learn the game through a bunch of pre-made maps. The levels can take time to finish especially if you are the sort of person that likes to micro manage and be diplomatic. If that is not enough, you have to make sure you are paying attention to your townships as well—everyone needs to be happy and motivated if you want to have any kind of success.
As mentioned combat is very different for every faction, hence, strategies that apply for one will not work for the other. What is common is the way you upgrade your troops, with better equipment, loadout and experience. However, the jump-in ability doesn’t seem to match the effort to get there. While the game features X-Com-style third person turn-based combat, it also features a way to avoid going through every combat scenario physically. So, you can just auto-battle especially when the foe is underpowered. This saves a lot of time, but you might want to avoid this when an enemy is similarly powered or has higher combat ability, because you will need human ingenuity to win in that scenario. Also, try to keep the morale of your troops as high as possible. Combat ability is severely gimped when morale is low.
The maps in AOW are seriously beautiful, they look good, have a lot of point of interest and each one is peppered with rogue troops that you can assimilate accompanied by little quests you can do to gain an upper hand. Except for the tutorial/story-mode maps, all maps in the game are procedurally generated, which means no two maps will be the same. This brings up interesting possibilities every time you play a new game.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a wonderfully complicated game that simplifies playing and tries to save you time wherever possible. However, it isn’t for people lacking patience. Things take time and while you can sometimes force yourself ahead, it isn’t always the best strategy. Jump on this if you like Civilization or X-Com or both; this unholy love child is the best of both those games. For the price AOW Planetfall is an excellent choice for strategy junkies on PC, it is a little pricy on the consoles though. Just make sure you have days, maybe weeks to finish it all.
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