Name: Aggressors: Ancient Rome
Developer: Kubat Software
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd.
Reviewed on: PC
Release Date: 30.08.2018
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from a publisher for review purpose
As I had already written one review, my boss figured I could do another. Before giving him an answer I went online to see what this game was all about, and as this review proves, I couldn’t say no after that. The game looked right up my alley, and boy was I right!
The story itself is pretty basic, as this is a 4X game. You start out in year 282 BC, Rome have gained control over most of Italy and figured they’d help out another faction by going to war with them. Because of this, they violated the fragile balance of power of the time. Peace is shattered and an all-out war commence. This is where the game starts, and believe me when I say, war is real. Your goal is to complete one of many Victory conditions (or more, as you can continue the play for total domination). You may win by seizing enough territories and cities, building a huge army (and by that I mean HUGE), by investing in research, discoveries and innovations, by making your civilization the most developed one in the world, and ultimately you can get the overall victory by eliminating every other faction. You complete all of these through diplomacy, going to war, exploring and researching. So, the story is pretty standard, but at the same time, it’s what I at least would want from a game like this
For a game like this, the graphics are great. They’re not realistic like so many games go for these days, but a well detailed cartoon version of the world. You have the choice between playing in 3D or 2D (all changeable by pressing TAB). The difference is basically that in 3D you look down at the world and your soldiers/cities from a birdeye perspective, whereas in 2D you get the feeling of moving pieces on a strategic war map. Personally, I loved the 3D aspect the most. The map you play in the default version is both very well detailed and as far as my geographic knowledge goes (not very far though), the map looks geographically correct. Overall the graphics are soothing to the eye, the continent is detailed with forests, swamps, barren land, mountains and more. The things you build are easy to spot and looks good, with each building and unit having its distinct models. The soundtrack of the game is also a good fit as the music keeps with the flow of the game. As it sends your mind back in time while keeping a fast phase, the music helps you keep focus on the task at hand. If you’re close to the shorelines you can hear the waves crashing against land, birds are chirping in the background and of course, your soldiers rack up a good marching sound. All in all, for my own part at least, the graphics and soundtracks hit home in a good way.
In your first playthrough, choosing the Roman Republic, Carthage or Ptolemaic Empire would be the best option, although you can choose any of the in-game factions. These are all bigger factions with an easier difficulty as well as a good and thorough tutorial. You might be like me, thinking you don’t need a tutorial, jumping straight into a faction like Sparta, but let me save you the time. Unless you’re a monster at these games, you’ll find yourself restarting and starting up one of the three tutorial factions pretty soon. Once you’ve picked your faction you can change the difficulty from Noob, and through seven different difficulties up to Legendary. You can also set the starting difficulty of all AI factions if you like them to have it easier (Medium – Legendary are their standards depending on the size of faction). You can change the Game speed, making your research and building faster or slower, and you can change your game options, choosing if morale, loyalty, random events and such will affect you or not.
After you’ve done all this, you find yourself in the Mediterranean, ready for anything. Get your settler, it’s time to build roads and farms! Roads make it easier to transport resources from farms and mines, and to the city, making your gain per turn go up. There’s four kinds of mines, Gold, Iron, Stone and Coal, all needed to prosper. These mines can’t be built, but as you take over land (unless you start with them at least), the mines will be there automatically starting to give you their resources unless you’ve taken them from another faction by force. If that’s the case, you need to repair them first. Other than minerals, you also have food, which is important to keep your troops well fed (duh). Knowledge is gained from your cities. The bigger the city, the bigger the yield. Same goes for your Influence. Lastly, you have citizens and their happiness, how the citizen’s resource worked, was sort of new for me. Your cities start rebelling if you spend too many of them too fast, as there are not enough people left to keep the cities up. Early on you spend this resource way faster than you get them, so be alert.
When you feel you’ve managed to stabilize and build a small army, you can start your offensive. Battles are fought automatically, and your built units work singular like in games such as Civilization, not in a grand army like the Total War series. Personally, I love both. Each unit has their morale, a set amount of soldiers and even a morale boost against some factions (and of course a negative boost against others). Fights will somewhat be RNG, while still keeping track of all the stats for both units fighting. You can also have an advantage or disadvantage depending on the terrain on your tile versus the tile your enemy is on. To get more of an advantage, you can also train your soldiers for a small fee in any city. The things they can learn are unlocked in the resource tree and might give you the edge you need. Just know that so can the enemies. Territory in itself is captured simply by walking onto an unowned/enemy tile with a military unit.
Even tho I am a warmonger in games like this, the diplomatic part of this game was on par. Trade routes are important, getting some Brother-in-Arms can help you push wars in your favor, and at some point, you might even be able to join a confederation where you control the foreign policy of both factions, and later on a federation, where you take over the other factions territories in a peaceful manner.
All of this being said tho, the other factions will not make it easy for you. I had some struggles even on the easier difficulties when choosing one of the lesser factions (the factions where you do not get a tutorial. They have a harder difficulty from start). I had a good laugh at one point though, when another faction started attacking my cities, far from any military unit, and then the next turn the unit joined my faction because of exhaustion and starvation.
Well, this is a 4X turn-based strategy game. The controls are pretty simple. Mostly you can do everything by just a click with your cursor. All the options in the game, from next unit, center screen to unit/city and skip unit, to options like objectives, building list, end turn and so forth all have keybinds to them, making the gameplay a bit smoother. You get tiles for where your units can go and then you click on where you want them, before they start their march to that tile. Basically, the controls are just what you need them to be for a game like this.
There are other ways to play than just the Mediterranean map. Once you’ve done a run or two through the standard campaign, maybe even on harder difficulties if you like a proper challenge, you might feel like that’s that for this game. But wait, what’s all these other options in the main menu? Well, from new game, you can choose customized world, where you can customize your own map by choosing size, resources, the start technology and so on, or you can choose the option for custom scenario, which basically gives you a blank sheet in a map editor, and you can just make your very own perfect map. In addition to this, you can upload save files from your games so others can play from that point on, or download other peoples save files. You can upload/download custom scenarios so there’s still plenty to do! There are even mods you can get from the Steam Workshop. As long as you’re not tired of turn-based strategy, there’s no reason not to go for another challenge in this game.
Replay Value 10
Aggressors: Ancient Rome is a great indie game in the 4X genre and it really deserves a go if you like turn-based strategy. The graphics are solid, the soundtrack keeps you interested and focused, the different difficulties can give you a solid headache if you like a challenge. If you’re new to the genre, I’d say this is a good place to start as well, as the tutorial give you the ropes you need, and the lowest couple difficulties work great as a stepping stone into the world of strategy. I’ve racked up a bunch of hours in an otherwise hectic daily life, and I’ll continue to do so for a good while to come.
User Review( votes)
- Soothing graphics with good detail
- A soundtrack that works well with the game
- A difficulty setting for everyone
- A good sense of accomplishment when you rule the world!
- Most factions have a rough early game
- There’s no Norsemen! (It’s dated before scandinavia truly got populated though, so understandable)