This is my review for Feudalism. A turn based strategy game designed by Imagimotion/IV Productions and published by Merge Games. The game much like other TBS games has no story as such but rather the story lies within your relationships with other factions.
The aim of the game is I assume, to become the most powerful player on the board. I say assume because I haven’t actually been told, more on that later. The game plays in many ways like a typical TBS; the board is made up of tiles, units and buildings come from settlements, technologies can be researched, diplomacy and espionage functions between factions and such.
I would say the biggest drawback for this game is how much effort you need to put in as to figuring out exactly how you play the game. In fact many of the good features that this game possesses are overshadowed by Feudalism’s lack of ability to demonstrate how they work. Take for example the combat system which has some good ideas with army groupings in particular but is completely glossed over in the tutorial with no mention on how it works or even whether it is present in the game. Another fault to the tutorial is that when pointing to something specific it blacks the rest of the screen out, which is frustrating because I can’t remember where these buttons are because all I remember is a blacked out screen! However again the game isn’t without it’s good points, the amount of sheer information given to you is amazing and the amount of options you have for filtering/processing said information is incredible. Sadly much of this has to be done manually and considering the huge scope that the game can cover this can be troubling as one turn could last a very long time as you must go through all your regions one by one searching for idle units and tasking them, queuing up production and doing things that in a large game you would much prefer to automate. Simply put Feudalism is a large game with small game features. One of the things lacking in this game by far is balance. Resource balance in particular, and also a glaring combat advantage to any competent defender. Resources are in abundance and nobody goes in need of want. With the abundance of resources and limitless ability to found new villages it wouldn’t surprise me if you could win by simply placing a village on every tile in your region and build huge armies to camp out the gates and bam you have a powerhouse that will easily lead you to rush for a victory. The technology tree is more of a list than a tree really. Although I do like the ability to distribute points between different techs to research simultaneously, giving a choice between researching everything slowly, focusing on a few key techs or rushing for one super important tech.
Graphically I would say the regions/boards looks pretty nice, the background to the boards however are extremely ugly. The walled in greenery of the playing field is negatively contrasted by the undetailed sea of brown that lies behind it. It’s the sort of terrain you’d see in Skyrim when you move out of bounds on your way to Cyrodiil or something. Not to mention it really adds nothing to the game, it’s there just because leaving it black would be unprofessional. What’s wrong with some fog of war? Clouds? Clouds would look nice, give it a sort of Mount Olympus feel. The UI is very barebones. It functions but that’s it, apart from the logbook there is no discernable detail to it. The sounds themselves have nothing wrong with them, they compliment the game and actions fairly well and the menu music is very fun to listen to. However it does contain a glaringly large flaw in that the music cannot be muted. Basic audio options, the player should be able to adjust all the different sounds to their preference. If I want notifications really loud and music soft I should be able to do that. If I want everything maxed except voice acting I should be able to do that. If I want to mute the music so I can blast Metallica from my Spotify (which I often do in these games) I should be able to do it! It is here with graphics and audio I would also like to look at technical side of the game, specifically the system requirements which I am a little confused about, as either this game is grossly unoptimized or very little thought was put into the system requirement recommendations. This game suggests for recommended a GTX 750 GPU and 2.8GHz of i7 CPU. Now in comparison, Civilization 5, another TBS far bigger with more detailed graphics and much more to process on screen recommends any nVidia card with half as much VRAM and a quad core 1.8GHz CPU. What this is trying to tell me is that I can run Civilization 5 on my 3 year old laptop, but I need to use my mid range gaming PC (which oddly enough is running the very same card this game suggests albeit with a faster CPU) in order to run this game… Hmmm…
Overall I’m not too impressed with this game. I would round it up as a key example of an over ambitious game with some good ideas behind it that were poorly executed. I wouldn’t recommend this game to you, there are plenty of other TBS games on the market. If you are so inclined to buy this game I would wait until it is on sale as £10 is not a price reflective of the quality of the content.
I score this game a 3/10. Although it has a select few good concepts, gameplay is tedious and unbalanced and the game is graphically mediocre and unnecessarily taxing on hardware.