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Default Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Review @ Gamesxtreme

August 24th, 2019, 10:46
Gamesxtreme has reviewed Age of Wonders: Planetfall:

Age of Wonders: Planetfall Review

Age of Wonders

I've always sat and watched the Age of Wonders games carefully, eyeing them on various Youtube playlists and channels. I never really felt the urge to jump into an AoW game until now. I got the chance to get a code from PR for Age of Wonders: Planetfall and I have to say, right now, this is one of the best strategy games I've played on my Xbox One since Stellaris.

I'm a bit of an armchair ruler to be honest, and whilst some of the systems often go over my head in many of these games - and they always did on PC. Often, these strategy games are presented as so-much obscure gameplay mechanics, with little or no help for a new player, and oft appear as opaque as smoky coloured glass.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall isn't like this, and it's hugely accessible for a first timer like me from the get go.

I really appreciate this in a game as deep as this one.

[…]

Must Buy
AoW Planetfall is a fantastic entry to the 4X genre. It is the perfect jump-in point for new fans to the series or the genre. It is packed with replay value and has a fantastic soundtrack which is worthy of the best video game OSTs of this year so far. Hugely fun, extremely accessible and loaded with tactical options. I cannot recommend this game enough.
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August 24th, 2019, 18:54
Played campaign for 21h now, and till now it's still quite boring.

Ofc it really depends on what your expectations are. I hope to get a 4X game with some HOMM gameplay mixed in. But at least up to the point I am at it's mostly HOMM and some 4X elements used to garnish it.

Playing on highest difficulty and it feels like the game plays on it's own. In the campaign lots of stuff is time triggered or triggered on visiting locations and what not.

What you actually do with your city, how you expand and what you research really doesn't matter (yet).
Speaking of research that one also feels as uninteresting as it can get. While science fiction always has a harder stand than a historical scenario as everyone knows what benefits a "bow" or "wheel" brings, the trees feel just unintersting as the benefits are so slim. So it's more like "whats the least bad technology I can research now" instead of "I really want to get this cool new technology next!".
If you are more into story it might be more interesting as there are tons of story events on each maps and there are even consequences which seem to carry over into other maps.

But for me…I still wait and hope that it becomes more interesting, but from the first 21h of the campaign (tutorial and first two levels) I have to say that I am really bored.
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August 24th, 2019, 19:48
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Played campaign for 21h now, and till now it's still quite boring.

Ofc it really depends on what your expectations are. I hope to get a 4X game with some HOMM gameplay mixed in. But at least up to the point I am at it's mostly HOMM and some 4X elements used to garnish it.

Playing on highest difficulty and it feels like the game plays on it's own. In the campaign lots of stuff is time triggered or triggered on visiting locations and what not.

What you actually do with your city, how you expand and what you research really doesn't matter (yet).
Speaking of research that one also feels as uninteresting as it can get. While science fiction always has a harder stand than a historical scenario as everyone knows what benefits a "bow" or "wheel" brings, the trees feel just unintersting as the benefits are so slim. So it's more like "whats the least bad technology I can research now" instead of "I really want to get this cool new technology next!".
If you are more into story it might be more interesting as there are tons of story events on each maps and there are even consequences which seem to carry over into other maps.

But for me…I still wait and hope that it becomes more interesting, but from the first 21h of the campaign (tutorial and first two levels) I have to say that I am really bored.
I'm really sad to hear that but not surprised. I had high hopes for this game, thinking it might take the AoW formula and finally bring some deeper 4x gameplay to the great tactical combat portions of the game. I haven't played it yet but the videos I've watched kind of left me with a "meh" reaction.

Also, I wonder with this being under Paradox's banner if there's lots of DLC to come… maybe that'll help improve it at some point. I'll probably still buy it in a year or two when some of that DLC is out and hopefully the core game is discounted.
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August 24th, 2019, 20:54
Originally Posted by SSIGuy View Post
I'm really sad to hear that but not surprised. I had high hopes for this game, thinking it might take the AoW formula and finally bring some deeper 4x gameplay to the great tactical combat portions of the game. I haven't played it yet but the videos I've watched kind of left me with a "meh" reaction.

Also, I wonder with this being under Paradox's banner if there's lots of DLC to come… maybe that'll help improve it at some point. I'll probably still buy it in a year or two when some of that DLC is out and hopefully the core game is discounted.
Not sure if you were aware but DLCs and stuff were already announced.

Will be 40€
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August 24th, 2019, 23:10
Ha… well, I guess I'll pick this up sometime in early 2021.
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August 25th, 2019, 07:13
Sunk 66 hours between the tutorial and the campaign planets (I have 6 planets left). I'm familiar with the genre and I get better at the game with each play through.
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August 25th, 2019, 22:51
I suspect, based purely on a few weak observations and knowing both companies, it is a solid core of a game that will be pretty good once the planned DLC are all out…and maybe a hell of a lot better years later, if it sells well and they keep pumping them out.
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August 26th, 2019, 01:09
I like fantasy and I like Sci-Fi!

BUT! I find fantasy is so much better to put into strategy and RPGs. Guns take the fun out of combat lol! You get hit with a gun, and in real life you are generally out of the action. XCom was an exception IMO… but fantasy where you go boot to boot with your adversary, where magic is useful and interacts with the old technology! Harder to get Sci-fi "right"

Sci-fi is harder to do well than fantasy with RPGs IMO
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August 26th, 2019, 02:15
Originally Posted by Stahl33 View Post
I like fantasy and I like Sci-Fi!

BUT! I find fantasy is so much better to put into strategy and RPGs. Guns take the fun out of combat lol! You get hit with a gun, and in real life you are generally out of the action. XCom was an exception IMO… but fantasy where you go boot to boot with your adversary, where magic is useful and interacts with the old technology! Harder to get Sci-fi "right"

Sci-fi is harder to do well than fantasy with RPGs IMO
Yep, though, well age of wonders is also not an RPG really.

But there is two reasons which support that thesis for strategy and tactics games:
The one is that fantasy probably will have more relatable technologies to discover as it will be closer to medieval technologies. Or its some relatable magic stuff. Like a firebolt becoming a fireball.

The second thing is that tactical combat with positioning is also easier to do in fantasy. The 2-Action simplification you have in the new XCom which creates some annoyances in that game and also in other games using that system hardly exists if you only go melee. As you don't have the issue anymore with line of sight, how cover and hit chances work.
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August 26th, 2019, 09:35
I've been playing it since release and I can't say I agree with Kordanor, personally I'm having a blast. I think the setting is cool, and the different factions are while not EL level at least unique enough to make it interesting.

I can agree on the Homm thing though, it's more about finding unit/mod synergies than 4x. But I came to this after playing quite a lot of GC3 with all expansions, so the more easily accessible strategy layer feels kind of refreshing. I haven't clocked that many hours yet, perhaps in the 30's range which is nothing for a strategy title, but I currently have no problem seeing myself playing it for many hours more, and I'll gladly buy the expansions when they arrive as well.
Last edited by TomRon; August 26th, 2019 at 11:06.
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August 26th, 2019, 10:40
I agree. It has really grown on me. The different factions in particular, and how it's all tied together. At first glance, the factions seemed a bit similar (grunts, followed by a flying unit and then some heavy hitters at the highest tiers), but that's simply not the case. Each faction plays very differently once you get into it, and it's a lot of fun to explore different styles and combinations.

That being said: I'm not only manually fighting in the bigger fights, and auto resolving the rest. The game is huge, and will probably still take me 100 hours to complete, so I can understand people being somewhat bored if they're manually fighting every single fight or some such thing.
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August 26th, 2019, 11:09
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
That being said: I'm not only manually fighting in the bigger fights, and auto resolving the rest. The game is huge, and will probably still take me 100 hours to complete, so I can understand people being somewhat bored if they're manually fighting every single fight or some such thing.
Agreed, I usually only fight manually above "low risk" fights, the game would move at a snails pace otherwise.
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August 26th, 2019, 22:50
Yeah, and that's kind of the conflict I have with my playstyle. I always play hardest to actually get challenged, to try to maximize everything.

The moment when you "auto-resolve" the combat, it means that "actually it doesn't matter". Which is when the game loses me.
Pretty much the same reason why I dislike RTwP.
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