Settling into Settlers Seven
In my years of gaming, I've only ever played 3 RTSs; Warcraft 2, Warcraft 3 and CNC4. So when i picked this game up i was a bit hesitant that it would not be worth my time. I've never played any of the previous Settlers games, but i found this one particularly enjoyable.
Contrary to the cover of this game, the feel is more cartoon-ish. All cutscenes and cinematics have a crisp 3D animation and it's this style that really brings the characters to life, which in turn brings the game to life. Or so it did at the very beginning. There aren't many of these cut scenes to watch and as a result the storyline wasn't as fulfilling or detailed as Warcraft 3's epic lore. But i guess this RTS doesn't really need it. Whenever i decided to sit down for an hour or two to play the game, it wasn't for the storyline, it was more for the gameplay. I guess what i would've wanted from this game was more of those cutscenes, even if the storyline wasn't going to be great (which it wasn't),
The game itself is quite a sophisticated system, my first impression was that it was going to have a huge learning curve. And in a way it did, but the game's main storyline is also just a huge tutorial. Little by little the game would reveal new facets of playing the game, which presumably allows for different styles. For instance, you can approach the game through religion by making clerics to win over certain parts of the map thus lowering the need to make soldiers to fight for the sector. Or, you could claim trading posts so that more of your resources can be sold off, whilst using that financial advantage to purchase an army. Although you could place emphasis on these different approaches, at some point it is good to draw from all of them a little bit. In my experience with the game, these styles weren't very apparent despite the fact that the bots adapted these approaches. I used the same series of steps to win all the games.
What is difficult about the game is managing the resource links, at some points it got super hectic. For example. to make soldiers you needed food, money and weapons. to make food you needed bakeries, bakeries needed wheat and water and so you had to build wells and farms. One method of making money was from mints. Mint's used gold ores and coal. Coal you could get from boilers. Boilers needed 3 wood and so you built wood cutters. Wood around the woodcutters would deplete so you had to have foresters. And this would go on and on for pretty much any sort of worthwhile thing you were trying to make. The game tries to express these resource links, but it doesn't do a very good job and so you're left to do it yourself.
Despite all that though, it still drew me in. It was very satisfying to see these production chains working well and heaps of fun watching the little guys doing their specified jobs. The look of the maps was nice and clean, with changes in scenery once in a while. The voice acting of your character had a pleasing lisp that made her adorable.
If you guys are thinking about getting the game, I recommend you check out the boob physics on your little villager people. As in all games, it’s tremendously bad but hilarious all the same.