Rectify Gaming

Review: Age of Wonders: Planetfall


  • 8.5/10
    Total Score - 8.5/10
8.5/10

Summary

If you’re looking for the next big thing in the genre, or just love the relaxing nature only a great 4X can provide, look no further than Age of Wonders: Planetfall.

 


Developer – Triumph Studios

Publisher – Paradox Interactive

Release Date – August 6th, 2019

Platforms – PC – Reviewed, PS4, Xbox One

Age of Wonders is a series that has always been on an island of sorts. One part Civilization, another part fantasy RTS. A 4X game that moved at a brisk pace and had a following but just didn’t have that extra edge to push it over the top.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall goes in a much different direction than the previous titles. Ditching the high fantasy for sci-fi of the grandest order. Triumph Studios succeeds where so many other franchises fail, and that’s making the jump to the final frontier without sacrificing what made it unique to begin with.

The jump to sci-fi always comes with the expected set of changes inherit to the new setting. It usually features brand new tech tree’s, very different playable factions, and a whole lot of unique space lasers to go into battle with.

Beyond the changes this huge leap in setting bring with it, other numerous changes lie in wait under the hood.

The single biggest difference from Age of Wonders 3 is the combat system. Now heroes can level, become fully modded and equip different weapons, or even ride vehicles. Unit’s can stack up to six deep, and battles are fought in a quick, but tactical turn based system. Now, normally this is where I insert my thoughts about the games pace, the overall balance between factions and how the tech tree holds up. Rest assured all of those mechanics are present and work well enough.

I want to discuss something else this game does that many other 4X games have tried and failed at, and that’s the jump to a different setting in the first place.

You see, the problem, at least for me, is jumping from a 4X set in our time, to one that is pure sci-fi almost always loses that immediate connection we share with them.

In a game such as Civilization for example. Before I play a single turn, I’m fully aware of all the pieces at play. I know the cultures, places, and the history. Without looking at an FAQ for the tech tree I can already determine what, how, and why I want to make my choices. I know what the wheel does, I can immediately grasp the significance of the bronze age. I know that getting to gunpowder will provide be a huge advantage in my military. These examples can go on and on ad nauseam. This is the strength of most 4X games set in a familiar setting. This is in part why they are so successful, and also why they usually fail when they make a sci-fi spin-off.

That knowledge we inherently have gets thrown out the window with space involved. That’s where Triumph Studios really shines In Planetfall. Without any real knowledge or connection to this games lore, worlds or technology they manage to find a good balance between the familiar, the alien, and the weird.

The way they manage to pull this off, is with the fantastic campaigns they have included. Starting the tutorial will launch you into a series of mini-campaigns that have dual purpose. They instruct you on many of the games unique systems, and also begin to tell the tale of it’s own unique worlds and factions.

I can’t recommend playing the campaigns enough, and each new one reveals more about the different races. You have Amazons riding dinosaurs, space Dwarves making volcanoes and a race of insects that are fighting back against their human oppressors.

It makes for a very interesting backdrop and sandbox to play with, and the rest of the games strong feature set and polish make it a breeze to hop in and play twenty turns without paying attention to the time. The only real down side in Planetfall, is that the brisk, fast and rewarding pace can possible diminish the games long term prospects. Campaigns and turns can move very quickly, and compared to other 4X games this one feels like it’s on turbo speed. By the time I can finish a single campaign of other similar titles I can finish two or three story campaigns here.

After so many games you get pretty familiar with the choices you want to make, and how to approach the different factions a bit faster than you would in other titles.
However, I won’t let that take away from the game too much, that’s more of an interesting side affect that I noticed after my share of play sessions.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall also looks great, runs fantastic and outside of some questionable AI armies instantly forming when perhaps they shouldn’t, the game provided no real obvious flaws to point out. At best, the critiques I could give are nitpicks at best, with my only real one would be to have more playable factions.

On top of all that, the game features mod support on PC, and they have even managed to deliver outstanding console versions as well. Planetfall has a great controller interface and a lot of thought and care was put into making those versions just as fun to play as it’s PC counterpart.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall was an unexpected pleasure. A brisk, fast paced and rewarding 4X with a fantastic feature set. The multiplayer works great, and every single aspect of the game from the online settings, world generation and rule-sets are at the players fingertips to customize to your liking.

If you’re looking for the next big thing in the genre, or just love the relaxing nature only a great 4X can provide, look no further than Age of Wonders: Planetfall.

Share Everywhere!

Hello, my name is Namtox, aka Dave Rodriguez I'm a video editor, content creator and a reviews editor.I have been in games for 25 years, and I'm bringing the experience from the retro days to help guide me through the craze that is modern video game coverage.I founded NTF Gaming to bring that feeling of playing games with your friends to the masses.Now I begin the next step in my career. As a reviews editor for Rectify Gaming I vow to keep my unique industry knowledge, sense of humor and skill to making original, high quality content.I cover everything from major blockbuster Triple-A games to small unknown indie games.

About The Author

David Rodriguez

Hello, my name is Namtox, aka Dave Rodriguez I'm a video editor, content creator and a reviews editor.

I have been in games for 25 years, and I'm bringing the experience from the retro days to help guide me through the craze that is modern video game coverage.

I founded NTF Gaming to bring that feeling of playing games with your friends to the masses.

Now I begin the next step in my career. As a reviews editor for Rectify Gaming I vow to keep my unique industry knowledge, sense of humor and skill to making original, high quality content.

I cover everything from major blockbuster Triple-A games to small unknown indie games.