- Total Score - 9.2/109.2/10
Humankind is the best 4X title to hit the genre in quite a long time.
Developer – Amplitude Studios
Publisher – Sega
Platforms – PC, Gamepass [PC]
Amplitude Studios has been on quite the journey. With their debut indie darling, Dungeon of the ENDLESS, they’ve been building a massive, overarching game universe unlike anything else out there. From roguelike tower defense, to space faring 4X, Humankind brings all of their knowledge together to form a worthy take on the classic era spanning 4X genre that Civilization has created and carried for decades.
Amplitude is no stranger to 4X as a whole. With ENDLESS Space, and ENDLESS Legends, they have put their own mark and spin on the classic genre, but in space and a decidedly sci-fi and fantasy approach. Their titles have been met with success, but not without some growing pains from tackling such a massive and difficult task of making a well balanced 4X title.
Each new game they created, they learned. Over time you could see the confidence grow, each update adding something new, and even if it wasn’t always successful they adapted. Humankind is the result of that passion and rapid learning, and now they have decided to make a game directly comparable to their inspiration, the classic and celebrated Civilization series.
Humankind, as I said previously, takes all of Amplitude’s growth and they use it to meticulously craft and experience that feels as if they address specific needs, concerns, or shortcomings that the genre hasn’t seen or found good answers to yet.
Right off the bat, Humankind shifts the entire early game by having you start off in the Nomadic era. No upfront Civilization selection, no starting city to work with. Instead of choosing Washington, or Ghandi, you create your own custom avatar that will represent you in game and whenever you handle diplomacy or major events.
You can even connect to Amplitude’s online service, and share and upload your custom avatar with unique A.I for other players and friends to use. When the Neolithic era begins, you must attain era starts to advance your age, rather than pure tech tree advancement. Once you collect enough starts, you can select a culture inherit to the era of history you are entering.
As you advance in era’s, you can either choose to stay within that culture, or choose a different one entirely. Start off with Egypt and their great industry based design, then move on to Vikings and build a small fleet capable of mass deploying troops across water. Mixing and matching all of the different culture’s through time completely shifts the meta. Most 4X’s, due to the static nature of your faction choice, tend to feel a bit similar as you play multiple games and turns get up to the hundreds.
This new shift in style for advanced cultures, allows A.I and players to be dynamic and evolving in a manner that is far more interesting than which research branch you ventured down first. It allows for adaptation, cunning, and in one playthrough you might be able to sample a multitude of styles.
Amplitude was also smart in dictating a lot of open ended problems with a hard set of rules. Akin to a Paradox title, going to war and solving disputes, settling trades or treaties, is something that much be earned by War Support and favor. A hard coded system with set numbers, that prevents being able to easily exploit or manipulate A.I and actually helps create tension and a steady back and forth without having the computer cheating.
It also helps out tremendously in the late game, because it allows for wars to be resolved without you having to hunt down every single unit an army has, or occupy every territory they might possess.
Combat is the last pillar that Amplitude overhauled, and it has a learning curve but absolutely delivers on the best combat system to come to 4X titles in a long while. Battles take place on a grid that transpires on the world map. Each side has a base that if captured, instantly loses the battle. On defense, if you survive a set number of turns, the battle is instantly declared complete, and you are allowed a reprieve.
This system, while complex at first, makes combat a snappier process, and at the same time provides much needed tactical depth beyond a rock paper scissor system for unit types and management. Careful use of the land, smart tactics can absolutely defeat an army that’s stronger on paper, and pulling off upset victories is thrilling.
Humankind is a stellar experience. The love they have for classic 4X titles and Civilization is apparent, but they are also daring and take huge risks in changing the formula from the standard. The risks pay off, and Humankind is the best 4X title to hit the genre in several years.