Age of Wonders: Planetfall Review Review
Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox OneAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4 and PC
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a turn-based, strategy game set in a sci-fi world that offers players various challenges, many races, a range of customisable units and weapons and on top of all that, destructible environments. But is it really that wonderful? Lets have a look!
Upon loading up Age of Wonders: Planetfall for the very first time, you will be offered the option of completing a tutorial. For a game like this, it is well worth going through the basics as strategy games tend to have quite an extensive way to play. This is no different. There is a lot of information to process and if you're not careful, it can get pretty overwhelming. After completing the tutorial, you're pretty much free to do what you like throughout the various modes - but I guess the main one I was drawn to was the campaign mode.
The story is simple in Age of Wonders: Planetfall, hundreds of years prior to your arrival, the galactic empire collapsed which meant every surviving faction went their own way; evolving and finding new ways to survive. As you play you will uncover the history of this fragmented civilisation, meeting interesting characters along the way from various races and dealing with them as you see fit. It's worth pointing out that the campaign is very in-depth, offering players a lot of background should you choose to read into it.
There are 6 different races to follow and play as in Age of Wonders: Planetfall, so lets go through them:
- The Vanguard - The human's empire. After the empire collapsed they rose to the stars. Their main focus is on guns and drones using an arsenal of mainly bombs, lasers and guns.
- The Amazons - An all-female branch of the human race. Stranded after the empire was destroyed they live as one with nature and can spread forests throughout provinces.
- The Dvar - Basically dwarves, their main focus is on mining and production.
- The Assembly - A cyborg race who wants to destroy the Galaxy before creating their own Utopia.
- The Kir'ko - An alien lifeform that resembles bugs. They were enslaved by humans and now they seek their revenge. Mainly a melee class.
- The Syndicate - A human faction that is like a space gang, focusing on trading and espionage.
As you can see there is a lot of variety to the game's races, each of them offers their own skills and benefits. My personal favourite is The Assembly because they look awesome but it's worth having a play around with each of them to see what you prefer. As you progress through the campaign you will experience all of the factions.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall's combat is very similar to the likes of X-Com, turn-based whilst also choosing what unit goes where and whether they attack, defend or use a skill etc... and what's even better is the battles are perfectly balanced. Those who have played X-com will know just how infuriating it is when you are literally stood in front of an enemy and the hit marker still only says 40%. There is none of that in this game, the combat does seem fair.
On top of the combat being well balanced, it is also a lot of fun and with each battle lasting only a short time, you won't get bored or struggle where to go in-between. It's also really interesting having to learn each factions battle plans, so to speak. Meaning, you can't
Each map is randomised for a brand-new experience each time which is great and there are a heap of things to do whilst exploring each map; build new colonies, discover hidden technologies, trade and discuss with NPC factions. You will have a variety of quests to complete during each of your missions which tend to allow you to explore the entirety of the map but sometimes - despite having so much to do - I found myself aimlessly wandering the map. I think this was due to the fact that at times I found it hard to keep track of each quest.
There is also a lot of customisation options in Age of Wonders: Planetfall. You can change the look of your commander as well as distributing skill points in desired areas as you level up. Each unit can be upgraded too with up to three defence, offence and support modules as well as gaining experience. Weapons can also be customised to your preference.
Graphically, Age of Wonders: Planetfall is great. It features a top-down approach allowing you to view the map at your pleasure, uncovering it as you go. Each race has it's own distinct style allowing you to easily tell the difference between all six and the sheer detail that has been put onto each building, enemy and weapon is insane. It really is a pleasure to look at.