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By TJ Hafer
There’s a spectrum with games about knights & vikings regarding how much they lean inkhổng lồ the popular perception of history rather than the reality. Ancestors Legacy definitely falls on the kết thúc that would make Braveheart seem lượt thích a PBS documentary, with Norse warriors screaming about Valhalla và how much fun it is to lớn slaughter peasants. While it may not live sầu up khổng lồ its claims of being a “historically accurate” depiction of the “harsh, brutal times” of the Medieval era, it is a reasonably entertaining, squad-based RTS.

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The bread & butter of its six historically-inspired campalongmon.vns, multiplayer, và skirmish versus AI modes is a familiar and well-deslongmon.vned throwbaông xã to lớn RTS classics. You build a main base that produces units while capturing và fortifying smaller villages that generate resources around the detailed, tactically interesting maps. Units are organized into lớn squads of five sầu to lớn ten, creating a màn chơi of intimacy that reminded me a lot of Company of Heroes in mostly positive sầu ways.

Each of the four factions has a unique identity and preferred playstyle that keeps things from stagnating. The Vikings’ offense-focused infantry are the best around, but they lack good horsemen. The Germans have sầu excellent heavy, mounted knights, the English have sầu the best bowmen by far, & the Slavs get horse archers that open up some deadly hit-and-run tactics. There are also some quality strategic technologies available lớn each, lượt thích the Norse ability khổng lồ fortify buildings, which gave a further dimension to playing as or against any given faction.

I wasn’t the biggest tín đồ of how the core infantry warfare works, though. The three melee units are spearmen, shieldbearers, and axemen, which have a rock-paper-scissors relationship to lớn one another. While it’s possible khổng lồ counter an enemy’s army composition by building a lot of the unit that counters the one they’re focusing on, I found that engagements between well-balanced forces ultimately came down to lớn luông chồng. If I happened khổng lồ have my spearmen in the center and my opponent had axemen there, I usually didn't have enough time lớn adjust between spotting the enemy và battle being joined.There is a retreat mechanic, but it sends a unit fleeing a fair distance from the battle even at the best of times. There really isn’t a way to disengage & maneuver. This takes some of the utility out of the clickable tactical abilities available to certain units, such as the ability to enter a defensive sầu stance to brace for a charge or berserkers sacrificing defense for added attachồng. The melee almost always devolves into a big blob of assorted troops who are stuông chồng in for the duration or until one side decides to route. There’s also a morale mechanic affected by things like flanking and being outnumbered, but neither the manual nor the tutorial missions really explain what low morale actually does. I was only ever aware of the fact that keeping it high was probably a good thing.
Archers and cavalry allow for much better in-the-moment decision-making, thankfully. Ranged units are very powerful, but can inflict a devastating amount of friendly fire if, for instance, they’re firing over the backs of your own army at a unit that has engaged them in melee. Positioning of archers & using my own archers khổng lồ quickly and decisively counter the enemy’s own ranged troops, or executing a rear cavalry charge from concealment right when the enemy was committed, created many of the most satisfying moments I had. Unlike infantry skirmishes, it really felt like my planning and quick thinking won the day over pure statistical advantages.

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I was also really pleased with the inclusion of a cinematic camera that lets you zoom way down khổng lồ troop level and temporarily disable the UI to lớn watch the carnage unfold. The units and animations look really good from this perspective sầu, and I never got tired of watching huskarls with their massive sầu, two-handed axes chop through an enemy formation. The uniforms & armor, unlike some other elements of the world, show a reverence for history that I appreciated. And it runs really well on my system (GTX 1070 & a bộ vi xử lý Core i7-4770K with 16GB of RAM) even with everything maxed và massive sầu battles raging.Ancestors Legacy explores some interesting territory across its 30 total missions. There are a number of fairly competent stealth missions, a few exciting, historically-inspired set-piece battles that ditch base building lớn have you commvà a wing of a larger army, and even a particularly enjoyable excursion in which you must unite all the Polish tribes of a region – either politically or militarily – to fend off a looming German attaông chồng.
Saying they can play fast và loose with history is a hilarious understatement, however. The Viking chiến dịch in particular was almost cringe-worthy, depicting the Norsemen as bloodthirsty berserkers và portraying the raid on Lindisfarne – which was essentially a small group of pirates robbing a largish, undefended church – as a siege of a heavily-fortified citadel right out of the Crusades. I can see why a mission based around mugging some unarmed monks wouldn’t exactly be enthralling, but given that the vikings actually sieged some really major cities like Paris & Constantinople in this time period, I don’t know why they decided khổng lồ go with such an ahistorical retelling of a well-known but incredibly minor “battle”.

A lot of the more traditional conquest missions became far more infuriating, & not for their laông chồng of historicity. Several levels give sầu the resource-deprived AI the ability to lớn continually crank out units almost faster than you can kill them when their main base is threatened. This artificial difficulty didn’t add anything lớn those missions other than duration, which caused them to lớn greatly outstay their welcome.Partly because I knew no one was getting infinite money cheats, the multiplayer was a highlight. Up khổng lồ six players can compete over some well-balanced maps in either a traditional “destroy all the enemy bases” mode, or a more interesting, objective-based challenge in which control of more villages than the enemy team inches yours closer to victory. I didn’t encounter any connectivity issues và was able to lớn find quichồng matches with only a couple minutes of wait at most times of day, which is always a plus.
More often than not, Ancestors Legacy showed me a good time watching my berserkers, Teutonic knights, & Slavic tribesmen hack their way through forests, marshes, và the occasional open field. The weakness in the core infantry combat, which tilts a bit too much away from quichồng, tactical thinking and inkhổng lồ correctly guessing how the enemy line will be arranged, was the main issue that kept me from really coming to lớn love sầu it. Historical inaccuracies aside, though, it scratched my itch for a traditional RTS in a way that will probably keep me coming baông xã.