Age of Wonders 4 preview – a strategy game of endless possibilities
THE upcoming entry in Paradox Interactive’s long-running strategy series offers unlimited variety and choice at every step of the game.
The game’s powerful faction builder offers tons of options for you to choose the species, culture type, and traits of your society.
You can play as Elves in league with the undead, savvy Felines, powerful Toads or perhaps nature-loving Human cannibals.
The game is filled with endless possibilities and your options feel restricted only by your own imagination.
As your first step in faction creation, you pick a race, add a physical or mental attribute, then choose a culture type and two additional traits that provide various bonuses.
The final step is to customise your leader and the appearance of your faction.
The realms in which you play are generated randomly and you can pick additional variables to spice up the game to your liking.
The vast array of options you’re presented with means you’ll always get a unique experience, making the game endlessly replayable.
Realms can also include big underground levels, which not only increases the size of the playable world but also affects your strategy.
Despite the endless options, the developers have still managed to ease players into the game’s mechanics.
A clever tooltip system makes things clear at the hover of your mouse, and should be seen as the yardstick for in-game help.
Gameplay will feel familiar to strategy game fans: you get a starting city, you produce buildings and units, and incorporate the surrounding areas to grow and expand your faction.
You then improve the areas around your city and specialise them later in the game, with your options influenced by your culture and the research choices you make.
Combined with your faction creation choices, picking different tomes will give your empire affinity with specific elemental forces.
Imperium is the main resource you require to purchase skills, but it’s also what’s needed to expand your empire with new cities, so once again you have to choose.
You have even more choices to make when it comes to diplomatic relations with other factions and free cities.
A mechanic called Rally of the Lieges lets you recruit units from your vassals and ancient wonders.
Units and heroes gain XP in combat and level up. You can freely customise your heroes, but units follow a standard path of upgrades.
Much like in the other games in the series, Age of Wonders 4’s combat is turn-based and happens on separate battlefields, offering a variety of terrains that give bonuses.
Up to three armies with six units each can participate in a single battle, making for massive fights.
AI is good overall and will try to kill your most vulnerable units, maximise damage with flanking attacks, and use area-of-effect spells.
Each full game you complete will add XP points to your Pantheon, which is where you’ll find all factions and leaders you’ve created.
Leveling up your Pantheon will unlock additional realm and faction creation options, adding even more variety to the game and giving you an overall goal.
Written by Stoyan Ovcharov and Marco Wutz on behalf of GLHF.
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