Disclaimer. I am not affiliated to any company which is related to this game, a similar game, or any game news website. I didn't get any restrictions what to write, besides a time limit when to post it. I got this game for free though, to write this review.
I haven't played any beta versions. I played approx. 30 hours, one full game and half into the 2nd one. These are my observations and thoughts I had while playing.
Overall / summary
First things first: the game is absolutely worth playing. It is beautiful, engaging, dynamic and it is 100% pure “just one more turn” addictive. Exploring the map is fun. Especially in early eras. Animals, curiosities, hostile tribes, etc.Battle are fun. Building your empire feels good. This all is very dynamic and engaging. I didn’t sleep much in the last week lol
The game is beautiful. The map is gorgeous. The terrain details, zooming in and out working smoothly, it is incredible, giving you the details relevant for a zoom level. Plus you have a really neat UI, not only in a form, but also pretty good in content. Modders will make it better
, but right now I don’t see anything super important missing.
I have not encountered any bugs or issues that would prevent me from playing. That is something worth noting. Yes, there are some minor issues (see later in the post), yes probably balancing will be still in question, and yes there will always be people complaining about the AI, but considering this is its premiere and there will be certainly patches, etc. – the QA people did their job pretty well.
However, what is most important in a strategic game: how strategic is it? What systems are available? How are they designed? This is where it shines – the game is really well thought out and designed. When you play it – you can feel like you actually manage an empire, have actual diplomatic relations with your neighbors and when it is necessary – raise armies (actual armies) and go for battles.