Settlers: Heritage of Kings - PC

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Settlers: Heritage of Kings (PC)
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Strategy: God game
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Blue Byte Soft. Co.: Ubisoft
Publishers: Ubisoft (GB)
Released: 18 Feb 2005 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
Accessories: Mouse, Keyboard


RTS fans should be delighted to hear that Ubisoft and Blue Byte are offering up the fifth installment in the long-running Settlers strategy series. Using Criterion’s industry standard middleware Renderware to make the jump from 2D to 3D, the game looks better than ever. Whilst previous editions of the series have done well in RTS-loving Germany, success abroad has been slower to come. With the high profile of release of Settlers V, its creators hope to reach a wider audience than ever before. To this end, enlisting the help of RTS legend Bruce Milligan, they have tried to make the gameplay a lot simpler, cutting out as much as possible of the fiddly micro-management. That might spell bad news for a small number of control freak fans, but it sounds very much like good news for the rest of us.

The storyline is pretty standard stuff. The peace of the land is threatened by the expansionist policies of an evil warlord. The people of the villages must build settlements, armies and research new technologies if they are to stand a chance of repelling this threat. Hence the pretext is set for the hallmark of the series – building really large settlements. In Settlers V this is made easier than ever before – with more direct controls that are easier for newcomers to the series to get to grips with, and the settlements look all the more impressive by the all new 3D graphics. The combat system has been simplified, and at the same time AI and pathfinding have been improved, the idea is that orders given to your troops are simpler and they don’t have to be baby-sat to make sure they don’t get stuck or lost. As before in the series, these two halves of the game – base-building and combat - are delicately balanced so that the player can focus more on one or the other, depending on their preference. As far as reducing the micro-management goes, the complicated resource and transportation systems from previous games have been reduced considerably. Though these systems were a famed and well-liked feature of past games, they have been pared down to allow the player to spend more time making larger settlements, developing new technologies and repelling invaders.

A new dynamic weather system also spices up the game. As well as sunny weather, there’s rain that affects visibility and accuracy, and snow that slows units down and freezes water, allowing the player to access new territories. Later in the game, when they master the technology of alchemy, players can even control the weather themselves. RTS elements feature–units improve with experience and the game can be played in three different ways: conquest mode, where you must beat everyone into submission; tech race, where you race to accumulate the most knowledge and skills; and a quick point game where the person with the most points after the time limit has expired wins. Naturally the game is playable over LAN or the internet, by up to six players, so it looks set to be a treat for RTS fans.


Settlers: Heritage of Kings - PC Artwork

Settlers: Heritage of Kings - PC Artwork