Welcome back warlords and rulers. Join us as we dig in deep into Paradox Interactive and Triumph Studios upcoming game, Age of Wonders: Planetfall. With a release date for late this year, we shall explore and unravel its secrets and reveal what to look forward to. So, buckle up and brace yourselves for re-entry as we find out what is to there greet us!
A New 4X Title on the Cosmic Horizon
Age of Wonders is a 4X series developed by Triumph Studios and published by Paradox Interactive. A journey that began in 1999, the franchise has seen great success over the years and have provided two sequels. The latest game, Age of Wonders III which came out in 2014, provided expansions that provided more rich gameplay and story.
So what is a 4X title? A term coined back in 1993 by Alan Emrich for Master of Orion for PC, 4X is the genre of empire building strategy games that allow the player to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate their way to victory. This increased freedom allows players to craft their empire in unique ways in an ever evolving climate of resources, politics, and prowess whether that be economic or military.
Will Age of Wonders: Planetfall adhere to these standards? Oh yes! And much more. This next installment to the Age of Wonders series is set in a post cosmic dark age whereby hyperspace travel was rendered unusable. Humanity and the Star Union empire has lost contact with itself. Now, for the first time since the dark age Humanity is encountering other surviving factions. But, in the wake of a fallen empire, how have its people adapted to survive?
Let’s Make for Planetfall!
In a recent gameplay reveal by Paradox featured on their YouTube channel ParadoxExtra, a great sense of the game was explored. This ranges from customising your faction and commander, to managing your first city on a new world. So, let’s jump straight in and talk about what wonderful things to expect.
Make it your Faction
First off, the commanders and faction customisation. There are 6 initial playable factions within the game. So far the first 5 have been revealed who are militant Vanguard, dino-riding Amazon, the insectoid Kir’Ko, Russian space dwarves themed Dvar Consortia, and cyborg zombies of the Assembly. Each faction has its own unique strengths, weaknesses, and playstyle. With each faction a commander will be at the helm leading them into a new golden age.
When selecting your faction and commander, you can customise them aesthetically but also mechanically. You will be granted Perk Points from which you can spend to gain background traints, colony supplements, and equipment for your commander. You may also give them a vice which will grant you a weakness but in return grant you more perk points and interesting gameplay option. Make them Decadent for instance which drains your supplies but gives you more hit points.
Be sure to make your commander look awesome too with a wide variety of options. Aviator classes and bear hats galore! After that, you can also select a secret tech. As the name might suggests, secret tech is a research that you can choose that other players won’t know about that you can employ at some stage in the game. These can range from experimental weapons to psionic conversions tactics.
Watch your Empire Thrive
So what about the gameplay, the colony and empire building and management this franchise and genre is known for? In Planetfall, colony and empire management is done through provinces or sectors. You start off with your humble beginning sector, your capital. From there you will need to use your scouts to explore neighbouring sectors for resources, other factions and sub-factions, and interesting landmarks of a previous age.
By lavishing in lovely resources and inspecting the surrounding area with detailed analysis overlays, you can expand your growing empire. Staking a claim to local sectors adds to your working population increases production, research efforts, and potential supplies. These can all be used to further your faction in wonderful economic, scientific, and military ways. You can even make a forward base to make your claim early if you can’t quite settle there just yet.
When the time comes, you can engage with other factions and sub-factions. Whether it be with an open, peaceful hand or crushing them with an iron first, there are opportunities to be had. For the smaller NPC factions, they might give you a quest with rewards, a request to help develop relations and possible alliances. Or you can take them by force. As for the main factions, long standing treatise of peace or campaigns of war can be laid out with a diplomatic overlay.
Turn the Cogs of War!
If war rears its blood soaked, and hungry head, equipping your army with the right tools for the battles to come is important. You can grant your units armour piercing ammunition for instance, specialised defenses, and a range of utilities. Being able to counter the enemy is crucial for any battle and wars you might be involved in. The survival of your faction depends on it.
Unlike an array of other 4X titles, Age of Wonders offers a simple but tactically wide and rewarding manual combat system. Instead of letting the game engine run the math and roll random numbers against each armies “power values”, you can influence the war effort first hand and command your troops yourself. In a classic, solid turn based system, you can destroy your enemies by moving your units around a local battle map, utilise cover and flanking opportunities, and engage where you see fit.
During the heat of battle, you can also employ abilities. These abilities might be inherent on a particular unit such as target painting from a scout to make it easier for allies to hit the target; or it might be deadly technology such as the pyrX bomb to devastate a large area to take care of multiple hostiles and even cover. Use all of your abilities wisely, as well as cover, and flanking tactics to achieve victory time and time again.
Make sure to do your Research
Lastly, the tech tree for all factions are unique. Generally speaking, they contain type types of research; military and society. As the names might suggest, investment into these areas will provide better military power/advantages or economic benefits respectively. Each of these are them split up into multiple paths. For instance, the society tree will contain advancements in doctrine (population growth), economy (production across the board), and operations (spying). Every piece of research is valuable. It is just your decision on what is more important at any one time.
And there we have it. Just a brief introduction into the upcoming 4X excitement that is Age of Wonders: Planetfall. It is due to release August 6th 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One which gives you enough time to brush up on your skills with previous titles of the franchise. For more details on its release, please visit the official website. Also stay tuned as we delve into each faction more specifically when they are all revealed soon. And as always, keep checking back for more news, reviews, and guides here at VGU. What are your thoughts on the wonderfully looking Planetfall? Leave a comment below. Until next time, smile and game!