Forge of Empires Exclusive Review
7 Overall Score
Actual tactical combat will add a real strategic element to the game
The graphics are a little dated and could do with an upgrade
We took some time out to play Forge of Empires, a city building MMO and battle strategy that takes place in a mediaeval setting. Players are responsible for building up their own settlement starting in mud huts under the command of a tribal chief. You are responsible for levelling up the settlement and unlocking new buildings through research and completing quests to build bigger, better and stronger settlements. The game can be played through your Internet browser and with a few clicks of a button and a registration you are instantly playing the game.
Jumping in our first look was to the scenery and the graphics, which overall weren’t too bad and the user interface was at least very simple to navigate and looked pretty good. Our first actions were guided by the instant tutorial mode, a tribal leader telling us what to build, where and what benefits each building will give to slowly guide us through the various features and systems in the game.
Early in the game you are shown how to use the research tree, players gain Forge points over time that they can invest in the extensive library, a long tree where players can learn new technologies that will unlock features and new construction options. For our first research we were guided towards learning “stilt houses” technology, used to build improved homes which are needed to increase your population and also gain income from them. In doing so this also advanced us into the Bronze Age, different tiers of skills are grouped in terms of their ages taking you into more advanced technology that will enable new units, buildings and more.
We had to place a hunter’s camp who would gather food for our people, a necessity if we wanted them to survive and our fledgling village to advance, unfortunately unaware at the time we placed our camp away from the road which flagged up a broken icon to indicate it was not connected to the road network… we decided to let them starve; we are a wrathful deities. From here we also had to place down decorative elements that keep our people happy, particularly a pillar that we were guided to build that used up the “diamonds” premium currency as opposed to the gold currency that we had previously used, some items can only be purchased using diamonds.
Once we trained up two spear fighters we were ready to head out and check out the provinces map to see what threats stood nearby. We could scout the next province to see what was around; it said that the cost was no skill points to do this so we can only presume that scouting other new provinces may indeed have a cost to it. Our scouts revealed that in this province there were various sectors that if controlled would give us access to new benefits and resources. A pop-up talking to one of the rival leaders gives the option to “demand for negotiation”, which would cost diamonds, “infiltrate”, which would cost gold or “attack”, which was free. We chose the free action.
When attacking the region it shows you the defending army that is stationed there once you have scouted the province, using your army management you are able to organise your attacking and defending units by clicking on any unassigned troops and dragging them into the currently selected army. There is no indicator as to how well you are likely to perform in the battle, so it is important to get to know your troops, but as we were being guided by the tribal chief be presumed he would not screw us over.
Combat opens up onto a tactical hex based map where you can move your units individually in turn based combat, taking advantage of such things as terrain to give you a better defensive position and also bottleneck troops trying to reach you. With only two units aside the battle didn’t take particularly long and we creamed their units with ease, in doing so we had conquered that sector, but would still have to take down two others in order to claim the province as our own.
All in all the game loot like it could be a lot of fun, especially as we noticed the options for Guild versus Guild combat, which may add a higher element of strategy as Guilds make enemies and allegiances with each other. The graphics may be a little under par, particularly on the city map where the forest terrain doesn’t sit particularly well with the flat grassland and looks like individual trees dotted around just to fill up the space. Combat graphics are pretty basic, but they do the job. Overall if you’re into this kind of game that from what we saw there was nothing particularly off-putting and it looked like you could play without having to stump up any real-world cash (at least at this stage).