I Wondered What Would Be Different with Age of Wonders: Planetfall
When Paradox announced Age of Wonders: Planetfall at PDXCON 2018, I was excited. Then I was curious. And later cautious. Having remembered what happened to Firaxis own effort of branching out from their usual Civ formula to explore a sci-fi setting in Beyond Earth... which to put it mildly, was a bit of a bore.
Age of Wonders III is a 4X fantasy with magic and...well... fantastical creatures. If there was any similar game, I would say it was a lot like Might & Magic (not to be confused with Heroes of MIght & Magic, which dropped a lot of the strategic aspect of managing an empire). You built cities, developed them, recruited heroes and trained armies. When armies clashed on the strategic map, you directed them in a turn-based tactical battle.
Age of Wonders III unlike a lot of the classic game remakes and sequel these days, was charmingly old school. It was very much a love letter to Age of Wonder II from the developers. Old charm, new and improve User Interface.
So when they made this announcement, it made me wonder (no pun intended), what difference would this game have from the original Age of Wonders III. Sure the sci-fi setting make it look different, but from a mechanics standpoint, how would they take advantage of the new sci-fi setting to explore new mechanics. Extend the strategic aspect of the game (which I felt was thin compared to other strategy games) and deepen the tactical battles.
From what little we know of Planetfall, it does seem like the strategic layer is getting a bit more depth with what they call planetary sectors, which sounds like customisation options for colonies, and governing doctrines, which... I’m pretty sure is... policies for specific colonies.
I’m really looking forward to Age of Wonders: Planetfall when it is released some time in 2019. My hope is for the devs to not make this one a sci-fi skin over the same old Age of Wonder system. For now, it’s time to reinstall Age of Wonders II and perhaps buy some of those DLC expansions I didn’t get.
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