Humankind is the latest 4X strategy game to be released this September and it promises to be a whole different experience from what you’re used to with these kinds of games.
Can this game really take over the 4X strategy genre scene and unseat the current reigning king of 4X strategy games, Civilization VI? Let’s take a look at this Humankind review and find out.
Right out of the box, you will already notice the difference between this game and most 4X strategy games out there. Rather than pick a race or civilization that you want to run with (or in the case of Civilization, a world leader), you get to choose the look and feel of your avatar.
You heard me right, avatar. It’s the funniest thing when you start a 4X strategy and then you start with a character customization screen that’s more akin to an RPG character creation and it’s rather refreshing if you ask me.
The avatar creation allows you to customize the look and feel of your avatar the way you want your civilization leader to look like. Do you want him tall and charismatic? Or do you want her to be petite and seductive? It’s up to you.
Once the game starts, you will start with an all too familiar scout unit. You start off as a nomad looking for food to feed your people so you can make it grow. It will represent the backbone of your people until you have earned enough experience and have explored enough of your world map to build an outpost, which is your people’s settlement that can later grow into a full-fledged city.
Rather than choose leaders, race, and/or civilization, you get to choose your people’s culture. This happens as you unlock progress throughout the game. The more you unlock the game through Era Stars, you will more likely be able to choose the culture you want your people to follow. There will be a set of cultures based on the era that you are in.
For example, in the Ancient Era, you can possibly adapt the Zhou, the Hittites, the Babylonians, and a host of other cultures. When you progress to the next era, you get a choice to either stay in the same culture or adapt a different culture depending on your game strategy.
Each culture gives you a different set of privileges and bonuses that other cultures won’t have. You may choose a culture that is militarily inclined so you get a bonus on attack and defense and construction of military units. Or you may choose a culture that is heavily invested in farming and agriculture and give you bonuses in food production. Or perhaps the culture of your choice is more science inclined and gives you bonus science points so you can progress through the technology tree more quickly.
This concept is very unique as it allows players to change strategies if one such strategy in-game doesn’t work for them. This means players are not stuck to stick it out with a strategy even if their strategy is no longer working for them. This increases the playability of each game as not one game will be the same and making for gameplay to be more dynamic.
Territories are also handled differently in this game as it’s not dependent on the location of your cities or outposts but rather on preset regions or territories that are readily available on the map. If you desire to exploit the resources available in a certain region, all you need to do is build an outpost in said region and that region becomes part of your territory where you can then build different kinds of structures like mines and artisan centers to extract raw materials and resources.
But note that building outposts cost culture points that can be used to advance your people’s society so that you can become more advanced than other opponents in the game. So you have to be careful with your expansion as well. Now, should you come across a territory owned by an independent nation or another player and you want their territory, then you need to go into combat and destroy their outpost so you can build yours.
Combat in this game is handled differently as it can trigger with multiple units. When combat occurs, you go into a combat phase where all units in the vicinity will be called to join, each unit will have movement points that will allow them to move and deploy to attack your enemy or to capture the flag.
The first team that captures the flag of the opposing team or kills all their units wins the combat. There is also an option to trigger auto-resolution in combat but I would only use it if I was in a hurry or if I didn’t have a good chance of winning the combat.
Combat can occur with either independent nations, other players or animals roaming on the map like deers and bears. Also combat does not determine allegiances with other nations as you can go into combat with anyone without going to war with them as long as you don’t have a non-aggression pact.
This brings me to diplomacy. Truth be told though, there’s not much in the place of diplomacy that you haven’t seen in other games. You can have non-aggression pacts, trade pacts or even alliances, but it’s not very complex and well it’s really a choice of who you want to team up with. In many cases, you will want to team up with someone who isn’t at your border so that you can still have the option of border expansion and go to war with a neighboring nation.
One thing about this game I haven’t mentioned is the graphics. I have to say that it has really nice-looking graphics and definitely is at par or maybe even better than Civilization VI or any other 4X games out there in the market. It’s nice to look at and you won’t get bored with it.
The only downside I think I have to say with this game is really the multiplayer option. It suffers from a smooth multiplayer access as it took as several attempts to play this game together. In fact, just starting a game took us forever as someone would always get disconnected during the launch of the game. And launching the game in multiplayer mode takes forever (about five to ten minutes). Though to be fair, once the game is loaded on all participants, it’s fairly quick to run. It’s just the initial setup that takes forever and I blame it on the antiquated peer-to-peer connection setup.
If you are looking for a fun, enriching 4X game, this definitely receives a hard recommendation from us. It’s got good graphics, great gameplay and replayability, not to mention the fresh choosing a culture mechanic not seen in other 4X games, making this game unique and different from the ones you have played before.
My only comment is that SEGA needs to improve multiplayer gameplay but once you are able to get it running with friends, it’s definitely worth it. But apart from that it’s a great game that everyone should try out and definitely worth the wait for it to come out and worth its price tag.