Northgard Review | RTS City Builder Early Access (Civilization crossed with Age of Empires)


Good mornin-afternoo-vening, dear viewers
and welcome to Northgard, a still-Early Access real time strategy slash city building game,
that I think has a lot of potential to become the next sort-of Age of Empires. A better quick description for Northgard would
be that it is a sort of condensed Civilization crossed with Age of Empires dressed up in
a viking theme. And I will detail this opinion shortly. Northgard is being made by French indie developer
Shiro Games, and a single player campaign is on the way, keep in mind the game is still
in Early Access, but even without this single player campaign, the game is an awesome experience,
much like Age of Empires before it. The game looks great, I for one digging the
not-very-detailed but not overly minimalistic art direction. The music is also great and I am glad to say
that both the visuals and the audio work together well and support the Norse theme of the game. You start off by picking one of the five available
viking clans, although more will be available at release. They’re all quite thematic and each has
their name given by their animal totem and some unique characteristics which tend to
mesh with these. Both you as well as the other players will
start the game on the shore of an island, in keeping with the viking theme. You’ve just landed and you’re colonizing
an unknown territory. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by all
the various clan bonuses, because at first they won’t make a lot of sense. Just pick the one that just sounds like something
you’d like to play, or the one with the coolest animal representation and start your
first game. There are quite a few things to do, right
from the get-go, but thankfully you can get a pretty solid grasp of most of the various
building features, clan bonuses and their subsequent interactions during the first couple
hours of playtime. For instance one of the things that I discovered
only after several MORE hours of play was that Silos will not only protect your food
from rats and increase your maximum supply but they will also increase food production
by 10% in the area that they’re built in. Now this is quite apparent if you take the
time to read the entire description but interestingly enough, I didn’t do that till after about
10 hours worth of playtime simply because there were so many other, flashier things
to understand and try out, that subtle characteristics of the various buildings simply sailed past
me. And that’s just an example. Usually you find these tricks out the more
you play a game and you start looking for ways to optimize whatever you can so as to
make your chances at winning that much greater. The Silos tend to become extremely important
once you can’t expand anymore – except if you’re willing to attack another player’s
territory – and you need to increase your Food production as much as possible, which
you will. Oh one more quick tip, don’t build a Woodcutter
right at the beginning, make yourself some scouts and discover your neighboring areas
first. Use both of them on the same square as this
speeds up exploration. Just in case one of them features a Forest. If one of them does, make sure you colonize
that one first and build your Woodcutter straight on that one. The increase in production will do you good,
especially in the beginning. As is the case with this sort of strategy/survival
games, resource management is a large part of the game mechanics. Much of the gameplay revolving around how
intertwined the various resources that you have to keep an eye on are with you winning. Your resources are Happiness, Food, Wood,
Money and population upkeep. And that first one is by far the one that
will influence your gameplay the most, seeing as how the happier your clan is, the faster
it will generate new members, and you need civilians in order to train them for all the
varied resource gathering you need in order to grow the clan. The interesting thing about your villagers
is that you can always retrain them as something else. All you have to do is to send them back to
the main hall and they’ll be turned into civilians which you can then direct to a different
building. This can come in very handy especially in
the first third of the game when food production isn’t very stable and you may actually need
to move some people from resource gathering to being simple villagers, because a plain
villager will gather food, while an employed one will only consume it. One quick tip here, that I found quite productive. When playing as the Wolf clan, you have a
clan trait that allows the wild wolves and bears you kill, to be added to your food supply. Which is great, a little bit of extra Food
is rarely a bad thing in Northgard, but when you also add the fact that there are squares
that feature wolf dens, which constantly generate wolves, until you colonize the area, then
you have yourself an occasional extra source of food for when things looks dire. Especially during the winter, having a wolf
den close to your borders can save you some precious Happiness points. So this is the type of choice that one has
to make, depending on your clan choice and map. Sure, if you were to colonize the wolf den
square, you’d get some Fame, but lose the supply of food, will it be worth it? You decide. Once a game has finished, regardless of whether
you won or not, you have the opportunity to watch a sped-up visual recap of what happened
during the game. You’ll get to see the entire map and watch
the evolution of each player’s territory. For me this feature was of extreme help when
I started playing the game, because it showed me how quickly I should be expanding during
the first part of the game, so as to not fall behind and find myself with a lack of resources
from the mid-game onward. As is the style of the Civilization games,
there are several types of conditions that can win you a Northgard game as well. They’re Domination, Wisdom, Trade, Fame
and the last one being the Map Special condition. The ease with which any of them is achievable
will depend on several factors, the most important of which being your choice of clan and the
layout of the map. This means that you’ll have a very hard
time obtaining a Domination victory with a clan that is more appropriate for exploration
or trading, and vice versa. Similarly though, you won’t be able to attain
a Wisdom victory very easily if you don’t have several Lore generating sites within
your territory. When it comes to both the Fame and Lore ratings,
things get extra interesting. In the case of Fame, once you reach certain
levels of Fame your clan will gain access to its particular clan bonuses. When it comes to Lore, reaching particular
Lore milestones will allow you to access a variety of perks – some of them available
to all clans and some of them being clan-specific. So there’s always a choice to be made when
looking at the two, because it’s kind of hard to really strike a balance between them,
due to the fact that they require you investing resources into different branches of village
development. In terms of combat, the game is pretty straight
forward, but considering the rather reduced number of soldiers that you can have at any
one time, a good mix of units combined with some micro management will see you win a lot
of fights with a minimal number casualties, as opposed to if you’d just let them fight
by themselves. The game is still in Early Access, so a lot
of things keep changing, are being updated or generally rebalanced. I expect combat to be one of the things that
will become a slightly more involved activity going forward, seeing as how it seems the
devs have the rest of the game pretty well set up by now. Although I wouldn’t put it past them to
introduce further buildings and things to do starting from the final release onwards. And of course I would be remiss to end my
review and not mention the fact that the game does indeed feature multiplayer, this sort
of game had to, otherwise how could it be the next Age of Empires? Things aren’t extremely active on the servers
just yet, but this might change once the game releases. The multiplayer gaming experience itself is
a bit slow at first, as is with a normal custom game – and as it is with Age of Empires – but
once you’ve reached the borders of the other players, things can escalate rather quickly. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing multiplayer
since that’s really not my thing and like I’ve been saying, the game has quite a lot
even without it however, the one game I did play was with a player from the US and one
from Russia. I live in Denmark, so it was quite the pan-global
experience and I couldn’t see any problems with lag or anything of the sort. The particularities of the game mechanics
do allow you to engage in some interesting tactics though, for instance allowing an enemy
player to colonize a square of land and then going in and invading it till it becomes unoccupied
again, but not colonizing it yourself. Doing this, you’ll actually be actively
wasting his Food, which can slow them down tremendously, especially if this happens during
the mid-game. Either way, Age of Empires was much more of
a LAN sort of experience – at least for me – but in absence of that, Northgard gives
you the option to make custom and private games and invite your friends, so you can
partially emulate that LAN experience if you’re also connected via Discord. Sure, it’s not the same thing as being in
the same room, but when one or some of you live continents away, it’s the next best
thing. So for my final thoughts on Northgard I’ll
talk about Early Access and its price. As it stands now, Northgard is 20 Euros – or
equivalent in your other currency, and it is a great price for what it already has to
offer. Meaning the custom game and multiplayer modes,
when executed with this level of quality, are more than enough for the 20 Euro price
point. Add to this that the game is expected to still
be in Early Access for at least a few more months and that the devs will be adding a
single player campaign soon, the choice is nothing but clear, at least in my mind. Northgard, in Early Access, is more than worth
the asking price, go get it and you won’t regret it. And that’s about it for my Northgard review,
thanks for watching and if you enjoyed my video, do not forget to like it, subscribe,
comment and maybe share it if you found it informative. Help my channel grow so I can bring the gospel
of Nonsense to others. Seeya next time!

3 Comments

  1. StefaNonsense said:

    Good mornin-afternoo-vening, dear Nonsensiacs! Remember to press that bell (🔔) button next to the subscribe button and select the "Send me all notifications for this channel" option , that way you'll get a notification whenever I post the next nonsense-filled video ! 😉

    October 16, 2017
    Reply
  2. Athostar said:

    Ahh so you've already checked it out hehe. 😉
    Played it yesterday with my bro – without any of the DLC-s – (2 of us versus 2 enemy AI), quite fun. 😀

    Apparently there is Single player and Story mode now as well (I havent tried them yet so I don't know anything about them)

    I'm digging the visuals and music too.

    I'm not sure the food silos thing is explicitly stated in the description, and the somewhat fast pace of the game doesn't really allow you a lot of time to just lay back and carefully read all of the descriptions if you've just started the game haha.

    May 31, 2019
    Reply
  3. Gustave Viking said:

    Civilization + warcraft = northguard

    October 31, 2019
    Reply

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