Author: T_H_Schafer -- Posted: 2010-12-15
Settlers 7 looks kind of simple at first. It's an R.T.S. in the vein of Age of Empires or, surprisingly enough, Sins of a Solar Empire. For those unfamiliar with Sins, you take control of entire planets where you boost the economy, build warships and research new technologies. With those two games in mind, Settlers sits somewhere in the middle. You have to gather resources like in Age of Empires, but you also take control of "points" like in Sins rather than build and destroy all willy nilly like in Age of Empires.
Resource gathering and efficiency are key to victory in Settlers. If you're going to grow your kingdom, you're going to need food to increase the population, wood and stone for building new structures, tools for industries responsible for stamping gold coins or cutting down wood, etc, etc. Once you get the economy running you can grow an army to take over new territory, trade some excess products for ones you lack and research new tech. It gets a touch overwhelming if you don't know what you're doing but the single player campaign does an excellent job of guiding you through the games intricacies.
The art design in the game tends toward the cartoonish, with well animated villagers all going to work in an interesting manner. I often slowed my progression just to eye a villager brewing up some beer, cutting a log into a plank or working in a piggery. Even the battles end up looking cute. Each side preparing to fight taunts the opposition with high pitched squawks while lifting their weapons high. It'll melt your heart. It's a shame you'll miss the detail in some of the more crucial moments as you'll need to scope out the entire map to get an idea of what to do next.
Settlers 7 implements some of the gaming industry's most stringent anti piracy measures and is something worth considering if you're going to pick up the game. To play you must be logged into Ubisoft's servers, at all times, even when you're playing single player. If you're without an internet connection you can't play. If you're connection fades out during a match, the match will wait until the connection resumes, leaving you sitting on your hands for the duration. While it sounds like overkill, and it certainly is overkill, I didn't notice much interference. Other than a couple monstrously irritating losses of connection, the service ran rather steadily. Now, other players might experience different circumstances, but I had good luck overall.
Settlers 7 is a unique kind of R.T.S.. The art design sets it apart from the pack and is certainly one of its strengths. If you're a fan of meticulous economy building, resource gathering real time strategies then Settlers 7 shouldn't disappoint, unless the connection stutters.