Designed by Funatics Development
Platform: PC CD/ROM
Price £29.99 Released: Out Now
At first glance you would be forgiven for
thinking that Cultures is similar in style to the Settlers series. Sure
the game is full of cute animations and resource management does play
a big part in the gameplay but Cultures goes a step further than the Settlers
series in that it gives you a closer relationship with the Viking individuals.
Each person has a name and different attributes (which can be increased
with experience) and to create more Vikings you have to marry a couple
who can then have a boy or a girl. As you can see already, this is a bit
different from creating a medium residence and watching people pour out
of the building as they do in Settlers. Of course as you can imagine building
up a thriving colony also takes a lot longer in Cultures.
Building an infrastructure in Cultures takes a lot of thought and planning.
To show what I mean I will give you a brief example of how Sven became
a baker. First Sven must learn to be a farmer. Having sewn and reaped
the wheat many times Sven becomes a qualified farmer. Once you have a
qualified farmer you can then build a mill. Next we build the mill and
tell Sven to become a miller. Sven works hard as a miller and turns all
that wheat into flour. Once Sven has qualified as a miller you can build
a bakery. Finally we build a bakery and tell Sven to become a baker. It
would be very boring indeed if every worker had to progress through the
different jobs like this but fortunately once one person has progressed
through this work chain (or similar ones in other industries) then the
building of a school will allow a civilian to instantly progress to any
of the trades that have been qualified for. It is also advisable to juggle
some workers between buildings if labour is short. Sven (using the above
example) for instance could work in the mill until there was a copious
amount of flour and then he could go back to the bakery. A great deal
of time has to be invested in your economy if your Vikings are to be truly
Cultures offers many hours of gameplay. The single player game has around
17 scenarios and 4 tutorials. However it is the campaign mode where the
heart of the game lies. The story revolves around Bjarni and the Vikings
discovery of America. Through the campaign you will come into contact
with Inuits and Native Americans. The really nice thing about Cultures
is that you actually get to make contact with other races without instantly
being at war with them. This has long been a problem with the Settlers
series and it still hasn't been rectified in Settlers IV. Cultures allows
you to designate a tribe as friends and to trade with them.
Text feedback is excellent and the only omission is the introduction which
is unsubtitled. This is unfortunate as it explains the story behind the
Vikings trek from their homeland to America. Otherwise though all the
info is presented textually and because of the gentle pace of the game
you never feel rushed into reading something. The briefings can be recalled
at anytime so you never lose sight of what you are supposed to be doing.
Multiplayer is great too and if you have a LAN at home then you are in
for a treat. You can play over the Internet but because of the duration
of the game this may not be an affordable option but having said this
the games can thankfully be saved. The options for multiplayer are Deathmatch
or Eco race. Deathmatch is all out war while Eco race is all about building
up your economy and achieving the predefined goals such as having a population
of say 70 people. Again we can see that Cultures gives you the option
to avoid battles if you so wish.
Because of the effort involved in creating a population it is not difficult
to see that any army you create is going to take time and a great deal
of effort. This means that battles are small scale and usually only involve
a handful of soldiers. This makes you think twice about waging war as
your soldiers are people from your community and cannot be created in
a couple of seconds. If you want to replace a dead soldier you are going
to have to tell a married couple to have a baby boy and wait for him to
grow up. As you can see losing a soldier is a costly business and while
some of you will be upset with the slow pace, the more peaceful gamers
out there will be pleased with it as it really deters from an aggressive
Cultures is an engrossing strategy game that attempts to give your people
character and individuality in order to create a more personal experience.
To a large extent it succeeds. The slow pace initially feels strange but
once you create the basis of your settlement the game gradually becomes
more and more engrossing and you will find yourself becoming drawn into
the game. If you like to invest time in your games then Cultures will
definitely be to your liking and well worth your money and time.
Game Rating: 8.3/10 As long as you don't want a
fast and furious game you will love Cultures.
of text: 8/10 Everything apart from the introduction
is textually represented.
Good graphics, the animation of the plant/wildlife is good too.
Interface: 8/10 Very easy to learn and control.
A very enjoyable experience although it may be too slow paced for some.