Ancestors Legacy – Xbox One Review
Our Xbox One review of Ancestors Legacy
Sometimes all you need is a brief description to know that you are going to like a game… 1C Publishing’s newest strategy title, Ancestors Legacy is one such game! Any title that incorporates Vikings, base-building strategy and in-depth historical reference, is setting itself up for success!
In terms of game modes, you get exactly what you’d expect in a strategy game: PVP, PVE Skirmish mode, and a 4-tiered campaign. For me, the latter is what really brings the game to life!
The campaign is a well thought through journey through the ages, with 6 chapters spanning across 4 different factions. The combat-ready Vikings, the expert archer Anglo-Saxons, the Germans who are the most balanced faction & the cavalry-focused Slavs. A word of warning now, this is not a game you will be completing in a couple of hours! To begin with there is only one campaign available, the Ulf Ironbeard (Viking) campaign. These 5 missions serve as perhaps one of the longest game tutorials ever, soon forgiven as the narrative is strong. Upon completion of these 5 missions, the other campaigns all become available to you.
At first, it looks to be a squad-focused move/attack strategy game, as Ulf Ironbeard scours the countryside trying to survive. In later missions however base-building and technologies are introduced, making this a complete strategy game! I personally really liked the Viking campaign. The fast-paced nature of attacking Vikings was one of the reasons I was hooked on Ancestors Legacy! In the Anglo-Saxon campaign for instance it is a lot more about squad positioning and laying traps. Archers suck at melee combat, and if you don’t place infantry cover you will fail missions very quickly!
You may also find yourself failing at missions very quickly because you run out of resources… The only way to collect resources, at a bearable speed, is to capture villages. In these villages you construct farms, mines and lumbermills. Easy enough I hear you say, apart from the fact that the AI absolutely LOVES targeting your camps! You have to invest some of your 10 precious squads to defending them. Oh, yes! You have a squad cap of just 10, so think strategically when balancing your army!
For the most part, squad control and management becomes simple enough to get used to. You can select multiple squads of the same class by clicking X twice, rapidly. Clicking X in open space selects all of your on-screen squads, but here is where my gripes with the game begin… The controls are difficult, a little confusing and just slow.
So many times I wanted to control specific units with one click of a button (Squad hotkey assignments on PC) however had to mash RB; the scrolling across the map took too long even when I held RB (again) to speed it up; cycling various building menus, and controlling the various camps took time and multiple menu wheel clicks; and if there were a number of events that happened in quick succession, the SELECT button only took you to the last event. All of the gripes listed can be resolved easily on PC but, and this pains me to say as a lover of Strategy games, I am not sure how they can be improved on the Xbox.
Whilst we are taking a moment to look at the negatives, I have to mention the narration cut-scenes. Every time (during the campaign play) they would get half way through then appear to glitch for a moment, which led to the audio and video being out of sync. When you want to just get on with the game it does leave a bit of a sour taste. You can watch all cut-scenes in EXTRAS, without glitching, if you want to.
On the Graphics & Audio side of things though, this actually brings me to two of the most impressive elements of the game. The voice acting is fantastic for the most part and each actor brings their character to life with gruff finesse. By far the most impressive element of the game however, is the meticulous detail to visual combat in game! I found myself zooming in as close as possible to watch each individual unit within a squad fight its own fight against an enemy unit as if there was no-one else around.
The intricacy in which these units fight within a much larger squad battle was incredible to watch, with each shield block, and swing of a sword axe, or spear being like a choreographed dance. I cannot tell you how impressive the combat spectacle is, and there are a lot of established PC games and franchises out there that are not even close to reaching this kind of attention to detail!
Attention to detail is something that seems to be sewn through Ancestors Legacy, for the most part. The campaigns are solid and have a great story-arc; the graphics in-game are fantastic; the acting on the whole is great… but the big fall-back, for me anyway, is that this feels like an incredible PC game that has struggled to port over to Xbox and it’s limited controller layout. That should not put anyone off though, because who doesn’t want to charge through villages killing and pillaging… in-game that is!!
Many thanks to 1C Publishing for the review code.