Forge of Empires is a browser based strategy game that is being produced by InnoGames. The game incorporates the ever so popular empire building games that is a rather familiar genre in the industry. One thing that the game does to try to set it apart is that it incorporates a single player campaign with the game to try to diversify itself from the crowd.
Starting out in the game players are given a plot of land to build on and given a brief tutorial on how the game functions and how to build. The learning curve is fairly low and getting down the basics of the game is fairly easy to understand. It does allow a bit more freedom in building, as you're able to place your buildings or roads however you want on the land you've unlocked. This gives the freedom to setup the village how you want, with the buildings you want to do.
One thing that wasn't covered in the tutorial, but was found with a little search was the ability to sell and move buildings. The moving part caught my attention a bit more since usually they don't offer the ability to do that, but instead making players sell the buildings before relocating them, so this was a bit of a nice change. The game also requires a bit more attentiveness from the player, as you do need to check on building to collect resources and for materials you craft, like trophies, you need to be a bit more active, as the goods can go bad and expire making the hours you left it to craft go to waste. This type of approach tends to get players to check more often and does offer a sort of need or want to check in to see when things finish and start upgrading.
As mentioned there is a single player campaign in the game for players to experience. The campaign isn't really in depth and there is no strong story to really keep players hooked. The premise is that you're expanding your nation and you need to explore and take over other nations. The problem is that it is rather static and you need to take over certain nation(s) before being able to explore the next one(s).The progress for this is rather quick and comes to a halt at certain points in which you need to get better units before being able to progress. For instance I was easily able to take over four areas fairly quickly before I needed units from another age. To make matters worse, I did it all with just the starting units, the spearmen, which was ridiculously easy, even when faced against other unit types in that era. Once you get to a point like that however, the game tends to get a bit dull as you're stuck waiting and waiting to get the points to unlock more units so you can progress, which can take quite a while depending on where you are on the research tree. They did try to combat that a bit with their quest system, but since a lot of the quests ask you to either research, pay a certain amount of goods or gold, or just to conquer a place, it really doesn't distract from the slow progression halts.
Combat in the game is done by a turn based combat style similar to tactical RPGs minus the use of abilities and things like that. Characters go turn by turn on a board that has hexagon looking tiles which represent different types of land. The various land types can also offer different defensive bonuses which can help units when confronting other types. The turn order is also visible to the player as they can see whose turn it is and who comes up next. For those without the patience to try to plan out all of their moves, there is an option for the player to give the AI control, which doesn't speed the process per se as you will watch all the characters go through the turns, which allows you to still stop it if you see the AI doing moves you wish they didn't, or just want to jump into the combat later.
There is also a bit of a Civilization twist to the game, which isn't too in depth, which makes it not so complicated. Starting out players is put in the 'Stone Age' and they need to advance and research different technology and buildings in order to advance. Unlike the Civilization games however, the advancement stops at the late Middle Ages, so there will be no nukes to drop down on your foes or anything like that. Researching is done by spending research points and then whatever the required item needs to unlock it. You can research then unlock at a later time when you have the supplies, so you don't feel the need to wait to spend your points. The points for research are re-accumulated as time goes by, giving players one point per real time hour that passes. So it does pay to stay at least semi-active in the world in order to keep progressing.
Forge of Empires does have PvP elements present in the game, but it is done a bit differently than what you see typically. Usually you see games like this have one big world map where player's kingdoms are spread across the land, randomly placed in different places on the map. Here however, since the game has a single player campaign that works a bit differently, players are not neighbored to each other in the sense of kingdoms being next to each other, but in the way that one ranked player is next to another. Players can visit and attack other player's kingdom. Visiting allows players to support others by boosting buildings which helps other players and gives you a small amount of gold for your charitable act, or you can attack them and raid a building after the production has been completed. The bad thing about the attacking part is that the attacker does have a bit of an advantage. Since the battle is turn based on a hex tile board, the attacking nation has the ability to still control their units manually while the defending nation has to use the AI to fight for them. It would have been a bit fairer if both nations were forced to use the AI to fight, not just for the defending nation.
Interaction with other players isn't limited to just PvP and boosting the other players, you're also able to trade resources with others through the in game market place. There people will put up offers and what they need in return while players browse to see if there is anything they can fulfill to help their own lands out. Players are also able to communicate via a messaging system in game, but the interaction seems to end there. Being that the game focuses more on a single player campaign with minor multiplayer interactions, this means that the game ends up sacrificing interaction with the community. Guilds cannot be formed, nations cannot be conquered, and interaction gets stagnant after a while.
All in all the game isn't bad, but it seems to focus too much on single player for something that is in essence a multiplayer game. Those looking for a more loner existence and trying to compete with other players in an almost no risk setting, may find a home here. Those of us who do crave a bit more interaction however, will feel a bit disappointed. The game is in closed beta, so they do have time to work on it, and if they can flesh out the features a bit more, it does have the potential to be a better game.
|Template for a game that could turn out well if features are fleshed out more||The multiplayer aspect feels a bit hollow and is too focused on single player|
|The ability to shape your town how you want||Progression can be rather quick and then halts for a period of waiting, which can make you leave the game.|
|Easy to understand mechanics with a low learning curve|
Self Introduction From Author:
|I have been playing mmos since about 1999, and haven't stopped since, and I cannot even remember when I started console/pc gaming. I'm an avid gamer who does dive back into the real world from time to time. My all time goal is to start my own business, but that is taking a side step as I am going through college.|
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