Title: Oriental Empires
Available On: PC
Developer: Shining Pixel Studios
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Genre: Simulation Strategy game
Official Site: https://www.orientalempires.com/
Release Date: Thursday 14 September 2017
Where To Buy It: Steam
Personally, I would describe this game as a spin-off on the highly popular and well-received game, Civilization. This is not a bad thing, however, I would not say it was a good thing either. Oriental Empires game feels like it does not have its own identity and it is just a cover version of Civilisation since it even looks like it! But, this aspect does not make it a bad game to play.
The game lingers on the edge of being a very good game since they have identical system to how the popular strategy game works. Due to the fact it has an identical system with a couple of tweaks, it is enjoyable but more confusing since it currently has a poor tutorial system. I felt the tutorial to be lacking with only small text in big paragraphs located in the top corner, instructing you on how to play. This made me skip all the text and then decide to go back and read it since I had no idea how to, in fact, increase my army. This desperately needs to improve because it will deteriorate players from wanting to play further. But if players do stick at the game they will find it rewarding.
Players start off with a base camp and the aim of the game is to conquer the land around you. This game is currently set in Ancient China and has many ways of winning which could be fighting and destroying your enemies, befriending them, or beating them in the technology path. It is immensely fun and can take up hours to play, it is just a shame that I feel like I have played this same game before.
Oriental Empires does challenge players more than the original game that I keep referring to. The game demands players to take it slowly at the start otherwise you may find yourself in a pickle (which may have happened to me). If you build your new city straight away since players are given a settler, to begin with, then you might lose it quicker than you expected. Enemies seem closer than you might think so it is wise to take your time with this game.
The battles are fun as you get to strategise how you play and you can use the terrain around you as support. Sometimes though the combat function does not work properly, so you could lose your entire army in one turn if your troops remain idle when they should not. Players have no control over the actual course of the battle meaning that we have to rely on AI to command the battle. This is especially obvious with the support order. The game also falls short when it comes to the technology part. I felt that the mechanics were too complicated and confusing and it took a while to get my head around it. It really did not help that there was no help from the actual game. The symbols for what each path is really did nothing but frustrate me, but I suppose it fits well with the theme of the game. Finally, the message system is also a nightmare to deal with. When you have over five cities it can especially be frustrating when you have loads of messages from each city letting you know about every little thing that is happening. This system clunks up the inbox and can lead you to miss important items if you do not check it properly.
Even though there is a few things that could be improved there are some good aspects of the game. The random disasters that strike the city are immensely challenging and can change the pace of the game. The curveball creates problems for players and while it can be frustrating it also grabs the gamers attention. This is something I enjoyed because at times these type of games can drag on while Oriental Empires can still be fun hours into it. Watching the history of Ancient China is also nice to see rather than going too into the future which can become unrealistic.
In a peculiar way, I found this game oddly peaceful and I loved the background music to it. The slow-paced style relaxed me, especially after a stressful day. Problem is, this game made me want to play other versions of it as they are better put together. After a few hours of playing the game, I knew that I would probably not pick this up again unless it updated itself adding more things that were unique and worthwhile.
Sadly I generally do not think I would recommend this game as there is nothing special about it at all. But if it is cheap and in the sale and you fancy a different version of a turn-taking battle game, then go ahead and get this.
Verdict: A good turn-taking strategy game, but it does not have its own identity making it not unique at all. However, it is still a fun game and great for players that fancy a change of scene and a challenge.
Oriental Empires is a turn-based 4X style civilization-building game set in ancient China. It will feature both single-player campaigns as well as a multiplayer mode. Oriental Empires covers the period from earliest recorded history, until the widespread adoption of firearms (roughly 1500 BC to 1500 AD) and aims to realistically depict the world of ancient China, with a focus on the unique aspects of that civilization. This extremely deep strategy game includes both a historic scenario on a realistic period map of China and skirmish-style scenarios on random or user-generated maps.
- Rich history
- Combat fun
- No identity
- Messages cluttered
- No real tutorial