If I had to describe Northgard in a single line, it would be “Age of Empires with Viking clans”. Apart from the visual aesthetic, you will see from the start how much Northgard plays similar to the Age of Empires. Age of Empires being my favourite series of all time makes it a very good thing.
Author: Abhigyan (BANNED from SoQ)
Steam: Early Access
Developer: Shiro Games
Publisher: Shiro Games
Release Date: 22 Feb, 2017
Northgard puts you in the Nordic boots of Vikings who are looking to expand their clan by accumulating other clans, defeating rivals, increasing your fame, killing monsters and such.
Northgard focuses on Vikings and does not give you any other civilization to play with. The Vikings themselves have different clans to choose from which give you extra starting and fame buffs. While that might sound like that there is no real diversity apart from buffs, the clans are different from each other in a certain distinctive way and they all play differently.
Nature plays a huge role in Northgard as the game wants you to prepare for upcoming seasons in advance. During winter, food is hard to come by and you are expected to stock up on them so that you can keep your citizens happy and fed. If the overall condition in your village is unhappiness then new villagers will be reluctant to join your clan. Apart from this, natural disasters like Earthquakes and rat plagues can absolutely devastate your clan and while it might seem unfair to some as there is some luck factor in that, the game never feels like its cheating. You need to account for your villagers lodging and everything which is basically the population system.
The game is pretty fast paced and the seasons pass by quicker than you’d imagine them to. You always need to be on your guard because years pass by quickly and you might not expect another winter soon. Some might not like this sort of pace in a game like this and I can see where they’re coming from. In a strategy game such as Northgard, players should be given appropriate time to manage their kingdoms. The game also features a XP system which increases slowly throughout the course of the game. You can also capture runestones at certain places which allows you to recruit Loremasters who increases the rate of accumulation of XP over time. Levelling up grants you an unlock which you can use to upgrade your clan.
There are modes where you can play against no rivals and just focus on expanding your kingdoms while still dealing with wolves, monsters and nature’s wrath. The AI itself is competent enough to provide some challenge and the procedural generation of maps means that there will be some time before it starts getting repetitive.
Being in early access, Northgard does lack in content and it is apparent right from the start. From the lack of number of clans to the small number of game modes and no addition of the multiplayer yet. There are a number of bugs present in the game and I did have a single crash to desktop once. But the gameplay of Northgard is simply fantastic and you can easily sink hours and hours in this game if you are an empire building game enthusiast.
Nothgard has a very unique visual aesthetic and it looks pretty fantastic and gets the Viking nature of the game right. There is a lot going on in the game visually at every given point of time on the screen and the colours really pop out. The detail present here is also astounding and I can only imagine what new types of maps can the devs pull out.
The soundtrack of Northgard is epic and fits in perfectly with the environment of the game. But there are quite a few audio bugs present with the soundtrack just cutting off at times in the middle of a game for minutes and then suddenly popping back in. But if these issues are fixed then Northgard sports an amazing soundtrack which compliments the game very well.
Northgard is an amazing game which takes a lot of cues from Age of Empires and looks to build upon them. There is a solid foundation present here but the devs to polish it up and add more content to make it a must buy. But even at its current price, I’d recommend Northgard to you if you are a strategy fan.