Have you ever wondered what occupied your ancestors 1000 years ago? How did they keep themselves busy? What kind of lives did they have? Did you ever stopped to think that if they hadn’t done whatever it was they did back then, the world as we know it may have been drastically different from what it is now? Perhaps you might not have existed… You… no matter who you are, where you are or what you do, are your Ancestor’s Legacy.
Type: Single-player, Multiplayer
Developer: Destructive Creations
Publisher: 1C Company
Release Date: 22 May, 2018
A Touch Of Negativity
Ancestors Legacy has been officially released. It isn’t flying the beta flag, or the Early Access tag, however, it isn’t quite finished yet. There are campaigns that are labeled as coming soon, and there are still some game breaking bugs, but, nonetheless, what is there is a pretty decent entry into the rock-paper-scissors style squad-based tactics genre. First, let’s get the negatives out of the way before we get into the nitty-gritty of the game. First off, a few of the missions contain game breaking bugs that will either severely hamper your ability to progress, or they will end your reign completely. For example, there is one mission that seems to crash every few minutes. This only impacts that one mission, but the autosave will have your back so that you can simply reset your progress back to the last auto-save and keep on going until you finish the mission.
Unfortunately, the game bugged once I managed to get near the end of that mission. The game gave me a new objective to complete (throwing away the old objective), however, it didn’t place the units on the map required to complete the mission. To make it just a little more frustrating, I am pretty sure the objective it gave was actually from a different map entirely. Nonetheless, the game is perfectly stable outside of that one mission. Still, there was actually one campaign ending bug that happened in another chapter for another faction entirely. This particular bug occurred when I was supposed to receive control of the allied troops. In the first time, the game automatically gave me control of the first set of troops as it was supposed to, however, it only worked the first time I attempted the level. Since the allied hero decided to act randomly, like going for a suicide run (alone without support) against a large number of enemy soldiers, I ended up failing the mission and having to reset back to the last save.
This time, however, I wasn’t able to gain control of the allied troops, they just sat there. Surely enough, the enemy units made short work of them because they just remained in place unmoving, not even defending themselves properly unless that specific unit was attacked. This lead to a battle raging on between one unit against a massive horde of enemy units, while the rest of the squad stood around beside them, basically talking about how it was “a nice day for fishing, ain’t it.” Having managed to beat the first wave of enemy attacks thanks to my hero alone (and a ton of retreating to heal up), I came to the point where I was supposed to be given a second set of troops after heading to the waypoint. Alas, instead of coming under my control, they retreated to the upper corner of the map and just sat there, doing nothing to protect the town. I did manage to hold off the enemy advance quite well until, once again, the allied hero pretty much committed suicide, thus failing the mission for me, yet again. I tried restarting the level at the beginning in the hopes that it would fix the issue, however, the level remained unplayable due to the inability to build your own units, and also due to the inability to control the units that I was supposed to gain control of.
About The Game
Now, with the negativity out of the way, let’s talk about the game itself. If you ignore the issues I had, the game actually is pretty decent. It doesn’t really break any new ground in the genre, but it isn’t just a rehash either. The game actually has base building elements to it, but you are not exactly designing your own base as the buildings all have predetermined build locations. The way it works is that, first, you select a building for construction, and then it will automatically go to the spot allocated to it. On the other hand, resources come from capturing neighboring towns and then holding them against the enemy’s advancements. The bigger your income, the better you can outfit and support your troops, even if it is just to keep their morale up once you have bought everything possible.
The game allows you to upgrade your troops in different ways, first off, you get to pick what kind of troops you want to use, and once you acquire them, they can have their armor upgraded twice, which serves to keep them alive in combat for a little longer. Another way of upgrading comes from combat itself because as each unit experiences more combat, the more experience it will gain. Experience gains allow your troops to level up four times, with the first level allowing you to pick a specialization for your troops, and the other three levels simply enhancing them. Once they reach level 5, they have reached their peak effectiveness. To preserve their lives, you have the ability to retreat wounded units and rebuild their strength back at your base. This is the more economical option, as your experience gains, as well as armor, is retained even if only one member of the unit made it back to the base. While each faction has their own special unit, the rest of the units are fairly common between the factions. They do have different names, but they are effectively the same unit as they fit the same role.
An interesting unit to talk about is the archer. The archer is fantastic at taking out melee units (other than shield units) from a distance so that their squad is more easily defeated by your own melee units. There is one really nice bit of realism in this game, and that is the fact that archers are not perfect, they can and will accidentally turn friendly units into pincushions just as swiftly as they will do the same to the enemy units. In fact, sometimes archers can make you lose a battle simply because they took out too many of your own units. This might sound annoying, but in reality, it actually helps with the realism, as well as keeping you on your toes when it comes to battlefield tactics. Beware of friendly fire! This did provide a one-time advantage for me though, as archers hitting their own troops essentially turned a crushing defeat into a pyrrhic victory for me. There was this time when I was badly outnumbered, due to dividing my forces in an attempt to rapidly expand into neighboring towns. The enemy launched a full-scale attack at my main city and had their archers raining arrows down onto the battlefield. Luckily, they took out a number of the enemy Level 5 units for me, letting my lower level units clean up as my cavalry charged back and ran through the enemy archer lines. It’s things like that that make this style of game quite thrilling and challenging.
Combat in the game is as tactical as you would want it to be. If you want to control individual units you can, and if you want to form up control groups you can do that as well. Generally speaking, in this type of game, you are better off making a bunch of control groups based on each individual unit type. This is due to the fact that they often have a special ability which you won’t have access to if you don’t have direct control over that unit type. It also helps you be a little more tactical. Why waste arrows shooting at a shield unit when you could fire them at a squishier sword or spear wielder? Why send sword or shield units against mounted cavalry when your spear units make short work of their horses? If you just select all units and throw them at the enemy, it can definitely work, but you are better off playing smarter than that.
A good example is a shield unit versus an archer. If you are controlling the shield unit, you can tell them to raise their shields which will virtually eliminate any threat the arrows would have posed to them. Are your spears outnumbered? Have them form a defensive ring and push back the enemy soldiers. Laying traps is another great way to help turn the tide of battle, as it can really thin the enemy numbers that you will have to face. That’s a two-way street though, since the enemy can lay traps as well. Luckily if you are moving in a defensive stance, your foot soldiers can detect and remove enemy traps before they are sprung on you.
Let’s pause the usual flow for a moment and talk about the graphics as they go hand in hand with the combat. Despite meeting the recommended requirements, I found this game to experience a lot of slowdowns when playing on the highest settings, dropping it back one notch made the game run smoothly for me. This is probably due to one of the most interesting features this game has to offer, and that is the fact that bodies litter the battlefield. Every soldier who died in the epic war you are waging remains laying on the battlefield as a bloody corpse for the duration of the level. Usually, in these sorts of games, the computer quickly scrubs the battlefield clean of anything that could act as a reminder or testament of the follies of war to reduce the processing power required, but this game leaves them as a reflection of your faded glories and a memento of your past defeats.
You can clearly see that each unit has received a decent amount of attention to make them look good, including pretty detailed armor when you zoom in closer to them. The nice thing about this is that, just because there is a bunch of the same unit type, they do not all look identical. There is some variation to the hairstyle or shield paint, and other personalizations that the soldier did to make themselves stand out a bit. The battlefields all have sufficient detail to make them enjoyable to navigate around either zoomed in or zoomed out. Even the combat itself can be interesting to watch from time to time, and things like siege machines launching rocks and breaking down walls is a nifty feature, however, it appears that they can only be used on certain spots on walls so it isn’t quite as much fun as could be, but it still is quite interesting.
Getting back to the gameplay, most of the time you will be working your way around the battlefield taking on minor skirmishes in an attempt to expand your zone of control. You will then spend some time defending your land, or retaking your land should you fail to defend it. Eventually, you will have to storm the gates and complete actual objectives. There was this one mission that I knew that it was going to lead to my ally betraying me, so I ended up taking my entire force into their main base and just parked it there near their strategic buildings. Then when their sudden, yet inevitable betrayal occurred, my forces leveled their city. This seemed to confuse the AI as the enemy leader just froze in one spot and waited for my forces to walk up and stab him. Each of the missions in the game has some element in them that makes them a little different than the other missions you have been on. You might be defending ships, infiltrating a base stealthily, or even just aiding an ally on their conquest. While the core gameplay is roughly the same in every mission regardless of the objectives, and each faction has pretty much the same base troops, there is enough variety to keep you wanting to continue. There are currently four factions with plans for there to be two five-chapter campaigns per faction. That isn’t the case right now, but it is getting there.
The music and sound in this game suit it perfectly. The music helps to keep you in the fighting spirit, and the sound effects make the battles seem a little more real. The voice acting for the heroic units and in the pre-mission animatic storytelling sounds on point for the nationality being depicted. They even managed to capture the character’s distinct personalities quite well in their dialogue. Also, when the order to retreat is issued, units start shouting “Retreat!”, and they keep on shouting periodically until they either have run far enough or have reached the base (depending on which retreat order was issued to them).
I utilized the keyboard and mouse as that is the typical for the genre control for this sort of game and the controls seem to be fine. Initially, there are some awkward key combos to get the hang of, but once you do they appear to be quite smooth. Sometimes it feels like it ignores some commands, but as a whole, it seems to work quite well.
So, should you get Ancestors Legacy? If you enjoy squad-based tactics games then Ancestors Legacy is a pretty decent game. If you enjoy games set in historic times rather than more modern times, then it is also definitely a game that you will likely want to check out. If you can forgive some the bugs and issues that are in the game right now due to it still being in development, then go ahead and give it a go. It’s likely that it would be preferable to pick it up after all the campaigns are completed and the bugs have been ironed out, because they really sapped the fun out of it when that one mission started crashing repeatedly, and then the other mission kept bugging out. All in all, Ancestors Legacy is one to keep your eye on.