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I’ve been playing strategy games for an awful long time now and so I know a good strategy game when I see one. For those of you who have played any of the Settlers series will know exactly what I’m talking about in this opinion and for those who haven’t heard or even played Settlers then this is a good time to take note. Instead of boring you with irrelevant information about the games building types, army soldiers, materials, tribes, etc.. I’m going to tell you why not to buy the latest Settlers IV & how it compares to the original Settlers.
This is how I would begin describe the original Settlers
¤ - Fun ¤ - Exciting ¤ - Addictive ¤ - Amazing ¤ - Original
On the other hand this is how I would begin to describe the latest Settlers IV game:
¤ - Boring ¤ - Lacks originality ¤ - Game looks untidy (will explain later) ¤ - Poor graphics ¤ - Poor gameplay ¤ - Settlers IV takes for ever – sooner or later you will lose interest
How can a game that was considered (for some it still is) one of the best strategy games of all time, suddenly produce such a contrast to the original Settlers? – Simple really - The makers Bluebyte have run out of ideas, the signs were already there when Settlers 3 was released (another flop in my opinion) but Settlers IV confirms that it is time to leave this classic game alone and start to come up with something new. Bluebyte have drained all possible angles on how to improve the game and this is evident when playing Settlers IV. The game no longer has its traditional feel to it and the sooner Bluebyte realize this the better.
When a game is so successful then expectations for the sequel are high – However, Bluebyte did manage to match those high expectations when releasing Settlers 2 – a true gem of a game and one to add to your collection if you haven`t already got it. Since then it’s been downhill for the Settlers series – both 3 & IV are flops and do not come no where near as close in matching Settlers 1 & 2. To be fortunate enough to produce two excellent strategy games, one after another is rare but to produce four is virtually impossible. The only stategy game that has managed to do this is Championship Manager and that is only because the games statistics change season after season.
New changes in Settlers IV ***************************
¤ - New military & special units – you can also build warships ¤ - New Zoom function ¤ - The Dark Tribe – Transforms fertile terrain into wasteland ¤ - New redesigned interface ¤ - Magic Powers
Despite all of these changes, Settlers IV has not been able to surpass it predecessors in overall gameplay and graphics. Its over complexity tells me that Bluebyte have tried too hard this time around and instead of enjoying the game you can easily lose interest as everything in Settlers IV takes for ever. Bluebyte seem to think that gamers have nothing else to do with their time but spend hours if not days building an economy – there is less military conflict, which only makes the game less interesting.
Another thing that annoys me is not being able to control the movements of the working peasants – this hinders the gameplay as most stand around doing nothing, taking up space and confusing matters when trying to build new buildings. The game looks untidy and the graphics are a big disappointment. Although the scope of the game is vast, with three missions available for each race – each mission needs to be completed before moving onto the next mission along with lots of buildings and tools to construct, I cannot really see many gamers actually finishing this game purely because it lacks excitement & does not have the same addictiveness as Settlers 1 & 2. - Basically Settlers IV will not draw you in like the others did - Instead you will find the game boring , time consuming and sooner or later you will lose interest and pack the whole thing up.
Settlers IV - The three races are :
¤ - The Romans ¤ - The Mayans ¤ - The Vikings
Bottom Line *************
The bottom line is that Settlers IV will still sell truckloads this Christmas – Many expecting something new and different and to be honest many of you will be disillusioned, I surely was. You are better of buying either Settlers 1 & 2 for under £15 than spending £30 on Settlers IV. Bluebyte have produced some excellent software games over the years but this recent release has not helped the Settlers series, its time for a new direction and a new game. I seriously hope Bluebyte don’t make a Settlers V.