Humankind Review — Culture War

Ambitious in the scope and meticulous in the detail of its genre reinvention, Humankind is a 4X strategy game that steps out from the shadow of Sid Meier’s Civilization series. In parts, it does so boldly, both confident that probing questions were asked of the most tired genre assumptions and ready to respond with enlightening answers. But oftentimes it feels ill-prepared for the task at hand, and for all its spirited enthusiasm, Humankind struggles for coherence.

Departing furthest from 4X tradition is the way in which you’re able to alter your empire’s abilities over the course of the game rather than having them defined by a selection at the outset. Typically, in a Civ-style 4X, when you opt to play as Cleopatra, you’ll be the Egyptians for the whole game, with her handful of leader abilities set in stone and providing the same bonuses whether you’re in the Classical or Industrial Age. Similarly, when you encounter Teddy Roosevelt leading the neighbouring American empire, you know what to expect. It makes for a consistent, readable experience.

In Humankind, you choose a generic, blank slate leader at the start of a new game. Then, as your empire advances from one historical era to the next, you are able to pick a new culture to adopt for that era. So you might choose to be the Egyptians in the Ancient Era, switch to the Romans for the Classical Era, then the Khmer, the Ottomans, and so on. Cultures come with abilities that emphasise different play styles, allowing you a deal of flexibility to change tack mid-game as new circumstances arise. They also carry over certain legacy bonuses so that the effects of your previous cultural choices are still felt in later eras.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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