When it comes to top down, real-time strategy games, there’s only a few that take the mantle and rained supreme for me; but I can truly say that Ancestors Legacy is likely to join those ranks, though there’s a a few small issues. As you may expect, AL will involve killing, pillaging and general destroying of anything and everything in your way.
This medieval slaughter house of a game is one with plenty of story to keep you entertained, and enough gameplay to keep coming back for harder challenges. Starting off on our adventure, we have a total of four factions to choose between; the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Germans and the Slavs. The opening four missions see’s you default to the Vikings, while the game teaches you the ropes, but after that, you’re free to choose.
Each faction has two story scenarios for them, with five missions a piece. Of course, each one is a bit longer and more challenging then the last. But with 40 solid levels to keep you busy, and three different difficulty settings to start you off with, there will be plenty of ways to challenge yourself. The great thing about AL is how you follow the story of a tribe or group in each of the factions. The first being Jarl Ulf Ironbeard; his story is one of conquer and plunder as he and the other Vikings land in an Anglo-Saxon town. Of course, you are met by heavy resistance, and will need to fight your way through.
As an RTS game, I’m sure some of you will realise what’s going to be expected of you in game. For those unfamiliar, however, you will basically be controlling small groups of troops, capturing town halls, burning down barracks and killing all the enemies in each mission. Each mission basically follows the same principle; get as many troops together as you can, survive several onslaughts, then destroy the opponents objective. The general layout of the game borders on just the right level of hectic, with plenty of action and things to think about, but it never got too overwhelming.
There are plenty of cool little mechanics built into the game – for instance, when moving your troops around the battlefield you will be able to hide them in long grass or wheat fields and sneak almost right up to your opponents. This is great to stop enemies alerting others to your presence, however if you are overrun and need to escape you can simply tap two buttons and the surviving troops will retreat back to the main base on the map. You can keep building troops as long as you have the settlement size, and just keep pushing the enemy back.
When it comes to the units, there’s plenty of differences between each faction, in both appearance and abilities. You’ll build these units as each match progresses, and as you use them in battle they’ll level up. The more battle hardened they are, the stronger they get. Another great little mechanic is that you are able to heal the surviving members of your army in-between battles. This opens the door for strategic play when trying to take down a strong hold from multiple angles. You’ll need to gather resources and supplies to fund all this though. Run out, and you will soon have hungry troops, unable to fight to their fullest – and likely end up paying the ultimate price.
As you capture a town hall, you will be given the choice of materials you want your new slaves to gather for you. Depending on the surroundings, you’ll have access to lumber mills for timber, or farms for food or indeed a mine for metal. You’ll need to efficiently use all of these and more to be able to supplement your army with more troops, upgrades and buildings.
Buildings can be purchased, but can only have one of each different type, such as barracks, archery range, blacksmith etc. Even then, you will only be allowed a set number of tents and this will allow you to increase your troop size. Each faction will also offer you different traits and buffs to aid you in battles. The real down side to building up your base however is that each item is a set piece which is unable to be placed where you want it. This was a pain for me because I enjoy base building in these games, and to be unable to build to my own specification put a slight downer on the experience.
Visually, AL doesn’t hold back on the gory details during battles. The environment is colourful and looks fine. However, when you zoom in, the game doesn’t hold up so well. This is where you can see all the troops fighting and kicking butt, but the low quality visuals don’t really do the battles justice. Along with the sometimes really cheesy voice acting, this takes the impact out of what should’ve been some epic fight scenes. I do really like the comic book style art found in the cutscenes though.
Ancestors Legacy is a game of historical greatness, featuring real battles from times gone by, easy to grasp controls and some great stories. It has its bumps, but is a title that you will keep coming back to. Whether you’re a Viking lover or a Polish shield bearer, there is a faction for you. I’d liked to have seen some element of multiplayer through the campaign – as it is, though, there’s a pretty great RTS here for console players to get stuck in to.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.