Manor Lords: It’s a Very Good Game, but It Still Has a Long Way to Go

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Manor Lords is an upcoming strategy game that has generated a lot of excitement among fans of the genre. Developed by the small studio Slavic Magic, this game promises to deliver a unique blend of city-building simulation, resource management, and real-time tactical combat. Inspired by the medieval era, Manor Lords offers players the chance to step into the shoes of a lord of a small town and lead it to greatness.

The game is available in Early Access, and I must admit that playing it is quite enjoyable. It already has many elements, but there are also many things that are not yet fully developed or properly thought out. It’s evident that this is an early access game, and it’s concerning that it is being developed by only one person. This will undoubtedly affect the pace of future updates and work on the game itself.

Manor Lords stands out among other strategy games due to its attention to detail and realism. The game combines elements of city management with intense battles that take place in real-time. Players must manage resources, develop infrastructure, trade, and keep their inhabitants satisfied.

One of the key aspects of the game is the realistic city-building model. Each building can be placed anywhere, and its location has a real impact on the efficiency of the town. Roads, warehouses, and farmland – all of these can be planned according to one’s own preferences, allowing for great freedom in creating unique settlements.

I would compare the game to another title that kept me engaged for dozens of hours, and which is also available in early access. I am talking about Farthest Frontier, which I had the opportunity to review earlier. In that game, we also build a settlement, but the aspect of survival and resource management is even more significant. In my opinion, Farthest Frontier does everything better, but it has a poorly designed combat system and looks slightly worse in terms of optimization and graphics.

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In Manor Lords, at the beginning, we can obtain food from berry bushes and by hunting animals in marked locations. In Farthest Frontier, we have wild-growing vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, bird eggs, medicinal roots, herbs, willow for wicker, etc. These resources are available depending on the seasons. Some are available earlier, others later, and this means we have to strongly consider seasonality in the development of the village. In Farthest Frontier, we can fish, which is not possible in Manor Lords, and we hunt wolves, boars, and deer. These animals are available as larger and smaller herds that can migrate or even disappear completely, creating an additional factor to consider in village development. At any moment, our villagers can be attacked by a bear that breaks into the village to steal food. It must also be noted that there are different types of warehouses, and it is always visible to the naked eye what they are filled with. Collecting honey, cabbage, animal skins – all these will be displayed outside the warehouse, which is a great detail. In the later stages of the game, we can also raise cattle, chickens, goats, which provide various resources that can be further processed, which is important. Raw meat or fish spoil faster and may not be suitable for eating by our villagers in winter. This is great fun and quite complex, which is entirely absent in Manor Lords. We also have towers, barracks, horse riding, etc. All these things are missing in the Polish game.

However, thanks to the UnrealEngine4 engine, Manor Lords looks much better, with greater depth and three-dimensionality. The game offers beautiful, detailed landscapes and realistic models of buildings and characters. Dynamic changes in weather and seasons add realism and impact gameplay, e.g., in winter, residents use more wood for heating, and some resources become unavailable.

The battles are also much better and more exciting. In Farthest Frontier, it feels like bandit raids are always conducted unfairly against the player, and controlling the military is a nightmare. Manor Lords features an advanced combat system reminiscent of classic real-time strategy games. Battles are fought on a large scale, and players must tactically manage their units, using terrain and formations to gain an advantage over the enemy. Realistic physics and detailed animations add depth and realism to the battles, making each battle exciting and challenging. And I must admit that I really liked this aspect, although it lacks features like picking up weapons from fallen soldiers, etc.

The developers of Manor Lords have paid great attention to historical authenticity. The architecture, weaponry, clothing, and even the daily life of the inhabitants have been designed with great precision to capture the atmosphere of the medieval era. This allows players to feel like real lords of old times, managing their domains with attention to the smallest details.

The game is still in early access, so some things can be overlooked. There are several elements that will certainly be improved in the future. For example, we have no control over resource production, which is quite crucial in this type of game. In other titles, we have charts where we can see production, consumption, etc. Here, there is no such thing. Even if we set up a vegetable garden near a house, we are told that the efficiency or quantity depends on the size of the field. But still, we can’t find out – either before or after construction – what production we will achieve in a given place. For instance, you can create a huge field for chickens, but in the animation, there will be a maximum of three chickens and a small coop. And it’s unclear whether the larger field contributed anything to egg production.

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The soundtrack also enhances the medieval atmosphere, with ambient nature sounds and epic music accompanying the battles. Here, the music doesn’t bother me, although I definitely prefer the one from Farthest Frontier.

Summary

Manor Lords is an ambitious production with the potential to revolutionize the strategy game genre. The combination of city management, realistic combat, and attention to historical detail makes this game look very promising. Currently, the game is not perfect but has the potential to go in the right direction.

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Jakub Markiewicz
Jakub Markiewiczhttps://jotem.in
Hi, I am the author of the Jotem.in blog and series of thematic portals since 2013. I have nearly 15 years of experience in working in the media, marketing, public relations and IT. If you are interested in cooperation, you would like me to write about something or test a product - let me know.
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