If I was asked, “How would you describe the game in a few words?” my answer would be unambiguous: If you don’t know how to use sources and are a masochist, this is for you. But if you still want to read Settlers New Allies review, go ahead.
The Settlers: New Allies review / PC
The Settlers: New Allies is a real-time strategy game developed by Ubisoft Dusseldorf, renamed Blue Byte. Those who are familiar with me know that RTS games are among my favourite game genres after the Diablo series. Don’t let the fact that I’m also a fan of series like Uncharted and Tomb Raider fool you. RTS has a special place in me. I played Age of Empires, Starcraft or C&C series for many years. I also played the first Settlers game for a long time, but for some reason that game didn’t grab me as much as the others.
Over the years, when the interest of companies in the RTS genre decreased, it was hard to find games in that genre. This also led to a decrease in the interest of the gamers. RTS games have been a genre that has been disappearing over time. Although the occasional productions excite me, they don’t impress me like before. Therefore, I was very happy when I heard that Settlers New Allies would be released. However, after installing the game, I thought that my enthusiasm would be lost. But I continued to play without giving up.
I don’t expect a story mode in strategy games, but Ubisoft has added it to the game, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the game alone. The game starts quite tragically. Even though we are peaceful people, our village is raided by bandits and we have to flee as the governor of the city. Moreover, leaving many people behind. We carry the sadness of this throughout the game.
We decide to go to distant lands and settle in the homeland of our ancestors. But there is a problem: We do not know where that homeland is. For this reason, we have to collect clues by travelling from island to island. However, there are bandits or enemies wherever we go. While protecting our temporary village against their attacks, we need to provide the resources necessary for our development. Of course, we must also continue our research.
Settlers New Allies contains all the elements found in real-time strategy games. Collect resources, create soldiers, attack enemies and expand our territory. At this point, you may think that we are no different from the bandits who attacked us first. However, what we encounter is always hostile communities. There is no need to feel guilty.
In the following processes, we also encounter communities that will ally with us, and we fight together or defend them from enemies.
I’ve told you all this so that you can see the flow of the game, but the real review part starts after that. Because although it seems to have everything we expect from a strategy game, the way the mechanics are adapted can be very boring.
I will start by explaining what I experienced in the first chapter. Since I experienced the same situation many times in the following chapters, it will help you understand the mechanics in general.
The first level, which is the tutorial, tells about our development in the lands we settled in after escaping from our village. However, there is a very important information not given here. Resource utilisation. As the first task, we need to build a sawmill. We immediately place our factory next to the first wood we see. In the other tasks that follow, there are coal or iron production facilities. By the way, I should mention that you do not need to assign workers to these facilities after you build them. The game does this on your behalf.
Disaster of resource management
As a series of missions continues, your village begins to be built up. However, in order to complete the next mission, you need to build a barracks and you have enough wood to build it. When you go and check on your men, you realise that the forest is gone. You have no resources to build a new factory next to another forest. At this point, you get desperate and start to search on the internet “I wonder how others have overcome this problem?”. It seems that many people suffer from this issue.
When I said let’s start over, this time the game locked up. When I completely restarted the game, I saw that my village was still the same. Fortunately, this time it didn’t crash when I restarted and I started the village from scratch, watching all the cinematics of course. But this time I was more careful and checked the trees, and when I noticed that some forests had regrown, I built my factory next to them.
Now that we have solved the wood problem, it’s time to continue. In the game, engineers build everyting, roads and do research in mines. I have to say that all buildings in the village must be connected to each other by roads. Otherwise, the materials produced in a facility will not reach to the warehouse. When you decide to build a new structure, you assign a task to your engineers. Your workers go to the warehouse and take the materials from there to the construction site.
As your village grows, this time the problem of transport to the warehouse starts. The time between your workers taking the product from the warehouse and bringing it to the construction site increases. The solution to this problem is either to build another warehouse in a closer location or to turn your dirt roads into stone roads. Of course, you will need stone in this case.
When I barely reached the fourth chapter, I was confronted with the realities of life. It was a difficult chapter and I was constantly attacked by enemies and could not develop. I decided to build a lot of towers in the directions that the attackers came to protect the village from their attacks. I thought that I could increase the number of soldiers and counterattack while they were stalling them.
At first my plan seemed to be working. However, I had marked many areas to build towers and my villagers were having a hard time supplying them with building materials. While investigating the reason for this, I realised that the soldiers were also being depleted from the population. I thought that if I built a few houses, the number of workers would increase and the materials would taken from the warehouse to the construction site faster. However, the truth was waiting for me. The workers would first complete the towers and then move on to transport the materials needed for house construction.
I was stubborn because I had spent hours starting over three times in this chapter and I was not going back to the beginning. I made myself a cup of tea, went out for a while and got some air. In the meantime, the game was playing itself. At the end of about two hours, the workers started to bring materials for the house.
In the systematics of the game, you only need to use the logic that established by the developer. Otherwise, a difficult process will await you like me.
In the following chapters, I also told you that you ally with other communities and fight against your common enemies. In one such chapter, I sent my men to a part of the map to reconnaissance. By the way, I have to say that there are also units that you can produce only for exploration. They go around secretly and give information, but I didn’t prefer it much.
In accordance with the concept of exploring and pioneering unknown lands, The Settler: New Alliance has a very long gameplay. Depending on the map, the industrial system listed above can take a long time to set up. It will take more time than if you had to train a large army to attack the opponent’s camp and achieve victory in battle.
The biggest shortcoming in previous Settlers games was the combat mechanics. Although in other RTS games you need to develop both technologically and in terms of units in order to prevail, Settlers New Allies did not give me this feeling. Because in the incident I mentioned above, I was victorious when I attacked the enemy with more soldiers without developing my men. This is a bad legacy left from the previous versions of the game.
When the genre of the game is strategy, one inevitably expects a more complex structure. However, the logic of “the one with the most army wins” leads you to attack here and there like a rabid dog after a while, which can sometimes be frustrating. When we consider Age of Empires, you must remember that we had to go through three levels to get to the level of Knight. Unfortunately, a similar situation does not exist in this game.
The Settlers: New Alliance should have taken into account the recent development of the genre if it wanted to position itself as a competitive real-time strategy. Especially when five years have passed since the game was announced, I would certainly have expected something much better. Simplified industrial development, undevelopable structures, and a new user base that expects a competitive RTS do not seem to be able to meet the needs of the new user base.
Of course, we also have to consider the company’s point of view from the other side. The game is also coming to consoles. Therefore, simplified interface and ease of playing are very important, especially for Nintendo Switch. However, the fact that this is also reflected in the PC version will be a bit disappointing for AAA players.
If Ubisoft had released this game only for tablets or consoles, I think it would have received much better scores.
I’m not saying “don’t buy” this game, there were times when I had fun playing it, but you need serious patience to endure all these mistakes. After some good updates, the game can come to better places. After all, games in this genre can be played for many years. But until an update, I’m done.
Note: I played Settlers New Allies for about 3-4 days while reviewing it, but the multiplayer and store menus did not work. When I searched on the internet, I saw that this was not specific to me and that it was turned off shortly after the game was published. For this reason, it is not possible for me to write my comments about them at that point. I will update the The Settlers: New Allies review when I reach to that menus.
If you still want to play the game you can buy it on the Epic Games Store.