Ancestors Legacy is the third game from Polish developers Destructive Creations, and the first on PlayStation. This time they explore historical events set between the 8th and 13th Century, with ambitious real-time strategy. Learn more in our Ancestors Legacy review!
As you start the game, you’ll see that there is a choice of four different nations to play with: the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Germans, and Slavs. Each of them has two campaigns of five missions each, giving players a lengthy single-player mode to tackle. Since they all cover different periods and historical events, they don’t necessarily need to all be played consecutively to follow the overall story, making it easy to play a campaign and come back some other time to complete another one or even take on some multiplayer matches. If you’ve ever, or say, watched the TV series Vikings, you’ll recognize some of the names that will be mentioned.
After starting up a campaign, the one for Vikings will serve as a tutorial to help you learn the basics. You’ll be battling it out in a real-time strategy (RTS) which feels different from, say, classics such as Starcraft or Command & Conquer. The first thing I noticed is how there is a big focus on the story while playing the missions. You often get “interrupted” (not in a bad way) because your heroes will be talking to each other or noticing enemy troops passing by, which makes things a bit more interesting than just doing the usual resource management, creating units, and attacking gameplay cycle.
When you’re out there on the battlefield, you’ll be selecting squads that consist of a few units per group. This makes the difficulty of controlling an RTS game on consoles a bit easier, as you don’t have to try to precisely select units by moving around the analog stick. There are also a few options for you to select all your squads, only the ones on screen, or one by one, which seemed a bit confusing at first but eventually became clear as I played through some of the missions.
The way you plan your attacks also differs from what you see in traditional RTS games, as there is a much more tactical approach to this. There is long foliage you can sneak into so that you are not noticed by your enemies, which can lead to a big advantage when you surprise your enemies. Being able to flank some squads will also play a big role in your battles, especially when you’re outnumbered. There are also different unit types that will have advantages or weaknesses against other types, which you can clearly see when you hover your cursor over units.
Visually, the game has some nice environments to explore in the maps you visit, and at any time you can choose to zoom in pretty close to the squads you’re controlling. This allows you to see some pretty epic battles between large squads, but at the same time not as good animations at some moments when there are, for example, three soldiers fighting against a single one, and some of the soldiers will be stabbing the air with their spears instead of their actual opponent. The soundtrack, on the other hand, was just incredible. I stayed on the campaign selection screen for quite some time to hear the Vikings-inspired music that was playing.
When I got the game for review, my first feeling was skepticism, because RTS games on consoles have a pretty bad record and it’s probably the reason why they are so scarce. Controlling an RTS with a gamepad is so much harder than with a mouse and keyboard. When I got started and learned all the ways I could select my squads, I honestly felt confused. And no matter how hard I tried to follow the instructions from the menu, I was never able to assign a group to one of the arrow buttons. Luckily though, that feeling faded away a bit as I played more missions, making it an overall pleasant experience.
With that being said, the way the story is told with the cutscenes between missions, the in-mission dialogues, it’s all done in a way that makes you want to continue playing. It might be the lack of RTS games in recent years, but I found the game to be difficult to beat even on the easiest of the settings. You can’t just rush in hoping for the best, as there is a lot of planning involved, so frequent saves are highly suggested.
As for the trophies, there are a lot of them that will be unlocked for completing all of the campaigns, with no minimum difficulty required. Other than those, a lot of them should unlock naturally as you play. There are some trophies related to multiplayer. As in a lot of games, those can be the ones that make or break the possibility of getting your Platinum trophy. In the end, it all depends on how skilled you’ll be.
Destruction Creations have done something that we almost never see: release an RTS game that’s enjoyable on consoles. It’s probably not the best way to experience the genre compared to playing on a computer, but they still managed to pull it off with some really interesting campaign stories and lots of content to enjoy.
PSN Price: $29.99
This Ancestors Legacy Review review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Destructive Creations.