Citadels Review (PC)
Nostalgia is a dangerous companion for the modern gamer. It causes them to make rash decisions based on memories from years and years ago; memories of a better time, when looking in the Encyclopedia of a certain strategy game, you would actually (gasp!) learn something! Citadels… I really wanted to love you. But you broke my heart. You’ve lured me in with your pretty face (which, up close, isn’t all that great, to be honest with you) and your promises of good old days, and you just turned your back to me as soon as I got near…
Citadels is, at heart, a medieval RTS. If you’re getting flashbacks of Age of Empires 2, or the Stronghold games (the good ones), stop. You’re going to fall in the same trap I did. There are the traditional modes of Campaign and Skirmish, but they’re just kind of there, because they are expected to be. The campaign missions take you through the workings of the game, but everything is so poorly explained, you might as well just try the Skirmish directly and not bother figuring out what the cards are for in Campaign mode. Oh, and if you think the campaign will take you against a cruel and cunning faction that you get to play as later on, you are very much mistaken. There is one important difference between you and the enemy: you are blue, the enemy is red. No unique units (other than King Arthur, who is transformed from a peasant like a more hardcore Cinderella), just the same old units running around everywhere. Even here there is little variation: you have the token swordsmen, archers, cavalry and siege weapon, all of which upgrade linearly. The mechanic of sending peasants to the appropriate building to train them as that troop is a nice addition, but it becomes completely hilarious when a peasant becomes a freely moving, sentient catapult.
In fact, the game has a few interesting mechanics that fall flat because of poor implementation. The peasants have to run back and forth and get the supplies to the building site before they start to build, but this becomes infuriating when you want to build an advance fortification, especially because your whole builder team goes to the building site, just waits there and gets shot at while the runner gets some rocks from the town centre. Troops automatically form up into ranks, but only after you tell them to move. Also, while you can group them the old fashioned way by pressing Ctrl + number key, there is absolutely no indication of this ability, I just instinctively did it and it worked.
Citadels is not the game you want if you want to reminisce over those good old days. It is an unfinished product that costs as much as a full game. It will make you cynical and bitter. The worst thing about this game is that, even without the broken content in it and the subpar AI, it still doesn’t have enough content to justify its price tag. It’s a small and relatively simple games, as far as RTSs go. I have to give bonus points to the developer for putting out a patch that did fix a lot of the terrible glitches the game shipped with, but I’m afraid it was too little, too late. I cannot explain some of the design decisions taken in this game, but I can only hope the developer learns from this mistake, because there is potential here. Until then, the medieval RTS is dead to me. Thanks, Citadels.
1.5 Sentient Catapult-Men out of 5Citadels Review (PC),