The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom - Cheat Happens Game Review
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The Settlers 7:
Paths to a Kingdom

PC

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Blue Byte
Publisher: Ubisoft
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+


CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

You know, I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the video games industry – but I’ll admit I’ve never even heard of The Settlers series. Apparently I’m missing a ton though as its one of the best-selling strategy franchises of all time, with sales numbers surpassing 7 million units worldwide.  So when I finally did get my hands on the game, I was understandably excited to see what the big deal is.

I’m still wondering.

Sure, there’s a bit of fun to be had in The Settlers 7 and some cool innovations, but from beginning to end, I couldn’t help but feel like the title was missing something. Expecting to be wowed, all I found was a tedious game with some cool novelty acts, an organization problem and a deeply disturbing love of all things blur effect.  Oh, and it’s also got some of the worst DRM rule sets I’ve seen to date.

Let’s just address the big purple elephant in the room and get it out of the way – The Settlers 7 is the latest game from Ubisoft to require an always on internet connection. Yes, it’s unfair and yes it’s just as annoying as you’d think. Why should I need to be connected to the internet to play a single player game? To train? I’ve said it before, part of the beauty of playing a PC game is powering it up when you’re not able to access the internet – thanks for ruining that for me Ubisoft. Digital Rights Management is a growing problem in gaming, and The Settlers 7 is one of the worst cases yet.

"...a crisp and colorful cartoony tale that looked like it could have been crafted by Dreamworks."

 
   

Having never played the series before, I was a bit surprised at the game’s visual set. Judging from the game’s cover-art, I expected a dark and grim tale with matching visuals, but what I got was a crisp and colorful cartoony tale that looked like it could have been crafted by Dreamworks. Honestly, the closest thing I can compare The Settlers 7 to on a visual level is something like Fable 2 or World of Warcraft.  I also really enjoyed the game’s animated cutscenes, no matter how laughable the tale actually is.

At its heart, the gameplay in The Settlers 7 is of the typical Real Time Strategy vein. You’ll have to use your resources, build up your kingdom, defend it and then try to expand. But where The Settlers 7 stands out is how you’ll have to use your resources to keep your armies and citizens happy.  You see, underneath it all, The Settlers 7 is about your connections and how you manage them. It’s this that gives both your kingdom and the game in whole much of its personality.  For instance, some of my soldiers were partial to the taste of fine foods, so to keep them happy and ready to fight, I had to attach proper eateries to the noble-houses.

In principle, this is all well and good, but the game tries to offer too much, and as a result ends up shooting itself in the foot before it can really gain much momentum. One of the game’s PR selling points is the ability to claim victory in multiple ways, by either being a great war general or a great diplomat. The only problem is that throughout most of the game – and especially in the beginning – you often feel like your hand is being held and you’re being guided to whichever direction the game wants you to take. Sure, you can go against what the game obviously wants you to do but just be prepared to fail, a lot.

"... you point your armies where you want them to attack, click and let them go."

 
   

The Settlers 7’s combat is pretty much what you’d expect from the genre – you point your armies where you want them to attack, click and let them go. Like most RTS games, the most rewarding aspect of combat is when you’re able to upgrade your troops to be an unstoppable force and send them out to expand your kingdom. It’s a grueling process that takes a long time, but it’s also unquestionably rewarding.

The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom is a decent Real Time Strategy title that could have been so much more if it had delivered on some of the developer’s early promises. There are truly a lot of good ideas here, but unless you’re a fan of the series, they’re just not enough to warrant me recommending it. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Add Resources, Victory Points

Much like any RTS game, the key to The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom is your resources and how you use them. I’m going to be honest, I’m not very resourceful but thanks to the trainer at Cheat Happens, I don’t have to be.

You’ll of course be able to add coin to your wallet in order to better build up your kingdom, but you’ll also be able to add plank which makes it easier to advance your game.  The best part of the game though is the add victory point because you’ll be able to skip one of the game’s most uninspired aspects.

 

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