LifeisXbox’s Pax Augusta preview | Stories oft tell of the rise and fall of empires and conquerors in fantastical settings. But besides the history lessons you may get in school, or maybe that odd documentary you choose to watch on TV or the internet, how often do you engross yourself in these topics anymore? One of the sleeper hits at this year’s Gamescom indie-game scene, Pax Augusta, may just pique your interest. I had the pleasure to demo Pax Augusta together with Roger, the beating heart and solo developer behind the game last August.
ℹ️ Previewed on PC | Preview code provided by PR/publisher, this preview is the personal opinion from the writer and is based on an unfinished game.
An eye for detail
One of the key selling points that will make the heart of many a history buff sing is the deeply researched and faithfully recreated buildings, citizens and events you will find when playing. I’ve seen how buildings will react to where they are placed and what is around them. An example that stuck with me is how a certain house was given a slightly bigger plot, and thus the building didn’t just stretch the roof a bit further but generated an atrium in the correct position of the building. Or how a colosseum included the standing area for poor people and slaves. I could name a dozen more details from the way buildings were painted to how the people were dressed. Roger told me he’s done a lot of research and even works with historians to get all these details right because they matter a lot to him. And while I only tried the sandbox, I was told a story mode will also be present.
A time of peace
A deliberate choice that sets Pax Augusta apart from other games in it’s genre/niche is the exclusion of any sort of combat mechanics. While some violence may happen, it is definitely not the aim of the game and you won’t be able to quickly and directly intervene. Instead, it’s all about the cities, and at a larger scale the empire, you build. Because as they get wealthier, you will too, with all the political power and struggles that come with it. Will you use the profits to fill your own coffers, build lavish monuments in your name or invest in public infrastructure like bathhouses or aquaducts? Trade will also play an important role, as the work it creates keeps your people busy and their minds off uprisings and such. Throughout the conquered part of the Roman Empire you don’t have to worry that much, it’s the areas that are still crawling with barbarians that will cause you to worry. To protect your traders and cities alike you’ll be able to station legions in strategic locations to help safeguard your claim on the land. All for the sake of your peace, of course.
Pax Augusta knows what it wants to be, and what it doesn’t want to be, and through sheer passion already goes to great strengths to be exactly that. Roger told me how he was looking for a game with this kind of depth yet couldn’t find it. So instead of hanging his shoulders, he said: “Fine, I’ll do it myself” albeit without a magical gauntlet. Gameplay-wise I feel Pax Augusta can still be fleshed out in a lot of areas, but from what I gathered it’ll be a couple more years until we get our hands on a full release. I know I’ll be watching this from the sidelines for sure. If I piqued your interest, go give it a wishlist on Steam.
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.