LifeisXbox’s TFC: The Fertile Crescent preview | The Fertile Crescent is one of the cradles of civilization since it is one of the earliest recorded regions where humans established civilization instead of living nomadically. And while this happened in several places independently like ancient China, Mesoamerica and Andes; the setting of The Fertile Crescent takes place roughly around the Levant and Mesopotamia region. It gained said title due to the rise of settled farming there, made all the more possible because of the Mediterranean sea in the West and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the east. Lots of interesting developments came from the civilizations of this region. Agriculture, writing, the wheel, glass and even, eventually, Wield Interactive who developed and The Knights of Unity who published The Fertile Crescent. Now let’s see if they truly let you go half circle.
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.
Growth über alles
While I’ve certainly heard of games like Age of Empires, I can’t claim to have a lot, or any, experience with them. Sure, I’ve played strategy and resource managing games before but it’s often the real-time aspect that gets me overrun by AI and players alike. It honestly took me a couple of losses against the beginner AI before I started getting into the swing of things. Every game starts you with a handful of villagers and someone that will settle the village centre. This building is essential for your civilization to grow and thrive, as you only get one, and it is the only way to gain new villagers. How many villagers you can sustain will depend on a number of factors. Is there enough housing and food, and are you farming enough of it to sustain that growth? While foraging and hunting will generate a lot in the early stages, you’ll want to get your farms set up post haste for when those run out. But not all your villagers should work on farms. To build your buildings you need other resources like clay and wood. While you can just gather wood from trees without any buildings, clay can only be dug up in claypits on soil that is marked slightly blue. Forests will eventually be cut down and clay pits dug up, yet by the time it comes to that you mostly have a second or third one operational. And it’s these activities that will keep your economy strong and let you prosper. Because you need a healthy surplus to raise and maintain your armies for the battles to come.
Warriors of old
With your economy stable and producing a slight or steady surplus, you will want to prepare for the war that is to come. While your villagers are able to prod one another with a stick or throw stones until either they or their target keels over, it is preferable to let actual warriors handle the warring. To get started you’ll want to construct barracks for close-quarters fighters and archery ranges for ranged troops. At first, you’ll start off with axe wielders and sling users, but this roster can be expanded once you build a palace. These new units will have more specializations and tactical advantages. As such an archer can deal a lot of damage from far away but are very weak to melee combatants. There’s even a unit with a shield and great spear that is expressly resistant to their shots, thus making for an efficient counter if they break through the frontline of battle. At the time of writing, however, unit variety is sadly quite low. Only a handful of each type, and a siege unit especially adept at taking down buildings.
From the past into the future
Just as civilization evolved rapidly given the scale of humanity’s existence, I am sure that The Fertile Crescent will receive updates with new content as well. I’m hoping for a broader variety of troops, with hopefully some sort of healer or wizard classes. New buildings and more fleshed out, potentially tiered technology upgrades would be nice, as you are currently able to unlock everything by about midgame. The pixel art graphics give a really nice and fresh feel to the game that didn’t get old at all. Yet some more background tracks would be great. The drums and flutes of the sound effects do a good job at alerting you of various events that unfold, effectively allowing you to react in time to stuff you might not have noticed, but the background track did get somewhat monotonous in between conflicts.
The Fertile Crescent has made a strong entry onto the RTS battlefield with simple yet engaging gameplay that I fully expect to get expanded upon and more fleshed out as time goes on. By streamlining and doing its own takes on conventions of the greats that came before, it draws you in and lets you get into the action in a matter of minutes. Strategists will want to keep their eyes on this one.
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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.