Reviews - Updated on April 12, 2022

Gliwice is a city in southern Poland, three to four hours from Warsaw. You can walk around the historical center in about 40 minutes, the private sector on the outskirts, which looks like a village, does not betray in any way that almost 200,000 people live in the city. One of the houses of the “village” is occupied by the Destructive Creations studio – 25 people work in a real “tube atmosphere”. They have already made Hatred and are now preparing Ancestors Legacy, a real-time strategy game where you can control Prince Rurik. I got acquainted with the beta version of the game and share my impressions.From childhood for Rurik: first impressions of Ancestors Legacy

It is in such a peaceful environment that very bloody games are created.

“Garage” developers

“This is Marchin, my right hand. My Goebbels,” Jaroslaw Zielinski, founder of Destructive Creations, introduces a man similar to the Polish Ilya Lagutenko. Marchin is cheerful and optimistic, as befits a PR chief. He jokes sharply and quickly reveals that in addition to video games, he also deals with music. And Yaroslav – more precisely, Yarik, as he asks to be called – is skinhead and brutal. He calmly and even seems to be happy to recall the cases when the previous project of the media studio was associated with the murders of people. The company had no problems with the law because of this, and any PR, even black, is a plus for a small studio.

Against the backdrop of some crazy guys, producer Tomasz Gop looks like the epitome of intelligence. In case you forgot, Tomasz became known as the producer of The Witcher 2, and before joining Destructive Creations, he was the executive producer of Lords of the Fallen. In a small team, he is perhaps the only star, but he does not have a star disease: in the evening at dinner, he argues that 40 years is the time for professional heyday, and Lords of the Fallen was not good enough.

A few hours before, he carefully talks about the mechanics of Ancestors Legacy and is sympathetic to my problems: playing strategy with a gamepad is not easy, especially if you rarely play with a mouse. But there is not much choice – the campaign is shown on Xbox One with a 4K TV. On the screen – medieval Europe, where the Vikings, Slavs (they are written off from the Poles), the British and the Germans are fighting. In multiplayer, you can choose any of the factions, while the campaign will offer 10 missions for each of the nations.

From childhood for Rurik: first impressions of Ancestors Legacy

In battles, it is not always clear what is happening, but the camera allows you to see everything as it should.

What is our life? War!

Historicity is an important part of the project. But not the most reliable historical accuracy, such as the shape of shields and armor, but simply the very feeling of the Middle Ages. After all, if you look at any chronicle of the 9th-12th centuries (during this time period the battles in Ancestors Legacy will take place), and at least our Tale of Bygone Years, then the main events will be battles, battles, tributes, military alliances, intrigues and betrayals the then princes, counts and kings. In this sense, the Polish game captures the most important part of the era. Some missions are completely based on real battles – for example, in the local battle of Fulford (the real one happened in 1066), no matter how hard you try, you will not bring victory to the Anglo-Saxons.

We get a certain number of units under our leadership, and each of them can have up to 10 soldiers. They are controlled, as it should be in strategies, using the cursor, but the important difference here is that the squad that entered the battle does not respond to commands until the slash is over. The only option is to give the order to escape. Among the usual units there are also powerful heroes acting alone – among them they promise, including “our” Rurik. Not all plot characters will be as well known – for example, in the mission I saw for the Vikings, there are some Ulf and Godric, whom I could not find adequate historical information about.

In battles, the most important thing is perhaps the correct use of the right units against those that are much weaker, and the good choice of position. Fighters need to develop armor levels, squads need to choose a specialization: someone can gain an advantage in aggression, someone in speed, and so on, and heroes have abilities that give moral strength to their squads. There are quite a lot of mechanics, so even in the training mission, Tomasz constantly prompted me.

From childhood for Rurik: first impressions of Ancestors Legacy

For lovers of beauty in battle, you can turn on the cinematic mode.

In addition to the combat part, there is also development. Our powerful warriors impose tribute on the surrounding villages, from where the extraction of resources begins. Some of them – wood and metal – go to the further development of the “units” tree, and food allows the units not to starve. An unfed army quickly weakens and becomes practically useless in battle. At the same time, the village can always be taken over by opponents, and it is simply impossible to collect more than a certain number of units, so you have to maneuver.

On the Xbox One, as I said, everything is controlled from a conventional controller and the interface has been noticeably altered in comparison with the standard, computer one. Tomasz and I argued about how convenient it is, and the main argument of the Pole was that the controls in Ancestors Legacy were positively appreciated by one of the creators of Halo Wars, which made console strategies convenient. However, I personally am not ready to agree with him, especially since the interface was small in 4K resolution, and the texts were difficult to read.

Whoever comes to us with a horse will ride on it and back

We have already looked at the network mode on the PC. It is quite intimate – the maps are relatively small, and the maximum carnage that can be arranged involves three users on each side. They showed two options for multiplayer: in one, you just need to capture all the enemy’s villages and destroy his “headquarters” with the army, in the other, you need to surpass the enemy in the amount of resources produced. Nothing special in terms of diversity – obviously I want more features.From childhood for Rurik: first impressions of Ancestors Legacy

An important detail is that the bodies of the killed fighters do not disappear, creating a bloody entourage for future skirmishes.

While the mission structure in the campaign was very linear, the multiplayer maps always involved early choices. The choice of which village to go to capture first, how to develop your army and how aggressively to act at the beginning of the game. The “rush” tactic proved to be very effective – those who got access to the cavalry faster than the enemy actually guaranteed themselves victory. True, the choice of a nation still plays a role – each of the peoples has its own sequence of development. In some ways, historicity is observed here too – the Anglo-Saxons can quickly hire famous archers.

In addition to fast development, maneuvering plays a big role in Ancestors Legacy. Horse archers, thanks to their incredible speed and ranged attacks, turn into perfect weapons if they are regularly directed to the right points near enemy buildings. And, of course, mutual support in an environment where everything is in full view of each other is indispensable. Two-on-two games turned out to be quite long: one lasted an entire hour, consisted of numerous trips to the rear and unexpected ambushes – and ended in a draw.

There are complaints about the balance – one starting place on the map can be much better than another. Some nations are too easy to break others at the starting stage due to the rapid onslaught of cavalry. But in general, if more or less equal in “skill” players converge, it turns out not bad. Everyone compares the game with Company of Heroes – but not in a negative way, but simply in terms of the similarity of the gameplay.

From childhood for Rurik: first impressions of Ancestors Legacy

The cut-scenes are designed in a stylish comic style, which betrays the low budget of the project a bit.

Destructive Creations is particularly proud of the fact that its creation has several layers. At a basic level, it is enough just to understand the basic mechanics – and this will be enough for the campaign. In battles with living people, one must master not only work with villages and recruiting, but also maneuvering and combining units. And for very advanced gamers, there is an opportunity to charge their soldiers (and, as I understand it, villages) with prayers and seriously change the balance of power. True, it was not possible to see how the help of higher powers works, but, apparently, with this very help, Tomasz, Yarik and Marchin and their comrades will bring Ancestors Legacy much further than Hatred.

***

However, not to everyone’s adoration. Still, by console standards, the game is quite confusing and monotonous, and on the PC there are more heavy competitors. However, I specifically talked about a house on the outskirts and ordinary Polish guys – in 2018, such a “hardcore indie” rarely reaches a sufficiently high level, hires a producer of The Witcher and receives the support of a normal publisher (they are 1C Company). Therefore, “Legacy of the Ancestors” has a chance to earn something higher in our rating scale than “Prokhodnyak” and please fans of real-time strategies.

You can already compare your impressions with mine – the open beta test of multiplayer for PC started on February 6th.

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