Sorcerer King of Kizi Games: Overview

4X-strategy - the genre is quite conservative, focused on a relatively narrow circle of players, which after so many years is already difficult to surprise. The rules here are always the same, rendered in the genre name: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate. And no matter how unique gameplay features are invented by the authors, most of the kizi games on are still slightly different from each other.

But if, for example, Firaxis has enough experience, intelligence, talent and, most importantly, money, in order to hone its new product to an unthinkable level of quality and replayability, then more modest development teams have something always in short supply - it is necessary to travel to the originality and interesting concepts. So, it seems, appeared Sorcerer King - 4X-strategy, which begins at the moment when you have already lost.

A few years ago in the conventional fantasy there was a redistribution of power. A typical party in Civilization has unfolded: some rulers and states have been destroyed, some conquered, and the only full-fledged winner now wears the title of Sorcerer King. It turned out quite a feudal Middle Ages, where there is a king and there are scattered around the world vassals who are ordered to protect their own plots of land, but it is forbidden to develop or collect an army.

And now, when all reconciled to this order of things, one of the loyalists realized that the king had a strange political program: to destroy the magic crystals scattered around the world and to arrange a real apocalypse. Now the little prince simply has no choice: you have to defeat the king's superior forces and save the world in any way. The countdown to the "Judgment Day" begins, which the player can delay or approximate with his further actions.

At the initial stage, with and development in general, everything is very bad. There is only one city without buildings, there is only one hero without an army. The knight jumps around, gathers chests and scouts a map. The capital at this time is developing, increasing production capacity and food reserves. In a unit of time, it can only deal with one task - the creation of a "unit" or the building of a building.

After a dozen moves, it is possible to settle more firmly: specially trained scouts are automatically fighting with the "fog of war", and wagons are scurrying along already open lands. These are settlers who can establish a city on fertile land or build a small outpost near any mine or crystal.

Since the destruction of crystals is the ultimate goal of the king, it is necessary to take them under their own care. They give magical energy, the expenditure of which can be distributed independently. Some part to send in mana, allowing to build and call soldiers. Spread the balance between learning spells or a set of experiences.

The hero, having acquired a decent army, begins to interact with each interactive object on the map. From 4X at this moment there is very little - it's more like Heroes of Might and Magic 4, where the hero participates in the battle, and "units" can run on the global map without him. It affects not only visual similarity: even battles take place in an indistinguishable tactical mode. On the global map lie chests with resources, there are taverns and bored monsters, which is enough to make a couple of steps towards the hero.

Many objects are able to generate quests. Entering an abandoned village, the player receives a brief description of the event and the opportunity to choose a reaction. The correct option is not: different behavior will lead to different consequences and will add various bonuses. Only sometimes, acting quite aggressively, you can increase the counter of the "Judgment Day". Reduce it will have the same - in adventure or expensive spells.

Quests are hundreds (they can never be repeated for 3 times), and they are all written perfectly: funny, clever and subtle. As well as other dialogues in the game. For example, very often the king himself comes into contact with the claims, they say, he said that it is forbidden to develop. In return, you can lie, grovel and receive gifts or openly rude, making yourself increasingly threatened by the regime.

In addition to the player on the map are a few more participants who dislike the ruler. With it is necessary to build a minimal policy, to organize an alliance. Or, on the contrary, to destroy, plundering cities. The second option looks strange against the backdrop of the threat of the end of the world, but still tolerable.

The further the player withdraws from his home, the more rare resources he can get. However, unlike HoM only time (or mana) is needed for construction and production, and materials are spent on "kraft". The kizi game has a built-in system of creating objects for the characters, and to win, she will have to actively use.

Here it is worthwhile to stop and warn those who seemed interesting: it is better to go and play a couple of games. On the complexity of at least above average. Because the first 20 - 40 hours, while mastering the basic rules, the game is definitely drawn to "commendable". And the first two games are quite entertaining. But once you understand the fundamental problem inherent in game design, it's completely pointless to play Sorcerer King. But - again - at first it will not touch you.

This can be found a lot of controversy in the official forums. This sounds rash and really strange. ;But the developers themselves have confirmed that it is necessary: not a bug, but a "feature". "Fitch" is that the enemies actually do not have AI.

They do not behave like an equal character to the player, they do not stick to a certain policy, they slowly develop and often do not show any aggression, or at least interest towards you. Thus, potential allies in the fight against the lord only become "encounters" on the global map. Used and left.

The actions of the robbers running around the neighborhood also do not succumb to any logic. In most cases, they just stand, no matter what the gamer does next to their zones of influence. Even though the mine at the border itself is appropriated. However, occasionally they run full yoke and destroy the random city. The outposts and mines are not touched. And the troops themselves disappear into nowhere.

But worst of all, that the same is true for the king. He really follows the actions of the player and regularly causes a chat, but does not represent a military and territorial threat. In the case of open rudeness, the tyrant can send his troops: "units", often of great strength, appear on the territory controlled by the player. But they do not attack, they just stand. As sometimes they fall into a stupor Champions, huge monsters, destroying crystals.

Some actions are taking place around, but even at the highest levels of complexity, when certain movements do happen, this can not be called a full-fledged intelligence of the computer opponent.

At a time when you realize that you are not playing in 4X, but in a frank trickery, any interest instantly collapses. This is superimposed on the fact that after 2-3 games you begin to understand the balance more deeply and see the holes in it. For example, a gnome character has a skill that summons a dragon on the 9th course of the battle. However, the battle in the kizi game just does not last so long: the most intense fights are stacked in 7-8 full-fledged moves. Even the final confrontation is unlikely to last for long.

It turns out that the book of spells is completely unnecessary. And magic works strange. It seems that the spell is used by a participant who is outside the battlefield and is spent for this global mana counter. However, in fact, the "unit" chosen at the moment "casts", and its course is skipped. Is it worth mentioning that spells almost always lag behind in effectiveness (to learn them longer than to assemble an army), and in such circumstances they do not have to be used at all?

Other solutions are also unclear. For example, there is only one race - the human race - for different types of characters (there is a knight, hunter, engineer). But there are different starting characters. Finally, you can find fault with even technical trifles: why does not there remain at least the wreckage on the site of the destroyed city, but it's impossible to build it there again? And here you remember: the game crawled out of Early Access.

All this translates into a very sad picture. A great idea with an asymmetric game, constantly holding the king's threats in suspense, the need to develop in a short time and control the advent of the end of the world - everything turns out to be a fiction and in fact simply does not work.

It seems that the kizi game was simply overdone in early access and is not going to be finished. Because in a truly completed form (the one that you imagine, reading the description) Sorcerer King, it would seem, would be very impressive.

Pros: an interesting idea; excellent quests; pleasant implementation of the basic mechanisms; the game runs the first 20 - 40 hours.
Minuses: lack of intelligence among rivals; unbalanced skills; bugs; the ability to play only one race; general feeling of incompleteness.