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access_time November 1, 2021 at 12:08 AM in Reviews by Cole Nixon

Review | Humankind

It’s hard to sum up the entirety of history in a game. A lot of epic historical titles only allow you to customize certain aspects, despite being primarily about strategy. Sure you can choose your historic leader or what your politics/religion turn out to be, but quite a few lack the tactile feeling of affecting history. Fortunately, this is not the case with Amplitude’s Humankind. While on the surface this looks like a version of Civilization, Humankind features a surprising amount of unique depth. Here, history bends to you, as your civilizations culture can change on a whim. But does Humankind do enough to separate itself from its influences?

When you first start a game, you have a typical game option interface. The standard difficulty and map options are all there. However, you can also create a custom civilization. These civilization options can be changed in game, offering further customization. During a playthrough, the pushover neighboring nation switched cultures to the Mongols and immediately began to resist my army’s bullying. In addition to this, new smaller civilizations can creep up around your borders which can hinder or help your empire. In fact, diplomacy plays a key role in the survival of your empire. Political goings-on are reflexive, like a paradox game. For example, skirmishes between armies won’t trigger an all out war, unless they spill over onto an empires borders or cause too many deaths. Relations are determined by the AI’s responses to your grievances and vice versa. All in all, the gameplay feels in depth and responsive.

Humankind features a wide variety of modes, both single and multiplayer. While there were no public games open when I checked, the AI was more than competent. No one culture felt overpowered, and the strategical balance was very well rounded. However, the early tech tree felt lacking. On longer games, the gap between sailing technologies is vast, so the units required for oversea colonization takes a while to unlock. This is only a problem on maps where the ocean is a large gap between civilizations, but a problem nonetheless.

Graphically, Humankind is acceptable. The slight paintbrush cartoon style makes for an attractive viewing, but opens up comparisons to Civilization VI. In my opinion the game does a good job of balancing realism and cartoonish visuals, but for a title so focused on the alteration of history, it would’ve been interesting to see a more realistic approach. Still, the renders do look impressive, in particular the lush expansive cities. Overall, this isn’t a disappointing looking game, though it goes against my personal tastes.

Performance wise, Humankind strikes an excellent balance between performance and fidelity. Outside of the occasional large unit lag spike, the game runs at a smooth 60 FPS. I encountered no crashes or errors during my 50+ hour playtime, and the average game can run into the double digits. Humankind is something you can spend a lot of time with.

If you’re looking for a more complex and unique experience, look no further. While the basics are familiar, the depths to which the game can reach are surprising. No two playthroughs will ever be similar due to the countless variations that can change, with both dlc and modding support on the way to further it. You can put a lot into Humankind and find that it still has a lot to offer.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.


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