Numantia – Xbox One Review
Developer RECOtechnology brings Numantia to the Xbox One; a turn based strategy game based on the historic events that happened during the Numantine War between 143-133 BC.
Numantia’s campaign is split into two stories – one for the Romans and one for the Celtiberian’s; the two opposing armies from history where the Romans had captured the Celts’ settlement of Numantia. Whislt RECOtechnology does an exceptional job at recreating the events that took place during this time, they also focus on individual soldiers of each army, providing a rich narrative with emotional cutscenes – which is where a deeper level of (fictional) storytelling comes into play.
Before you begin your game, you can manage your troops from your base, depending on which campaign you’ve chosen. The game is played on a board of hexagonal spaces, commanding several types of units – each with their own unique abilities, whilst protecting their ‘hero’ who so happens to be the most powerful unit of them all. Those who have played games such as X-Com will be familiar with how the movement process goes – each unit can move a set amount of spaces and attack whilst consuming your allowance for said turn. However in Numantia, you are entitled to move to white spaces without using up any allowance but if you move onto green-shaded spaces, it will consume one of your actions. Once you’ve moved your units, you can then go for an attack, but it’s not as simple as attacking and doing a bit of damage.
This is where the complexity of the game arises – when you approach enemies, you can change the direction of where you want to face, which will result in the amount of damage you give or receive. If you have other units by your side, this will help ‘flank’ your opponent and deal additional damage, but if you’re alone when the enemy strikes and are surrounded, you’ll more than likely take quite a significant amount of damage. So you need to make sure you plan ahead, and make sure most of your units are protected somewhat.
Whilst everything may seem daunting, there is a brilliant tutorial at the start of the game which explains the UI in detail, but even so, whilst playing, you can get a fairly good idea of what each aspect of the UI correlates to and what you can do during your turn.
The more you progress through the campaign, the more cut-scenes you will uncover, telling the story of that side of the war. During these cut scenes, you’ll be required to make narrative choices that can affect how the game is played going forward. It’s these choices that makes this turn based strategy stand out from others of the genre, albeit forcing slow-based gameplay, when all you want to do is jump into a battle. But having said that, that’s what the arena is for. You can pick which side of the war you would like to fight with and jump straight into a game against the AI or with a local friend.
Overall, Numantia offers accurate historic storytelling delving deeper into individual soldiers’ stories to provide an interesting and unique perspective during this time. With plenty of missions, albeit repetitive, this is definitely a title to spruce up on your history skills and kill some time with thought-provoking gameplay. If games like Rome: Total War are your cup of tea, then you’ll feel right at home with Numantia.
Numantia is available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £23.99.
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