Dawn of Man Review – Neolithic Gameplay

Simulation games have always been some of my favorites: no matter how unbelievably incompetent and incapable I am, these sorts of games give me a chance to feel like I can do things like run a city, start a successful PC build-and-repair business, or make my own video games. However, anyone who listens to the Sick and Wired podcast or has read some of my previous articles could gather that I love story above most other things in a video game, and simulations can really shine here. They give you a chance to write your own story in real time and try to produce the ultimate one. Rather than tell you the specific way that something is supposed to be done, the best simulations allow the player to experiment with different combinations and options in a way so that there is no definitive answer on how to reach the end but also an optimal way of doing so. Dawn of Man falls short of this, as do most games of the genre, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here writing a story.

 

Dawn of Man thrusts you 12,000 years in the past and give you an opportunity to play out the beginning of civilization. With primitive tools and clothes, you must build a massively popular people by trading, hunting, foraging, and crafting your way to a more advanced time period. However, we all know how harsh the world can be, and this game is no exception to that. At any moment you could be attacked by an aggressive mammoth, wild cat, bear or even a rival civilization. Through this, Madruga Works blends city building with the survival of the fittest.

While there are plenty of improvements that could’ve been made here, let’s look at how well Dawn of Man establishes its atmosphere. Graphically, it could use an upgrade, but this doesn’t detract from certain elements of the design that work to immerse your civilization in the world. For example, I kept getting frustrated when I saw how bears, deer, wolves, boars, and all other kinds of animals would just wander through my little town of people, some of which could attack unprovoked. However, as the game progressed, I found this to actually compliment the time period perfectly. While this certainly wasn’t intentionally programmed into the game, it seems to have been deliberately left in. It makes sense that humanity, a relatively new species, would have to live amongst these beasts and have the same anxieties about whether or not they’ll survive them. Similarly, the trees and other vegetation grows very naturally throughout civilization. They can’t be rooted up out of the ground, only chopped down to their stumps. Everything is very much ingrained within the environment, and there are elements you just can’t get away from. Some of these small details are where the game shines and does a great job of creating something new. While there’s a whole list of these ranging from the way the people worship to the depletion and scarcity of resources, the important factor in all of these is simply that the world makes sense and gives you a lot to work with as a player in terms of discovering the best way to play the game.

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