One Man Empire
Designed by one man, Peter Norberg, the 4X strategy game Fate of an Empire is the latest installment in his Rising Empires series. Creating a game solo is no easy feat, and Norberg’s efforts have my respect. Unfortunately, the infant Fate of an Empire is not worthy of a crown. Yet.
Fate of an Empire puts a Royal Library’s worth of information at your disposal. You’d be wise to take it all in before you get started. The amount of info to digest here is staggering; you could easily spend an hour just reading the guides.
The rulebook thoroughly covers everything from unit types to terrain resources and how loyalty and corruption affect your settlements. Sadly, we’ve reached a point in time where too much reading turns people off. But if you’re not opposed to a little book-worming, read on; you’ll be interested in what comes next.
Before you begin your campaign, you will need to select your race. There are six races to choose from: Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, Greenskins, Ende, and Krant. Each race comes with strengths and weaknesses, except for humans who have no downsides, making them the best race for beginners.
Several races have archetypal weaknesses; Elves are excellent with bows but weak in close combat. Greenskins, or Goblins, Orcs, and Ogres, are very strong in melee combat. However, they are stupid and more corrupt than the other races. The Krant can produce quickly and utilize flood tactics, while The Ende can use necromancy to revive enemies as allies.
After selecting your race, you need to choose a religion. There are six religions that each give a bonus to a specific aspect of your empire, such as tax income or research. Next is deciding on the game settings like map size and victory conditions. After that, pick up to nine opposing empires, and you are ready to begin.
You Call the Shots
Once you begin your campaign, you are free to do as you please. You can fortify your Capitol city, go on the offensive, or build up your fleet. Alternatively, you can go on a research frenzy to strengthen your people in multiple areas at once.
Research various resource-gathering options, like fishing, farming, and hunting or weapon skills. Research consumes RP, or research points, with the higher tiers costing more and more.
Construct buildings in your empire to increase your overall RP to research faster. Or you can focus on developing your city in ways that that will increase loyalty. The choice is yours. At least it is when the game is functioning.
Fate Always on Hold
Fate of an Empire has potential, but it also has some very notable flaws. The worst of which is the optimization, or lack thereof.
I cannot go several minutes without a popup telling me that Fate of an Empire is not responding. Making it worse is when you get this popup and the game freezes, which multiplies the popups of whatever you were last doing. So even after you get past the freezing annoyances, you still need to exit popups regularly.
Very Clunky and a Little Lifeless
The game operates with a vertical field of view and is in sore need of a horizontal FOV. A lot is going on with the UI, and a horizontal FOV would make navigating it a lot easier. Once you start expanding, you have to do a lot of scrolling. The game resets you back to your capital after you end your turn. So if you are busy exploring, you have to scroll back to your expedition over and over again. Unexplored territory shows up as black space, and it is pretty unappealing seeing black squares all over the landscape.
The diplomacy feels very bare-bones and shallow. One turn, a rival empire has no interest in making peace. The next, we have somehow become best friends. It would be nice if there were more ways to solidify alliances with other kingdoms, like marrying off princes and princesses. The sound design is non-existent in this game. There is no music, ambient noise, action feedback, nothing. Some generic high fantasy music to immerse me in the simulation would be a substantial improvement.
Fate of an Empire is an incredible project, given that it is the product of a single person. The game offers up a lot of replayability with the various nuances between races. The research system allows for many different playstyles, from turtling to sheer brute force. However, there are numerous problems in the current state of the game that could use a team to fix. It’s been less than a month since Fate of an Empire was released, and I wouldn’t count the 4X strategy game out just yet. It might take a while before it’s in prime form, but I think Fate of an Empire will be worth the wait.
Is It Hardcore?
Fate of an Empire is a very ambitious game that fills the void of mobile 4X strategy games. However, poor optimization, a clunky UI and other issues make it frustrating to play. With improvements, it can become one of the best games on mobile, but only time will tell.