Ancestors Legacy is a real-time strategy game that has recently come to console. StarCraft has very much set the standard for the genre so it will be interesting to see how Ancestors Legacy compares.
Right off the bat, any RTS is hard to get right on console. So, if you can buy Ancestors Legacy on PC, I highly recommend that you do so because the controls are so much faster and more intuitive. While it can take a couple of seconds just to select the units that you want to command on Xbox One, it’s as simple as left-clicking and dragging your mouse on PC. Also, to move the camera across the map, you have to wait a couple of seconds for the screen to scroll here but on PC, it’s as simple as clicking the mini-map.
Anyway, Ancestors Legacy features 4 different nations: Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Germans, and Slavs with each having different units to build, technology trees, and many other subtle differences. Each nation includes 2 campaigns with 5 missions in each for a total of 8 campaigns and 40 missions. The campaigns take place in historically accurate settings such as the Norman Invasion and the plundering of the Lindisfarne monastery in 793. The history that Ancestors Legacy depicts is very cool and I learned a lot just by watching the cutscenes. However, these scenes suffer from serious lag which ruins the immersion as the dialogue doesn’t always match the subtitles which is just head-scratchingly awful.
In each campaign, there are a good variety of missions. In some, you only get a few units and have to make the most of them. In other missions, you can make more units from your base but your opponent can do the same. There are also some creative missions like one where you have to protect the Viking Drakkars while they’re under siege from English catapults and one where you have to capture the enemy base while your ally keeps taking your soldiers away from you. As you play, you should also keep in mind what units are weak to what. Shieldmen beat spearmen, spearmen beat berserkers, and berserkers beat shieldmen while archers beat spearmen and berserkers but only from a distance. I found cavalry to be too fragile but the Slavs at least seem to have decent cavalry units.
As your squads gain more experience in battles, they level up and gain an advantage in combat. Each unit has a specific upgrade that you can buy from the town hall and I recommend that you get these crucial upgrades as soon as possible. Each unit can also have up to 2 armor upgrades but these are usually quite expensive. I tend to be more successful when I have a few strong units kept alive to fight battle after battle. That way, I can spend my resources climbing the tech tree instead of replacing my units all the time. You also have the option to make traps which can be extremely useful in tight passages when you have the time to set them up. The placement of grass can be important, too, because you can set up flanks and ambushes when you hide in grass.
Ancestors Legacy’s battles seem to last way too long. First, it will require around a minute for one squad to kill another. Movement speed for most units seems to be too slow, too. The Anglo-Saxons have it the worst because their infantry are super-slow. The learning curve is also quite high and Ancestors Legacy is not an easy game. I lost many battles because I had the wrong unit composition, I didn’t acquire the upgrades, or I tried to attack a fortified position. Once you lose your units, it can take a long time to get them back because you only get one barracks. Even if you run away and your units survive, it can take a long time to retrieve reinforcements. Most missions took me between 1 to 2 hours and overall, it feels like everything in Ancestors Legacy runs at a snail’s pace.
One other annoying gripe that I have with Ancestors Legacy is that it doesn’t offer the fine level of control that I’ve come to expect from RTS games. In StarCraft II, you can tell a unit to go somewhere and it’ll start walking there instantly. In Ancestors Legacy, that’s mostly true unless it’s already in combat then it’ll likely ignore what you tell it to do or you could command it to retreat. Anyway, your army will keep fighting the other army until the last troop is dead then you can do other things like attack their structures. This is especially annoying in the enemy base where they keep getting reinforcements from their barracks as you must attack with your main force then sneak in with a couple squads to attack the barracks or you might never beat all of the reinforcements.
Finally, Ancestors Legacy features a skirmish mode as well as online multiplayer. Skirmishes are the same as the ones in many other RTS games as you can choose your favorite nation, change a bunch of different options like the map and the starting money, and get right into the fight to test your skills. When you win battles, you also gain experience to level up the nation that you used.
I eventually enjoyed Ancestors Legacy but I wanted to quit many times within my first 20 hours and that’s not a good sign. Simply put, most missions are just way too slow. If the developers sped up battles, unit production, and movement speed; it would alleviate the tedium a great deal. In the end, I highly recommend playing Ancestors Legacy on PC and reading a guide before you get started.
- + Authentic historical battles are very cool and surprisingly educational
- + Features a lot of strategic depth
- + Variety of interesting missions
- – Everything takes far too long
- – Controls are difficult to get used to
- – Steep learning curve
6.8 out of 10