Old World review | PC Gamer

Roben Walker

Need to know

What is it? A turn-based 4X that’s part Civ, part Crusader Kings.

Expect to pay: £32/$40

Release: July 1, 2021

Developer: Mohawk Games

Publisher: Mohawk Games

Reviewed on: GTX 1080 Ti, Intel i7-8086K, 16GB RAM

Multiplayer? Yes

Link: Official site 

The story of my first campaign in Old World, where I led my Greek civilisation to global domination, is equally the story of Rome, my greatest nemesis in this sprawling turn-based 4X. When I first encountered the Romans, they were extremely friendly, offering us gifts and hospitality, but it was a poisoned chalice—quite literally. A sickness spread, and Roman gestures of friendship were the source. I demanded justice and compensation; Rome only wanted war. It would take nearly 200 years until I got my revenge. 

It was not a single continuous war. The first conflict ended without much resolution, with the distance between our empires and the massive mountain chain that separated us creating some logistical difficulties. There were still battles, certainly, costing both of us more than faceless soldiers. Family members, revered generals and close friends also lost their lives. And between the wars were heated diplomatic meetings and more than a little bit of espionage, which again cost lives. 

I’ll never forgive myself for sending my good pal Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, to infiltrate Roma, where he spent a couple of years before he was murdered. On more than one occasion, I even sacrificed my heirs to the eternal grudge. It’s rather fitting that, after all that loss and rage, the fall of the Roman Empire also marked my victory over Old World itself. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

(Image credit: Mohawk Games)

Despite using the language of Civilization—from workers to wonders— it should be starting to become clear that Soren Johnson and Mohawk Games’ take on the historical 4X formula is quite different to Firaxis’s approach. You still build cities, conquer other ones, develop the tiles around them, and along the way determine the cultural and scientific destiny of your civilisation. So there are plenty of important similarities, which should not be a surprise given that Johnson was also the lead designer of Civilization 4, but Old World feels like a meaningful evolution. And an extremely welcome one.

Something old, something new

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