Numantia - The Review
Two millennia ago, Numantia was the focal point of the Celtiberian wars that ravaged the land around the Iberian Peninsula. This is historical fact, and during the times of the Roman Empire. So naturally, this makes for an opportunity to turn this into a video game. Saves having to find like minded friends that organise historical re-enactment scenarios and live action role-play, and lets you experience a piece of history from the comfort of your own home.
One point that should be raised first, is that Numantia has remained faithful to history, with regards to events and people involved. No mean feat when you consider that these events took place over 2000 years ago.
Numantia has been developed as a turn based strategy game by Reco Technology, and was released on the 2150th anniversary of the events it portrays no less. Perfect timing, or luck? Either way, a fun fact. Not content with creating a lengthy campaign for Numantia, Reco have also squeezed in a Roman campaign for good measure, giving excellent value for money.
After starting my journey, I was treated to a narrative driven cut-scene that explained in detail the build up to war, and several key people involved. It’s not a fully animated section of the game, and comes over as a dark comic book which is still able to display the visceral combat and bloody times.
The very first mission is a tutorial, and goes into great detail, explaining each aspect and small nuances that are within Numantia’s gameplay mechanics. Nothing is left unmentioned, and in all honesty, it’s a little bit overwhelming for those who don’t partake in games of this genre. It’s a good mission to practice on, and get stuck into the workings and subtle choices that make up each area. The game is broken down into a grid-like structure, which are hexagons, allowing you to move your troops in one of six directions each turn. The troops are varied in pretty much everything, from morale, health, combat type and even the amount per hex. Over work them, and their stamina will deplete, and in turn, lower morale. This is the level of depth with which to work, and for a console strategy game, is impressive, as the few strategy games I have played in the past, have certainly been console-friendly.
In between missions, you get to view the city map or the battlefield map. The former has various locations for you to visit, including the barracks where you can recruit new troops should you have enough supplies currently available in your inventory. Thus preventing you from sending out a massive army to over power the enemy and breeze to victory. Tactics and strategy play a part of Numantia even away from combat, meaning that you’ll need to micro manage every resource and troop.
I found Numantia to have a steep learning curve from the word go, and even the smallest mistake will see you punished quickly by opposing forces. On the flip side though, securing a victory is a satisfying outcome, as you will be tested from start to end. For the casual gamer, Numantia may prove a bit to tough and would be the sort of title that suits fans of the genre who are more likely to be invested in turn based strategy games, and ones that require a fair amount of time invested into them.
The gameplay mechanics work as one would hope, with responsive controls and camera, allowing you to view the battlefield from close or afar, which does seem barren from any objects and obstacles you’d imagine to be found in battle. A small cosmetic issue, and not one that ruins the game per se, but having some bits and pieces strewn across the hexes would have been a nice touch.
Overall, Numantia stays faithful to historical fact, from places to people, and fits the TBS genre perfectly. Sure the steep learning curve may be off putting to some people as well. But for the price, you get two campaigns guaranteeing plenty of hours, and therefore, value for money. A niche genre, but a decent addition to it in the form of Numantia.
Overall Score 7/10
Developer: Reco Technology
Publisher: Reco Technology
Release Date: 31st October 2017
File Size: 7.13GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purposes.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam