Cultures Online – Review
Cultures Online is a uniquely themed free online strategy game that combines the historic Vikings and the mythological Asians to provide players with a highly appealing fantasy experience. This new player experience review will review aspects of the game that are exposed to new players within the first few hours of play, such as character creation, combat mechanics, questing and NPC interaction.
Cultures Online’s character creation system is avatar based. Once you’ve chosen which race you wish to play as, Vikings or Asians, you can then choose a male or female avatar as well as customizing various facial aspects such as hair, nose and scars. The customization is limited but in terms of avatar customization, it’s one of the more in-depth systems I’ve come across. Once you’ve designed your avatar, you’re good to go.
The first thing that struck me when playing Cultures Online was the highly approachable UI. It’s not uncommon for free online strategy games to have minimalistic UI’s that contain tiny pictures and no hover-text information, but Cultures Online provides players with an in-depth UI that you would usually associate with a free online RPG game. There are dozens of options within the UI, which would usually be quite confusing, but each is accompanied with an in-depth text explanation, making it a very simple task to navigate to any aspect of your kingdom.
The tutorial is very thorough, although somewhat annoying. Every text box that pops up contains a paragraph of useless information, followed by a few lines about your actual objective. It’s easy enough to skip through it but I did feel a fair amount of time was spent reading through unnecessary text and information. During the tutorial you’re introduced to one of the most innovative features of Cultures Online, the hero system. I hear you, there’s a hero system in practically every free online multiplayer strategy game but Cultures Online takes an approach unique to the genre.
Instead of purely using a hero to lead your troops into battle or perform combat procedures, your hero gets involved in the daily life of your town. You can assign them to collect resources from various buildings, train or research new technologies, each of which progresses at a much faster rate depending on the quality of the hero. This adds an entirely unique system where you’re able to improve your heroes stats based on the activities you want them to do, removing the typical combat-based progression seen in other MMORTS games.
The combat in Cultures Online is avatar-based, meaning there’s no large-scale battles or armies involved. Instead your heroes battle against a constant flow of enemies. There are some cool animations involved such as battle axes or swords colliding with your enemies face, and when something dies the avatar picture changes.
Overall, Cultures Online may seem stale to MMORTS veterans but it is a perfect title for players new to the genre. The user-friendly UI, basic combat mechanics and simple building procedures makes Cultures Online an easily approachable title.
by Blaine Smith