Humankind 30 Hour Review – 4X At Its Best, But Still Work To Be Done

Humankind 30 Hour Review – 4X At Its Best, But Still Work To Be Done

Humankind is a gigantic game: 4X at its most compelling, complicated, and addictive best. The combat system is fantastic, the art style and the atmosphere is soothing like “just-one-more-turn games” should be, and the potential combination of dozens of different cultures means no two playthroughs are ever really the same.

But, there are problems. Few 4X games release without balance issues and bugs, although in the thirty hours I’ve played, there was only one game-breaking bug that meant I could never end my turn. It was addressed in the day two patch. Others have reported issues with launching the game, though I didn’t encounter that problem.

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First of all, the positives. Thirty hours in and I’ve barely scratched the surface. There are easily hundreds of hours of gameplay here. Switching cultures was a bit jarring at first — not being able to keep track of your adversaries and your own empire’s sense of identity is a challenging concept — but after a while, I began to appreciate the complexity of every decision you have to make. Your choice of culture has a significant impact on your next hour of gameplay, as it should do.

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The combat. It’s clean, simple, and easy to pick up. Pretty much an expansion of the similar system in Endless Legend, although Humankind does it better. Some have compared it to an RTS style of battles, but really it’s a turn-based tactical engine that makes me think more of Xcom than anything else. Height advantages and flanking bonuses are massive. Even weaker units can overcome powerful opponents with a bit of strategy. Sieges are fun, most of the units feel unique, and progressing through the eras presents new ways to totally obliterate your enemies.

City management and growth are extremely satisfying. No other 4X game lets you build cities like you can in Humankind. You can stitch together several cities and create one massive continent-spanning megalopolis. The art is gorgeous, and even though your culture’s identity switches and changes quite regularly, you still find yourself getting attached to your enormous cities.

But that’s enough gushing. Humankind does have issues. Balance is, well, sort of all over the place. Because of the hundreds of thousands of potential combinations, you can either snowball wildly out of control or be totally steamrolled by an enemy AI on the max difficulty level. It could take years to figure out the best way to play the game. Seriously. There are that many variables.

And there are bugs. But that’s sort of to be expected, and the developers have been very open about addressing issues, with Amplitude already rolling out a pair of launch patches within just a few hours of release.

Other complaints include a) the game being too barebones, which isn’t fair if you’re comparing it to Civilization 6 in its full DLC glory, b) the complication of changing cultures removes engagement between you and the other players in the game, which is just true, really, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste, and lastly, the War Support system has divided players. Some love it, some hate it. You’ll have to try it yourself.

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Overall, though, if you like 4X games, you’re probably going to enjoy Humankind. There is a lot more to come for this game, too, especially considering Amplitude’s successful post-launch support of its previous games. You can pick it up with Game Pass for a dollar to try it out, then buy it if you think it’s up to scratch.