1701 A.D.
1701 A.D.

Posted by SadExchange
1/5/2007
Released on: 11/6/2006
Developed by: Related Designs
Published by: Aspyr

Easily the best game in the series and an easy contender for one of the best strategy building games out on the market.

Score

9.2

Releasing onto store shelves on November 6th of 2006, the developers wanted to take everything that great about the first two games in the A.D. series and put it into the third game. What they came up with is a beautiful game set in a 'Caribbean style' environment where the player can create their own colony and last as long as they want, or at least as long as their colony lets them last. The question is, does this new installment to the series give enough of itself to convince a fan to pick it up or is it just the previous games with updated graphics?

In 1701 A.D., which I'll refer to as just 1701 from now on, you have a choice of what to do, whether you want to play one of the scenarios, play a continuous game without any regulations, or play online with your friends. Each one of these types of games is unique and fun in its own right. Before you start playing the game, if you've never played another A.D. game before, the developers included a four part tutorial which helps players get ready to create their own colony through all aspects including keeping your people happy, progressing through the many levels of your civilization, and also all you need to know about trade between you and other colonies throughout the world. Although the previous A.D. games had a campaign which he player could play through achieving different goals as they progress their game, 1701 has different scenarios that are of different difficulties being easy, medium, and hard. All three types of difficulties provide challenges where you either have to create a colony of one hundred citizens, collect secret documents for the Queen of England, and many other various objectives, including some side quests which you can partake on while out and about in your boat. The scenarios really kind of play out as campaign in the respect that the stories within the scenarios hold up on their own, but can also flow into the next. And you're allowed to play whatever scenario you' like from the start whether it's easy, medium, or hard. It's all up to you.

The continuous play is just as it says where you can set yourself up and try to succeed in being the best colony on the map, sometimes having to worry about other colonies who may not like it too much that you're invading their space. That's why 1701 gives you the opportunity to create your own militia, but in doing so, you must create your own weapons through mining and then creating swords out of that ore in the production line. Although the combat within the game is balanced, it's not quite as fun as the economic side of 1701 and it's a pity that you sometimes have to resort to combat because of how well done the economic side is. The reason for any combat at all is basically because of survival in the sense of happiness in your colony. Each island on each map can only grow certain crops, or harvest different animals, and one island you may be able to mine ore, while another island may give you gems. This diverse arrangement of materials to collect will have you spreading yourself over the map, but always remember to keep your people happy at home, or else they might riot and fires could break out throughout your colony which could cause devastating affects. But sadly, your people aren't the only things you need to worry about because there are natural dangers you always have to look out for like hurricanes or live volcano's, but these just add to the fact that you always have to keep on your toes during the game.

But, even with everything you have to worry about in the game, the built-in interface is extremely easy to use and you'll never find yourself scouring through multiple spread sheets to find out why your colony isn't doing so well. Everything you need to know about your colony is just one click away from your normal view on the screen and the rest of the information not found on those pages are on the main screen itself, so no more searching through endless lists for different troubles. Although, without those spread sheets, it may seem like the game is easier because you have less to deal with, it's not. To have a thriving colony where it will grow from peasants to settlers to citizens and to one day aristocrats, you'll need to please everyone in your community with different needs like clothes, education, religion, fine baked foods, and many more goods to become a large community where you may place your castle and hopefully one day buy independence from the Queen of England. How you go about that is your choice, whether you want to dominate other colonies through militia to gain their goods produced on their island, or simply set up a trade line to trade for the products you need, is your choice.

While you play hours upon hours in the latest addition to the A.D. series, you'll be treated with some really great graphics where every building looks different from the next and the upgrades look different from their previous appearance. You can zoom in to spy on your colonists as they work throughout the day collecting crops or mining ore for weapons and other needs that they may have. And even zoomed in, this game looks superb. The graphic design within the game creates the perfect setting to put you in the atmosphere of being a leader of a new community in the Caribbean Islands. The developers even put in a certain key function that would take all of the interface away and set your camera at a perfect angle to take some great screenshots which look almost real in the fact that objects closer up are perfectly in focus while objects far off in the background are somewhat out of focus. Just little touches like this add quite a bit to the game and make it easier for the player to enjoy the overall gameplay. The interface that is on your screen during main gameplay is never distracting and in no way takes away from the artistic design that the developers were trying to achieve with 1701 A.D.

The sound within the game is great to in the sense that as you'll be playing this game for quite awhile, the music never gets distracting or boring during your entire gameplay. Although the voice acting isn't the best you've heard in a game, it's decent enough to keep you interested in the goals you're trying to achieve throughout the different scenarios. There are quite a few different environmental sounds that do sound great whether it's the whirling wind of hurricane, the blasting of the volcano, or the exotic animals you'll find distributed across the multiple islands you'll come across. 1701 is just one of those games that you wish that you could have the soundtrack for some easy listening in the car, or at least that's that's the way I feel.

There is a multiplayer component to the game which is extremely smooth and easy to work with whether you're new to the game or not. The developers took their time in making the overall feel of the game very easy to work through and work with. The gamers who are playing the game online are a great community to be introduced to and if you ever have any problems in the game, you can always go to the official game forums and ask questions and they're always more than willing to help in a mature and knowledgeable manner. The game shipped pretty stable with only a few minor bugs attached, but nothing that would hinder gameplay in the sense of crash to desktops or totally freezing up. The bugs that I ran across were ones where some game balance issues with a few units and buildings, but those have been fixed with the first patch. Also, with some little updates, Related Designs want to include little trinkets or very noticeable Easter Eggs like the Christmas tree that was in the town center during the holiday season. I'm sure the developers have many little additions to the game that they'd like to make in the coming holiday season and personally, I can't wait.

Overall, this is a great game for a strategy colony building game lover. Fans of 1503 and 1602 A.D. will love this game in every possible way from the splendid graphics to the smooth sound, but don't forget the ease of use interface also. Newcomers will enjoy the simplicity of the game's overall gameplay and strategy lovers will thoroughly enjoy the replay value the game has to offer.
Gameplay10.00
Graphics9.00
Sound9.00
Replay Value9.00
Stability9.00
Multiplayer9.00
Options/Upgrades9.00
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