Siege Survival: Gloria Victis is a management-focused RTS set in the tense atmosphere of an ongoing siege.
For the real-time strategy genre, castle sieges are nothing new. With roots in tabletop wargaming, the genre is full of interesting worlds and locales that house brutal battles waged with massive armies. These fights are usually the focus of games in the genre and allow you to get knee-deep in the action by commanding your armies firsthand. Siege Survival: Gloria Victis by Black Eye Games flips this concept on its head by putting you in the shoes of the civilians who get caught in the middle of it all. Using your grit and anything useful you can find, you’ll build a livable settlement to help survivors and supply the defenders against the occupying forces of the Ismir.
While the tutorial gameplay may seem soft, Siege Survival: Gloria Victis drops you into the bleak aftermath of a castle siege. The town is occupied, the civilians are dead or displaced and your character awakens and finds himself surrounded by rubble and a wayward companion. The tutorial is instructive and gives you a great handle on the basics but leaves a few wayward objectives that don’t explore the breadth of the tech tree that’s available. Your small bastion will have humble beginnings, building fireplaces and a stump with a sawhorse to make the most of the few raw materials you have. However, these will soon run out and unlike other familiar RTS games, you do not gather materials using conventional harvesting methods such as mining for gold. Instead, you will reclaim what’s already yours.
During the night you are able to send out one of your workers to the occupied city. Once inside you’ll be able to find food, water and other resources left over from the ferocious Ismir invasion. This is only if you can evade enemy forces who patrol the city ruins at night. These vikings won’t take kindly to you rummaging around and even less so if they can see or hear it for themselves. This makes resource gathering a tension-filled affair with surprisingly solid stealth-action controls to back it up. The dark fog of war that illustrates your field of view creates a great atmosphere of panic when you see the vision cone of an Ismir patrol come into view. This stings even more if your noisy carelessness brought him there. Being noticed as you retreat back home will cause patrols to intensify in the areas of the city you were caught in for the next few nights, rewarding mindful reconnaissance and planning.
Being out all night can tire out a worker. This can hurt even more if they get wounded or sick while out foraging for supplies and it all adds up the next day at camp. In addition to feeding and supplying the soldiers at the front, you’ll need to make sure your workers and livestock are healthy as well. These afflictions can become severe and if neglected can lead to death, which can lead to even more disease to create a vicious cycle where it’s easy to panic, leading to bad decisions in the heat of the moment.
Some minor pathing issues can lead to further frustration as you realize minutes later that your worker got stuck on some terrain or ran by every single Ismir guard on the way home. It gives Siege Survival: Gloria Victis a tough learning curve even if you reload days you believe you have mismanaged. The learning experience is thankfully cushioned with tons of small unlockables and rewards that are scattered throughout the game.
Each character found or building built during your initial run fuels further runs you undertake. This makes it easy to write off your first survival campaign as a learning experience and dive into one of the many scenarios that can unlock after your first 3 hours of gameplay. Quick-start runs, explorer-focused settings and challenge scenarios await those who seek them after going through your tutorial phase.
You also unlock the New Game Plus option to create a customized story run with adjustable parameters and using characters and buildings you have unlocked as pre-sets. This makes it easy for anyone who wants to experience the engaging story of Edring’s Last Stand to jump in and survive. There is also an incredibly powerful map maker to create your own version of the siege from top to bottom. Everything from placing doors and scavenging points to enemy patrols and schedules are available to customize and upload for others to experience. With these powerful replayability options tow, there are multiple ways to survive the harsh world of Siege Survival: Gloria Victis.
While survival ultimately depends on the resources you gather, it is up to the brave soldiers who hold the line of the bastion to fight off the Ismir forces. They need food, water, weapons and more to stave off the enemy forces until reinforcements arrive. While their numbers are few you are able to make them stand strong by making sure they can focus on fighting. Ismir attacks can hit your encampment with artillery or flaming arrow volleys which can damage your buildings or workers, which can take you by surprise if you never scouted behind enemy lines. As you advance deeper into the tech tree, however, you will be able to fight back against invading forces in your own ways. This can include reconstructing a trebuchet to fire pots of boiling tar on the enemies. The offscreen efforts are shown in real-time and recapped in a battle report to give a final score to each side, reflecting your preparedness.
Siege Survival: Gloria Victis is a unique and engaging RTS that brings in elements of stealth and survival to create a compelling experience. The story is well told, with beats that hit right on cue to make them all feel immersive and rewarding. While the combat may take a back seat to the resource management and stealth gameplay, the atmosphere the game provides never makes you feel like what you’re doing is trivial. Though there are a few pathing issues and the visuals are a bit lacking, the gameplay is unique and offers enough replayability to have you coming back for more.
– Great atmosphere.
– Engaging gameplay.
– Immersive storytelling.
– Tons of replayability.
– Visuals lack polish.
– Poor mission objective system.
– Minor pathing issues.
4 out of 5
PC review code provided by Tinsley PR. Siege Survival: Gloria Victis is out now!