Once again we find ourselves during the time of Viking conquest, but it’s too bad we’re on the receiving end. The Vikings are considered one of the most powerful cultures to ever take on the world and resisting them was a near-impossible task. However, the developers Black Eye Games and Fishtank Studio are challenging us to do just that. In Siege Survival: Gloria Victis, the prologue to Gloria Victis, you must manage a group of civilians as they attempt to endure the Ismir (Viking) assault. By maintaining the barracks and supporting the defending forces, you may just stand a chance to see this game through to the end.
What are we Fighting For?
The game is set in a medieval city that has been quickly overrun by overwhelming Ismir forces. Those who could escape did so while those less fortunate either fell to the enemy or became trapped within the Erdring castle walls. You must lead the civilians to maintain the castle walls and use any resources they find to support the castle defenders. The goal is to hold out long enough for reinforcements to arrive. This is a setup that isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about enduring what feels like a never-ending onslaught.
Strength in Numbers
Whether you’re attacking or defending, the more units you have then the more options you have. Siege Survival has a lot to work with and fight back. The first is the balance of pacing. The game is split up into two main segments: Management and scavenging. During the former, you must make the most of the day to build and craft as much as you can. In the latter, you must send out a civilian to scour the city for resources, weapons, and people. While management games are usually gradual, the fast progression of time and occasional assaults keep you on guard.
Then there’s the narrative risk-vs-reward structure. While playing through the game, you’ll receive updates in the form of illustrated text screens. They’re clear, straightforward, and informative enough to help influence your decisions. During the scavenging missions, you’ll come across various city events that also pop up as text pages. They usually present you with a scenario and ask you to make choices based on what’s happening. This introduces another element of strategy which adds to the overall challenge. Available actions can also change based on the strengths of the scavenger.
Last but not least there’s the overall presentation. The environment and characters have a neat and natural look to them. The sounds are subtle yet present while the music supports the action.
Holes in the Defense
Sometimes one blast is all it takes to penetrate the fort walls. Unfortunately for Siege Survival, there are a few holes that need immediate patching. The first is one of inconvenience. It’s frustrating that only one person can use a structure at a time. This makes management and upkeeps quite tedious the fewer people you have. Considering how fast time passes, you really need numbers to accomplish anything significant. There’s also the issue that there’s only one save that happens automatically at the start of each day. So, if you have to leave during a night segment or accidentally click something you didn’t want to, then you have to start the day over.
The biggest issue is probably the lack of clarity. This is a game where you need to carefully read over every page of the checklist. You only get alerts when things have gotten really bad and the whole point is to prevent that from happening. When it comes to exploring the city, the map helpfully marks all points of interest including important events. However, until you actually trigger them, there’s no way to tell what they are or how they’ll affect you. You could argue this adds an element of RNG but in a time-sensitive game based on strategy, a trial-and-error system feels unfair and out of place.
The Last Line
Gloria Victis: Siege Survival is a tactical management game revolving around holding out against a Viking army. It’s visceral, challenging, engaging, and fun to play. It suffers from some technical and contextual issues while also lacking clarity but it’s still manageable. Any game can give you the power to destroy, but this one gives you the strength to survive.
TechRaptor reviewed Gloria Victis: Siege Survival on PC with a copy provided by the people behind the game's creation It is currently only available on PC.
- A Split Between Hectic Management and Risky Scavenging
- Detailed Narrative Events That can Change How You Progress
- Smooth Gameplay With Solid Visuals and Music
- Lacks Manual Saving and Teamwork Mechanics
- Events and Scavenging Provide Little Clarity and Feedback