Dawn of Man is a survival and city-building video game which was developed by Madruga Works. The closed beta started the week of October 17, 2018 and the game was released on March 1, 2019. It is now available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Gameplay

In this creation of Madruga Works you will take control of a settlement of the first modern humans, to guide them through the ages in their struggle for survival. The game starts during the Stone Age, and builds up to the Iron Age, spanning more than 10,000 years of human prehistory. In order for your town to survive through the ages you will have to deal with natural disasters, enemy raids, harsh winters, animal attacks and starvation.

Speaking of starvation, an one might think, food is an essential resource in this title. Hunting and fishing are the main ways for you to provide it to your villagers, especially in the early Ages. Beware though, because if your hunters don’t have the requisite equipment or if the hunted animal is very strong, they will probably fail. You can measure the strength of each animal according to his color in the Primal Vision feature. Food can also be collected from the environment in the form of fruits and berries. As you advance through the years, you will be given the chance to grow your own crops, keeping the stomachs of your people full without great effort.

A very important aspect of Dawn of Man is the seasons. Like in real life, seasons will affect the temperature, the animals’ behaviour and the crops’ growth. For example fruits can only be collected during summer, fish is more abundant during spring and when the temperature gets really low your encounter with animals will become rather scarce. When winter finally comes, if you wish for your settlement to survive, warm clothing and food stockpiles are a necessity and you had better prepare them beforehand.

This game also features a ton of different resources like wood, flint, ores, leather and bone that you have to gather and micro-manage. These will help you weave clothes for your people, create tools or weapons and erect new buildings. In order to collect each resource you will need to set a Work Area with some workers assigned to it near the source. There is also a Workload bar that when exceeding 100%, the construction of new structures or the harvesting of certain crops will be delayed. The more demanding you are from your villagers, the more the Workload percent will increase.

The most interesting element of the title is technology. You can advance in the Tech tree using Knowledge Points that your villagers accumulate while they work. For example the erection of a new building or the gathering of 100 sticks will reward you with one point. There are six technologic eras (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age). Investing in the Tech tree is of utmost importance and will have a huge impact on your civilization. Do you want to have animal domestication and a good transportation system or do you prefer improved weaponry and fortifications? Dawn of Man will give you a wide variety of options and it’s up for you to decide.

There are three game modes. In Freeplay Mode you can keep building and upgrading your city forever. There are certain goals, called Milestones that you have to achieve though, in order to unlock the next stage of this mode. In Challenge Mode there is a certain objective that you have to complete like guiding a herd of mammoths towards a destination. The last mode is the Community one, where you can download and play custom maps.

Graphics / Sound

Dawn of Man doesn’t have the most awesome graphics, but they are pretty good for the strategy genre title. The Maps are detailed, the buildings’ models are good and you will not encounter any graphical glitches. Each season affects the flora differently and the terrain adds an elegant touch to the game. The soundtrack is enjoyable as well, but the non existing voice acting for the villagers is slightly dissapointing. I understand that there weren’t many options for dialogues in the Paleolithic Age, but even some grunts would make the experience more realistic.

Unique Features

Most of the modern strategy games are set in more popular eras like the Medieval Age or the Future. Madruga’s Works creation will take you back to an epoch that the most fundamental objective for the human race was resource management and survival. There is no point in amassing a huge army when you can barely feed 20 people. Seasons affecting the gameplay is also a very realistic and unique feature that you have to take into account during your playthrough.

Replayability

The main story takes around 14 hours to complete. The game has four difficulties (Easy, Challenging, Difficult and Extreme) and on top of that a Hardcore option that allows you to save only once, disables the pause button and increases the aggresion of animals and raiders.

Pros

  • Amazing prehistoric experience

  • Realistic survival game

  • Technology Tree progress feature

Cons

  • Not enough replayability

  • No voice acting when you select your villagers

Rating (7.8/10)

  • Gameplay: 8.7/10

  • Graphics: 7.5/10

  • Sound: 7.3/10

  • Uniqueness: 8.9/10

  • Replayability: 6.5/10

Primary Version Tested: PC

Foivos Karkanis

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