'Humankind' is the Kind of Game I Could Play All Day

Up until the sunrise

Key Takeaways

  • Humankind is a new 4X strategy game from Amplitude Studios, the developers behind the Endless Space series.
  • The game blends multiple systems from previous strategy games like Sid Meier’s Civilization into a new and unique package.
  • Despite some flaws, Humankind is yet another perfect example of how strategy games can keep you up, playing well beyond when you intended to stop.
Humankind cover art.

Amplitude Studios

While it isn’t quite perfect, Amplitude Studios’ Humankind delivers on its promise to create a driving historical strategy game, and is just as compelling as the classics that have come before it.

Humankind, Amplitude's take on the historical 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) formula, is finally here. While not a direct successor to the Sid Meier’s Civilization series, it holds many of the same basics, while also instituting new systems for players to come to terms with.

It’s a solid mix of strategy components that lays a good foundation to build off, should Amplitude decide to expand it in the future. The addicting "one more turn" gameplay is entirely on display in Humankind, and much like the strategy games that have come before it, it starts to kick in very early into each playthrough.

It’s a feeling that I’ve become well acquainted with over the years, as new editions of Civilization release, and it’s one I was fully ready to embrace. And embrace it I have. Despite some overall flaws, there’s a lot to like about Humankind; so much, in fact, that I could sit down and play it all day.

Expanding the Basics

Perhaps one of my favorite things about Humankind is the way Amplitude Studios approaches cultures. Where Civilization usually has you playing as a single culture or country through an entire game, Humankind allows you to "adopt" different cultures through each of its eras.

Screenshot from 'Humankind.'

There are seven eras in total, ranging from the nomadic Neolithic Era to the more Contemporary Era. As you play through each match, you’ll collect a series of stars, which helps dictate when you’re ready to adopt a new culture and expand.

Unlike Civilization, players do not start with a specific culture, though. Instead, you begin as a nomadic tribe, wandering the land and looking for animals and resources to gather.

You’ll have a set of goals to achieve, which will reward the stars I mentioned earlier, and once you’ve reached enough of those goals, you can pick your first culture. The more stars you earn, the better off you are. However, there’s also another layer to this part of the game.

Because this is the first time you choose a culture, it’s one of the most pivotal moments of the entire match. If you’re too slow, you could lose out on the best cultures available. However, if you speed through it too much, you may not get a good enough lay of the land and find a good spot for your first outpost and cities.

It makes it important to balance exploration and settlement, something that I feel Humankind does better than any of the previous games before it.

"I can already spend hours in this game without batting an eye, and that’s something that every good strategy game should deliver on."

There are multiple choices like this throughout each match in Humankind, and each one can play an essential part in deciding which path you take as a civilization.

Building cultural bonuses on top of each other is important, and something that no other game of this kind has given you the chance to explore. While it may get dull hundreds or thousands of hours into the game, right now, it feels refreshing to have a bit more control over my civilization.

Going Too Narrow

Not everything is sunshine and diamonds, though. While Humankind shines in many places, there are some places that it doesn’t shine so brightly.

There aren’t multiple win conditions, for one. This is something that I loved about the Civilization series. In Humankind, all you need to do is acquire the most Fame in the entire match, and you’ll win. There’s no opportunity for knowledge-based wins or even for religious-based wins. At least not yet. 

There also aren’t as many random events as you might see in other historical strategy games, which can again make for slower moments as you grind away at your objectives.

Screenshot from 'Humankind.'

These aren’t game-breaking conditions by any means, but I do hope that we’ll see Amplitude adding more to these systems in future updates.

The foundation that has been built in the release version of Humankind is strong. I can already spend hours in this game without batting an eye, and that’s something that every good strategy game should deliver on.

All Amplitude needs to do is expand the winning conditions, add in some more random events, and Humankind could be the first historical strategy game to surpass Sid Meier’s Civilization and take the crown.

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