Novel Review On Farthest Frontier Early Access

Everyone in my mediaeval town on the Farthest Frontier has smallpox, we’re being raided by bandits, and there’s a drought and crop blight. It’s… magnificent. And I don’t just say that out of masochistic desire. I enjoy playing challenging games, but what makes this mediaeval colony builder stand out is how each task feels historically accurate. And even while some of the experience obviously justifies the early access designation, for a mediaeval history nut like me, that really sells the experience.

Review On Farthest Frontier Early Access

Farthest Frontier places

Farthest Frontier places you in one of four appealing-looking biomes alongside a dozen weary inhabitants trying to start again. Gather wood, build houses, get food, and protect yourself from wolves and bears are the basic requirements for setting up and maintaining a colony, and they should be quite recognizable to you if you’ve played other survival city-building games. The really intriguing twist in this situation is that all food ultimately goes bad. You cannot simply collect everything in your path and not have to worry about it for a very long time because even the stockpile you start with won’t last very long past the first winter. Not initially, at least.

Farthest Frontier feels so authentic in large part due to this one small modification, and I found its trials to be both interesting and fulfilling. It made me think more like a culture that would have existed in a real-world agricultural, mediaeval era, and eventually it led me down many of the same pathways they took. Every turn on the road involves an interesting trade-off. Although grain can be kept for a much longer period of time than other crops, it cannot be eaten on its own; instead, it must be converted into flour and subsequently bread, which requires two more structures. Additionally, compared to other crops, it rapidly depletes soil fertility.

agriculture system in Farthest Frontier

That is a component of the extremely intricate agriculture system in Farthest Frontier. Each piece of land that can be used for agriculture has ratings for fertility, rocks, weeds, and even the proportion of sand to clay. Crop rotation is crucial since all of these factors can be affected by a variety of tasks, and planting the same thing repeatedly can frequently result in the land becoming barren over time. This type of game is as close to my personal happy zone as I can get, and I was actually researching articles on mediaeval field rotation techniques while I played. Yes, I am aware. I am a nerd.

The Middle Ages wouldn’t feel right without a healthy dose of suffering.

Additionally, you’ll have to deal with problems like drought, frost, wild animals destroying your crops, and diseases like mildew, the remedies to which gradually increase the plausibility of your town. Since so many games feature abstract systems that force me to make stupid choices in order to make things work, it’s rather refreshing. It can seem like a lot to handle at times, but I developed a mentality of accepting the chaos and occasionally even finding humor in my people’ hardship. I may be cold-hearted, but this is the Middle Ages. If there wasn’t a decent dosage of pain, it wouldn’t feel right.

Farthest Frontier notably the military

But on occasion, it can be irritating in unpleasant ways. There’s a built-in taxing system, although it’s never really explained. Unless you read through each description separately, it’s unclear whether buildings actually produce gold. Every year, a certain amount of gold is collected as a tax without much justification for the amount you are paying. Maintaining some employment also costs money, most notably the military. But sometimes I would still be charged for them even when I had no army assignments assigned and all of my military buildings were off, which was annoying. Perhaps it’s simply a bug. After all, this is early access.

However, infrequent bandit assaults can leave your homes in ruins and your supplies of food and wealth looted, so I was pleased I paid those warriors when I did need them. Although walls and watchtowers can help avoid this, I frequently found that on the default settings, the amount I had to spend fighting off attacks was a little ludicrous. After a time, maintaining a positive gold balance just didn’t seem conceivable, and I was only able to stay out of debt by trading away luxuries once a year. I feel like there is some aspect of managing the gold economy that I’m missing, but I’ve spent a long time scouring menus and reading tooltips without finding the solution.

But even in the worst-case scenario, bandits won’t destroy your colony entirely. New immigrants will always be queuing up to join you as long as you’re keeping everyone reasonably content, so there’s always a chance that you’ll recover. I could therefore choose to disregard the situation and treat the bandits as another natural disaster I would occasionally have to clean up after if the frustration of maintaining a strong defensive force became too severe.

Farthest Frontier has a very appealing appearance, too. It is readable but detailed, realistic but saturated. When you close in on each tiny homestead, you can see the clothes blowing in the wind. I’d love to get lost in the vibrant fields, forests, and rivers. Summer green eventually gives way to autumnal orange and then the icy, ominous white of winter as the seasons change. In some games like Banished, I was sorely missing how vibrantly alive the entire environment felt.

Performance is one area that I truly hope gets tightened up during early access. Even on my Ryzen 7 3700X and GTX 3080-powered PC, I started to notice some regular, though not consistent, chugging and hitching as I reached 200 people, which is necessary to unlock the top level of your town center. I can mainly overlook it for the time being because optimization is sometimes one of the last things to be perfected in an early access game. But it does imply that, along with my consistent framerate, my desire to continue playing a larger colony over a certain size began to wane.

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