by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Return to the Age of Exploration
The conquistadors were explorers, soldiers and adventurers in the service of the Spanish and Portuguese empires during the Age of Exploration. They conquered much of the Americas with relative ease, being better armed and better supplied than the people they conquered - and robbed. In the grand scheme of things, their questionable methods and lack of honour does little to diminish the importance that their conquests hold in history books.
In Expeditions: Conquistador, you to step into the boots of one of these conqueror-explorers and find your fortune in the mysterious lands of the Americas. Such a task is insurmountable on your own, so you hire a party of hunters, scouts, doctors, soldiers and scholars to ensure the success of your mission. Shame on you if you think that you can survive through brute force only: in the harsh New World, a wound can fester and kill you more easily than an enemy blade. And as soldiers are rarely good hunters, your party will not fight well – or rather not fight for you at all - if you do not supply them with sustenance.
So you create a character and hire a group of followers to accompany you on your road to fame and fortune. The game begins as your ship arrives to the New World and you start moving along a map, first getting to know the town and to receive some missions and basic training from the locals. The local governor, Alcazar de Colon, practically forces you to help him with dealing with a rebellious movement near the town by seizing your ship. After picking up all the quests, you start exploring the wilderness, carrying out your missions, discovering resources and further adventures.
Manage your expedition
The premise is reminiscent of the light strategy games of old, and Sid Meier’s Pirates! in particular. You explore an area, work to keep up the crew morale while trying to accumulate enough riches to retire with a comfortable purse of gold. Expeditions: Conquistador takes this simple premise and takes it one step further. Instead of overall crew morale, you will have to take into account the individuals in your party – they all have their own backgrounds and values and attitudes that affect the way they react to your actions during the game. For instance, if you choose to be tolerant of the natives’ pagan religions, you can expect the most pious of your companions to complain about it. Similarly, racists will not easily understand it if you don’t allow them to attack and kill every native that they meet.
And it is not only people and food that you have to manage, but equipment as well. With your ship ceased, you start out with very little equipment and every piece that you buy new costs a veritable fortune of gold and trinkets. The handling of equipment is an interesting process in itself. Instead of buying a particular kind of muskets or bows and arrows, you simply purchase a generic good called “equipment” and give it to your men and women, assigning them as melee or ranged weapons or armour in the process. Given enough equipment for each slot, the character will have better types of muskets, swords or armour that they can use in combat. This simplified approach may annoy those who prefer micromanage their crew down to the smallest details, but it is well received by others.
Good storyline, moral choices, character interaction, simple but multifaceted management
Food is too expensive!