Welcome to another gaming review!
Urban empire is a curious concept taking features from Sim City, Europa Universalis and Civilisation, then scaling the entire package down to a city-sized management game. The developers from Kalypso are no strangers to this genre having developed the highly regarded Tropico series; a game where you control a dictator in charge of a developing island. In many ways despite its reduction in scale, Urban Empire (pc game) very much follows the same formula, except in this case instead of a dictator you are the city mayor.
About Urban Empire
Urban Empire is a city management game but it diverges significantly from games like simcity. Instead of managing the city from above as in traditional god-games, you instead are put directly in charge of the political, social and technological direction of your domain. Choosing one of 4 ruling families, you must manage your city through 200 years of history, stretching from 1820 to modern day. One route to victory is to remain in power for the entire duration (though this is just 1 of 5 victory conditions) but the game will let you continue after you succeed in a sandbox mode. Each of the 4 ruling families has 5 members and the game will play quite differently depending on whom you play. This provides significant replayability as running through with different characters changes up the game quite a bit.
Gameplay of Urban Empire
As years pass you must make important decisions on which technologies your citizens should pursue, respond to the demands of the people and handle ‘smart’, dynamic events which occur based on your decisions. You must also manage the moral development of your people, influencing your citizen’s attitudes to women’s rights and child labor. Gameplay is mostly managed through menus though you also have to plan out your cities zones on the world map. Tech trees are very reminiscent of civilization, though many technologies are a trade-off of advantages and disadvantages preventing them from being a straightforward upgrade. Unfortunately If you imagined political skullduggery with your friends, Urban Empire is purely a single player experience with no multiplayer planned. The Urban Empire Steam FAQ states they want players to get “the best possible single player experience” so don’t expect it to be added later.
Urban Empire Graphics
Urban Empire looks good. The graphics are vibrant with plenty of detail allowing you to clearly see your developing city. The world map is generally viewed from above in typical simulation style and while zoomed out everything remains clear and easy to see. Menus are well designed and easy to navigate with plenty of tooltips and lots of information. These come with a cost however, the minimum requirements demanding a GTX560 or an HF6850.
Urban Empire is an interesting concept, successfully merging ideas from Sim City and Tropico. If you are a Tropico fan or enjoy strategy games it is not difficult to recommend, on the other hand, this is a slow paced game with gameplay that mostly consists of making selections from menus. If you don’t have patience for that kind of gameplay in other games, Urban Empire (pc game) is unlikely to change your mind.
Web: Official Website