Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder PlatoAiStream PlatoAiStream. Data Intelligence. Vertical Search. Ai.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

There’s a specific kind of game that you can play for hours on end. The second time I booted up the survival city builder Farthest Frontier, it was 10 PM when I started the session and when I finally called it a session it was 6 AM in the morning.

Farthest Frontier is still in Early Access, and despite the rough edges that come to parcel with the label, it has nailed its gameplay loop really well which should satiate the hunger for a city builder that can flip between idyllic and brutal.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder PlatoAiStream PlatoAiStream. Data Intelligence. Vertical Search. Ai.
Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

Back To The Village

The setup of Farthest Frontier is that a group of lower class citizens in this medieval era world said enough is enough towards the wreckless and snobbish nobles and decided to uproot themselves to found a new town of their own. You can’t call these folks the Banished when they decided to banish themselves first.

And yes, Farthest Frontier pretty much reminded me of Banished, a really great full-3D survival city builder. But this game has taken some bits of the contemporaries from this genre by adding in random threats that can attack your settlement from time to time.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

Build A New Home

You start a game of Farthest Frontier by placing the town centre, with a lot of the map being visible so you can see ahead of time where are all the resources in this randomly generated map. Once that town centre’s plopped down, the fog of war kicks in and now you better start building your town, quick. The game has weather and seasons to contend with and that means when winter arrives it can possibly kill the townfolks should you not stock up on firewood and food.

In the early game, you’ll have to clear up the surrounding forest for wood and stone, and set up hunter lodges to get meat and forages for herbs and vegetables that grow in the wild. If you’re lucky to have a lake nearby, you can plop a fishing place too. Later on, you can clear up land and till them into farmlands.

Also, food decays, so you can’t horde too much, but it’s more likely that you’re just always running short of food stocks.

All that I just described here can apply to Farthest Frontier, and also applies to Banished. If it’s not clear yet, this game will definitely scratch that same itch you’ve been longing for, Banished fans.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder PlatoAiStream PlatoAiStream. Data Intelligence. Vertical Search. Ai.
Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

Defend The Farmlands

But Farthest Frontier is like the video game equivalent of a cover song, it sounds like that song you know and love but they bring in their own flavour with their tribute. And what developers Crate Entertainment added here is more complexity.

For one, farming has much more going to it than just picking a crop to grow for the year. You can pick various crops to grow (no seed needed, it’s all unlocked), but each crop has different stats that, depending on the current state of the soil, can be more suited to grow than others. Some can withstand the heat of summer, some will stop weeds from growing. And you can even dedicate a crop rotation just to till the land or plant clovers just to get the soil more fertile for the next round of crops.

It’s ridiculously in-depth. I’m looking up actual farming tips to get my head around this farming system.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

And then there are the base defence aspects. From time to time your little town may come across wild animals that attack the villagers, or raiders that attack the buildings (and villagers). So you also need to defend the village by having watch towers and building walls.

I can see clever builders making choke points or mazes of agony to thwart these attacks. And I can see players still green in their first few playthroughs go into a death spiral because they build the homes a little too close to a wolf’s den, leaving a pile of corpses and a rat infestation in front of the otherwise lovely abodes in the middle of a beautiful forest.

On that note, you can end up in a death spiral if you’re not careful. If it’s not wolves or bears, it can be from the many different diseases and outbreaks that can pop up. Or the long cold winter where you don’t have enough food or firewood stocked up. Or a fire broke out and there’s not enough water to put it out and now a whole block of buildings are up in ashes. Or those pesky raiders destroying major infrastructure and pillaging loot from your stocks. Or the unhappy villagers becoming smart enough to pack up their bags and leave your settlement- taking away some goods from the storage while they are at it. Or a plague spread through the village.

Things not only can go wrong, they will go wrong eventually. If you know what you’re doing eventually you can dig yourself out of the hole of suffering, but it is morbidly fun to just see the disaster of seeing your failing and ailing village collapse into ruin. But more importantly, it’s always clear why it all happened and how you can stop the problem from the notification pop-ups.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder PlatoAiStream PlatoAiStream. Data Intelligence. Vertical Search. Ai.
Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

Buildings can be upgraded to higher tiers and building unlocks are well spread out that it gives you enough time to grasp the current needs you need to juggle. But you will be thrown for a loop for a bit as not all unlocked buildings can be built, or be used, at the current tier of unlocks you are on.

For example, you can build a windmill at Tier 2 but in order to build it, you’ll need a heavy tool, which you can only produce when you reach Tier 3. The trick is that you need to do trading. Traders from other towns sometimes will come to the trading post with higher tier wares you can’t build on your own yet. Resources from mines are finite, so there will be a point in time later in the game where you can’t be self-sustainable and have to rely on trading excess goods for those you can’ produce on your own. So that’s something you must consider as well when building your town.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

Unsettled Problems

Farthest Frontier is really fun right now but that early access moniker is there for a reason. For one, in the current state of this early access release, the game chugs in performance once you explore more of the map. The performance also drops the longer you play. The framerate is not a consistent one when you’re on year 20 or more, or like to play at faster speeds, but goes back to normal when the game is paused.

Also, I find the flatten terrain tool not doing its job correctly. It does make the area you select have no rough edges, but most of the time it will be a flat plane at an angle, as in it’s not flat, but rather slanted. It makes the village looks less grid-like and more fluid and natural, but having to deal with “slope too steep” and having to use the flatten terrain tool over and over (which then requires you to wait and see the workers do the dirty work over time) to get the land to be at least good enough to plop a building is really killing the mood.

The UI could use another pass as well. You have overlay views as keyboard shortcuts that don’t label themselves as what the overlays are supposed to mean. The trading post trading menu is a daunting task to figure out at first glance, though admittedly all the functions you expect to be able to do are all there. And the way it abstracts and keeps track of how much food you have may not be where that number comes from. Instead of a raw number of total food available, it churns up a smaller number in the way of counting how many months the food storage can last- while not surfacing when each month of a year begins or ends that well (the months are those tiny segments on the middle top of the seasonal calendar) and how the total of your food stocks gets counted into how many month of food stocks.

Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder PlatoAiStream PlatoAiStream. Data Intelligence. Vertical Search. Ai.
Farthest Frontier Early Access Impressions – Already An Amazing Survival City-Builder

Closing Thoughts

Crate Entertainment’s previous title, Grim Dawn, is a Diablo-style ARPG that’s decent for what’s it aiming for. This time, they’re tackling a Banished-like survival city-builder.

From what I played of the Early Access version as it is right now, Farthest Frontier is already bound for greatness. The mix of calm and calamity in building a bunch of homesteads in the middle of nowhere in hopes that it blooms into a prospering town is already in a good place. And if you’re like me, this game can easily lose you hours of your day (or night). Time flies when you have fun.

Despite its roughness on the technical aspects and some UI elements needing a bit more elbow grease, Farthest Frontier is already destined to be a great city-builder. Hopefully so, I really don’t want to see this game end up in a death spiral thanks to a single oopsie.

Played on PC. Review key provided by Crate Entertainment

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  • Source: https://gamermatters.com/farthest-frontier-early-access-impressions-already-an-amazing-survival-city-builder/

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