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Banished Review

17 Feb 2014  by   Paul Younger
Game Details
Developer: Shining Rock Software
Publisher: Shining Rock Software
Reviewed on: PC
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The AI in Banished is also extremely good. I don’t think there was a single point where I became frustrated with the citizens, as they always did what they were told and carried out their day-to-day functions without a hitch. If they got cold, they looked for shelter; if they were hungry, they went to the storage barn; if they needed to move resources to a building plot then they just got on with it. It was crucical for the game to get this right in order to appear alive and intelligent, even if what they’re actually doing isn’t exactly rocket science. Nonetheless: if they’re doing something wrong then it’s usually down to something stupid you have done.

Banished has a tendency to hypnotise you with its visuals. Watching the seasons roll into each other is a genuinely calming experience – watching trees sway in the summer breeze, shed their leaves in winter and then jump to life in spring is enjoyable to watch. Let’s not forget that this game has been created by one man who has not only put together a great interface, decent AI, and city building mechanics that will appeal to many, but he’s also created all the art. Quite outstanding, because the game looks great.

Banished

Lovely detail.

Speaking to Luke last year he made is clear that Banished is not about forcing challenges on players, but a city builder that lets you do what you want and in whatever order you wish. With no real tech tree requirements on building and rudimentary crafting at locations such as the tailor and blacksmith, there’s a foundation here for a more expansive Banished.

The game’s limitations have their pros and cons. On the plus side you can just play the game and watch the world and it’s citizens grow over time with no real pressure. On the negative side this could become a little mundane for fans of the genre looking for a real challenge. Don’t get me wrong – the game is challenging, especially at the start, but the lack of features in the late game let it down.

Before bring this review to a close there is one really important fact that needs to be pointed out: Shining Rock is currently working on a mod tool set and that excites me. The core game is a fantastic foundation and to have the feature set expanded with the backing of a creative mod-making community would be fantastic. I also hope that the game continues to be developed over time by Luke because having a few “official” additions released would be a huge plus that could bring players back once they have done everything in the core game.

This has been an incredibly hard game to review for the simple reason that the game plays great, but in its shipped form, it may not have enough content to keep you completely engrossed for weeks on end. Despite the potential offered by the forthcoming mod tools, we have to score it based on the core game and not what may or may not happen in the future. That said, I have no doubt that with more input from players and Shining Rock in the weeks and months ahead it could shape up to be a highly engrossing feature-packed city builder.

If you love city builders then this is definitely worth a look at $19.99. Just be prepared to wait for more content to arrive in the future either from fans or Shining Rock.

For a few tips to help you, check out our Banished guide.

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Related to this story

7/10
A solid city builder that will appeal to most fans of the genre even if it's currently lacking in features and scope.
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  1. Avatar of
    nasarius
    +7

    At this point I’ve watched too many hours of Let’s Play videos of Banished from half a dozen different people, and this review seems quite fair. It’s not everything I might have hoped for, and it’s certainly not Dwarf Fortress. But it seems to take everything good about Anno 1404, throws out most of the superfluous filler, and reorients the game around basic resource management and survival.

    For now, for a few solid days of sandbox city building joy, that’s more than enough for me to buy the game the instant it’s available. I do hope the mod kit is released within the next few months, though.

    February 17, 2014 at 8:55 pm
    1. +1

      Sometimes the trouble with the ‘Let’s Play’ and streamer people is they have a vested interest in you continuing to watch so they can lean towards to the positive side of things. Unless of course their angle is “ooo I’m an angry gamer telling it how it iz!” So you’ll hear a lot of ‘awesome/cool/wicked” when in reality it’s more like a ‘nice touch/ well done’.

      What this one man team has achieved though is brilliant and I hope he continues developing it with some DLC AND releases the mod kit.

      February 19, 2014 at 8:03 pm

  2. DavidTheSlayer
    +8

    It’s really impressive a single developer can do all of this. That water and bridge look nice.

    February 17, 2014 at 11:57 pm

  3. ITsniper
    +9

    Finally a building game without the restrictions, basically open world builder, I was expecting the new simcity to be like this. This is a buy for me, just hope the developer keeps expanding it.

    February 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

  4. Oblitorator
    +9

    I will buy the game to support the developer’s hard work. He’s managed to create a better looking game (in my opinion) than the new Sim city developed by EA and Maxis, and that is a great achievement!

    February 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm
    1. No doubt about that. He’s done a great job on the core game. Just needs more.

      February 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

  5. Kodes
    -3

    It’s unfortunately just not very fun

    February 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm
  6. +2

    Scope is the big problem with Banished. Like many, I’ve looked forward to this since seeing the first videos/screenshots of it, especially as I was in the midst of being sorely disappointed with Simcity at the time.

    Banished is a great basis for a brilliant game but it needs mods. It needs modders to make the game blossom from this point.

    I miss buildings upgrading, I miss watching houses upgrade in response to me doing the right thing, finding the right balance in the area. I miss tech trees, unlocking new stuff after achieving other requirements.

    I like controlling my stock in different storage facilities and markets.

    I miss good trading. I don’t know why I need to trade in Banished. Once I have my 2 of whatever animal I didn’t need anything. Once I have wheat I can grow that crop as food and use it to make Ale so I don’t need to make any other booze. So I never traded again. Unless I’m missing something.

    And I miss trading for something to combine with something I have to sell on for a profit.

    I’m comparing Banished in my mind right now to Pharaoh which I’m left wanting to play after playing Banished. It’s whet my appetite again but it can’t satisfy it so I think it’s going to require a sizable DLC from Shining Rock or some creative modders to take it further.

    February 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm

  7. Simon

    Hey Guys,

    I think this game is fantastic, And i’ve set up a little community website with all the information i can possibly provide at this time im still growing the site but it would fantastic to get your input and hope you enjoy visit us at http://www.banished-game.co.uk

    February 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm
    1. +1

      Good job Simon. Will check it out!

      February 20, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      1. Simon Winrow

        No Problem! Cheers :) Hopefully we can get a little community going :)

        February 23, 2014 at 1:08 am

  8. JonR

    Loving this game.
    Was playing this last night; all was going well till my 51st year, then my population decided to boom and went from around 100 to 160. I wasn’t paying attention and soon my citizens were demanding tools, without the tools they were unable to harvest the fields and when my 71 farmers were’t able to maintain the food production, (about 9000 food) with the rest being made up from other sources.
    Least to say the population went down to 15/0/1. I decided to goto bed at that stage.

    February 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

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