Numantia is a 3D strategy game originally developed for PC that made its way over to consoles. Most likely hoping to fill the massive void that is the lack of strategy games for consoles, Numantia fails in every aspect of this attempt.
The premise of the game is simple. Set when the Romans attempt to conquer the Spanish land of Numantia you get to choose whether you want to be a defending Numantian or a conquering Roman. The concept and conflict are simple and to the point. A cookie cutter backdrop for a strategy game that pits two sides against each other.
The problem is that the game is bad. Bad and boring. Graphically this is one of the ugliest games I’ve seen on the PS4. There’s a drawn art style for some aspects of the game and this style looks pretty nice. But the actual gameplay graphics are incredibly plain. For a game this small one would think that more detail could have gone into the units and the battlefields but no. There’s nothing pretty about the gameplay’s appearance. All of the soldiers in each unit look like one another, with no detail. The battlefields are mostly flat with a few obstructions in the way and mountains in the background forming the edge of the field.
The gameplay is even worse. It’s clear that this game was designed for PC, as the controls for the Dualshock controller are absolutely awful. They’re counter intuitive and I frequently found myself frustrated because that’s not where I wanted the camera to look. The tutorial is incredibly poor, practically throwing you into the game with no understanding, and the text in the game is so small that I had to get off my couch to read it at times.
And the sound design is reflective of the rest of the game. No variety and very bland. The same few soundtracks play in the background repeatedly and I found it much more enjoyable to just play Spotify while I played instead.
If you’ve played a game like Civilization V then I would describe Numantia as: Imagine if you stripped down Civ V to solely the combat, but put it all on a flat terrain, removing much of the nuance of strategy, giving it terrible controls, and ugly graphics. That’s Numantia. It’s a poorly made, poorly explained strategy game that gets boring after a round or two. Playing with a friend on 1v1 is slightly more fun. But only so much more. And if you want strategy games with friends the board game Risk is a thing.
If you absolutely love strategy games and you’re absolutely dying to play a cookie cutter combat strategy game, then Numantia isn’t the worst bet. Especially if you only have a console. But, honestly, there are better games out there to play. Way better games.
Also available on: PC, Xbox One.
Copy of Numantia provided by publisher.