Review – Gord

It feels like the initial announcement of Gord had happened nearly half a decade ago. Maybe it’s just my post-pandemic brain blurring the concept of time as we know it, but I’ve been keeping an eye on this game for a while. Why wouldn’t I? I love me a good strategy game, so having the opportunity to play one that also mixed in some darker themes and Slavic mythology, all while being supervised by former Witcher devs was something to be excited about.

Gord stronghold

Hey, at least rent is cheap.

Upon starting a new run, you’ll meet a handful of locals. Their first task is straightforward: set up a gord. A gord is a term that roughly translates to “stronghold”. In essence, set up a walled perimeter for you to develop your town. From then on, try to look for more people and give them specific jobs, such as thatchers, cooks, lumberjacks, and so on. Each worker has a very specific role, and each role is vital for the survival of your gord.

Lumberjacks can collect wood, for instance. You’ll need people to pick mushrooms and stock them in a silo as food, for hunger can lead your populace to starvation and insanity. Scouts can build and be set on top of a tower to increase your field of vision. Spas and meaderies can help out heal your citizens’ health and sanity, respectively, and so on.

physical affliction

Hooray, how neat, my best villager just became dead weight.

You read that right, by the way: sanity. This isn’t a horror game, despite its gruesome imagery and dour tone, but the sanity of your citizens can and will be affected by the hardships of simply living in constant fear of being killed by a monster, not knowing when you’ll eat your next meal, or even seeing others die, especially their kin. To make matters worse, if, say, one of your units falls in battle, but manages to be revived by another one (there is a mechanic that allows you to do that), said unit will come back with incurable diseases or other issues, effectively rendering them useless in battle, but maybe useful in some menial task, such as food picking. That being said, if you are running low on resources, having a handicap citizen might be hindrance, forcing you to sacrifice them somehow. Decisions and consequences.

Gord is quite unforgiving with its mechanics and randomly generated miniquests. If the act of being attacked by giant monsters wasn’t punitive enough, there will be occasional quests given to you by your own subjects, which are harsh and can lead to some additional items… or your demise. Then again, I did enjoy earning spells on occasion, which would grant me the ever so rare sensation of not being so underpowered when having to fight against, say, a giant tentacled swamp monster.

Gord raid

It might look like a raid, but everyone is as weak as a twig.

Gord‘s mechanics are its main selling point, but if there is one thing I truly liked from this game, that would be its presentation, especially considering its indie status (sure, it was made by former Witcher developers, but it didn’t particularly have the largest of budgets) and the fact most strategy games of this day and age don’t go for the most pristine of graphics. Granted, it looks great for PS4 / Xbox One standards, not exactly next gen, but it’s decent enough, especially during its in-engine cutscenes in between missions.

Gord cutscenes

The in-engine cutscenes feature some pretty good visuals for RTS standards.

Then there’s the music. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Do you remember the extraordinary soundtrack featured in The Witcher 3, complete with Slavic undertones and a lot of medieval violins that even sounded intentionally crappy, old and dusty? This is what the soundtrack in Gord is comprised of. The same feeling of venturing through the derelict Velen. To top things off, excellent voice acting is featured both during the aforementioned cutscenes and also during gameplay.

Gord intro

“I see you gather before me… hungry… terrified”… oops, wrong Polish game intro with an epic hand drawn art style. My bad.

Gord is a pretty neat take on both the strategy and survival genres, with some particularly impressive production values (namely its amazing soundtrack), but it’s also hardly a game that can be replayed in an arcade-like fashion like most RTS titles for PC. It is quite punitive with its harsh sanity setbacks, tough enemies and slow-paced gameplay. Nevertheless, it covers a particular niche, and after waiting for it for what felt like an eternity, I’m pleased to see that the folks at have successfully managed to come up with one of the most interesting strategy games in recent memory, even if it’s not one of the more entertaining ones.


Graphics: 7.0

In-engine cutscenes look good enough, whilst the game itself looks like your typical above-average strategy game from years past. The game has a distinct style, but looks a bit dated.

Gameplay: 7.5

A neat mixture of strategy and survival elements, though filled with some unnecessary bureaucratic gameplay choices.

Sound: 9.5

A medieval soundtrack inspired by the excellent The Witcher 3, coupled with great voice acting. By far, Gord‘s main highlight.

Fun Factor: 7.5

A lot more complex and detailed than your average strategy game, though very punishing, and, at times, uninviting.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Gord is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Gord was provided by the publisher.