The kingdom of Tandria has been overthrown by an upstart lord. In the neighbouring land, you - as Princess Zoe - see your chance to rule and so set off to free Tandria.
The first five or so missions act as tutorials, easing players into the vastly complex series. Farmers are unlocked only when the need arises. Once you are used to setting up a working economy, the training wheels are off and you are left to fend against deviously sharp Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The Settlers series has never been about creating huge armies and duking it out. Instead, it is all about handling a delicately balanced economy.
For instance, to create coins to pay soldiers, players need a mint. But mints need bread, which come from bakeries. But bakeries need flour, which comes from windmills. And flour comes from farms. You get the picture.
Ensuring an efficient flow of food and plenty of other resources such as wool, wood, weapons and more from start to end is the whole point of the game. Failing to do so can result in the collapse of your entire economy and your game. Thus, its sedate pace may not sit well with those who favour twitchy combat.
There are three ways to win each mission. Players can still choose to go down the military route, conquering enemies. Or they can set up trading routes, becoming financially wealthy. Finally, they can be master technologists, holding all the keys to the advancement of mankind.
A major downside is Ubisoft's decision to include its new digital rights management (DRM) system, Ubiplay, into the game. It requires players to be always online while playing, even in single-player mode.
While there is a multiplayer option, I was unable to test it beyond skirmishing with the AI. There is simply no one online. If you can pony up a few friends to compete against, this mode could be lots of fun.
The Settlers 7 harkens back to the height of the series' last great games: Settlers 2 and3. Fans of Dawn Of Discovery will find plenty to love in this title.
Eugene Neubronner is a freelance writer on gaming and technology.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
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