The spectre that’s always hung over Humankind‘s head for me stems back to a comment a mate of mine said almost a year ago.
“Why would I invest my time in something that’s not quite as good as Civilization, when I can just play Civ with its years of updates and expansions,” they asked, as part of a conversation about how Humankind was going. It was hard to tell Humankind apart from Civ at that stage. I’d just previewed an E3 build, and a ton of systems like diplomacy and the end-game were missing altogether.
There seemed like some good ideas, but from my mate’s perspective, he was thinking about it as a time investment. For them, it’s not their job to support a game because it might be good. They only have so many hours in the day to wind down, and if they’re going to play a Civ rival that doesn’t quite have all the pieces, they might as well play Civ instead. (Or Alpha Centauri as it were, which, fair.)
That’s partly why having Humankind on Game Pass is such a huge win, and it’ll be interesting to see what it does for other strategy games on the service, like Age of Wonders: Planetfall.
But what’s hurt Humankind for my experience so far is a whole bunch of edge cases that seem like they should have been caught prior to release. Having to deal with pollution in the end-game is frustrating: the AI just spams as much pollution as it wants to quickly end the game. It’s less annoying if you’re playing the very abrupt 300 turn default limit, but in longer games, it’s a royal pain.
Post-launch patches have also fixed up issues with resource generation, which is handy. I played one game that I had to immediately bin after 80 turns because there was no copper anywhere on my side of the continent, and the speed at which the other AIs took up cultures meant I was stuck with the Romans. There was no copper to really generate an army to properly progress forward or pursue the stars necessary, so my civ was just buried deep in the shit with no means of escape.
A restart it was.
Faith and civics don’t really seem integrated into the whole experience as much as they could be, either. But like the combat and some of the aforementioned things, they’re all fixable with some substantial content updates and balance patches. Does that make Humankind worth the slog now? It’s enjoyable, don’t get me wrong. And for those who bounced off Civ in the past, Humankind might be more to their liking.
But I can’t help but think that, maybe, it’s not quite time to leave Civ (or Alpha Centauri) yet.
How about yourselves though — have you been playing Humankind? Did you buy it straight up or play through Game Pass, how have you found it, and how do you think it’ll fare over the next year?