Posted at: 2019-10-03, 22:17
I know that this is not about Settlers II, but I would like to share my thoughts about this old game in the new "version".
Maybe some of you noticed that for about a year you can buy on Ubisotf Store all Settlers games, including second version. This is "history edition" and it is supposed to work on modern machines (including Windows 10). Some of the things were fixed, some left behind.
Some things that were broken
First, I would like to point some things that were not helping me with the game.
- Lack of speed up. The default speed of the game was 1x and by pressing v you could speed up to 2x. Comparing to Widelands it would be speed of 0.5x and 1.0x. Which is fine on small maps. But when you try to slow down a bit and use some strategy to wisely choose resources or build only one fortress, speeding up would be the best idea.
- When I played DOS version, after typing keyword (winter worked fine) you opened cheat mode. I used only speeding up, not building completely new base somewhere else. This part was cut down. I tried different key combinations suggested around the Internet, but all of them failed. Sorry, you will have to stay with default speeds.
- Some annoying bugs were left. Your fisherman left the house because he tried to fish on the flag? Cope with that. Also I have spot some bugs that were very hard to reproduce, like a carrier-like donkey (for the game it was a donkey, but the asset was a carrier). I haven't tried all known bugs, but I am pretty sure that they all can be reproduced.
- Lack of translations. I grew up with a polish version of Settlers II and expected to play the same language. Unfortunately I could pick the language only from German, English and French (hello fellows!). Of course I picked French since I haven't learned it anywhere (just joking). Probably for most of you it's not a problem, but still, they could save the translations or allow the community to translate everything from scratch.
- Map names are in original form, so they are GERMAN! I have learned some new words and remember my German classes from school. It was fun, but I would like to see the names at least in English, preferably in Polish (sorry fellows) ;).
- There is no possibility to change the music playback from "play in sequence" to "repeat one". You constantly can hear all the parts of music, which are better to hear in a loop of itself (that were designed).
What they fixed?
But I was happy to play the game again! Why?
- They recompiled the "Settlers II Gold Edition", so expanded version of the game. With all world campaign and ice biome.
- They left the game untouched. Some people complained about this (see YouTube), but they didn't break it either.
- The game can be displayed fullscreen on any resolution. If you play Settlers II original version, you need DosBox to run it (or any other Dos emulator), and the resolution of the game is fitting to the modern displays. Then your settlers would be tiny in mean of real inches (or centimetres). The history edition allows to stretch the window to any size.
- Ubisoft fixed the biggest bug I know. In old version when you played large enough map and huge amount of settlers were out of your warehouses, they stop going out. It was pretty annoying. Most of the machines that times couldn't handle such a big simulation, but modern computers not. They fixed and everything is working as expected now.
- The game is quite cheap. It is more than 0 $, but I bought all 7 Settlers games for 160 PLN (about 37 EUR / 33 GBP / 40.5 USD). And as I am writing now, the price is even lowered by 50%. I think that this price for AAA games is reasonable (if you buy any games at all). If you prefer only free games, stick to them . Also it is possible to buy one of the games (f.e. Settlers 1) only, for lower price.
- When I was playing Settlers II, I felt like a very young me, except that my experience is much bigger. The gameplay didn't change and it didn't get old.
- They used the same music, but probably some midi players were updated since then and the music sounds a bit better now.
- Finally I was able to see the intro. When I was (let's say) young (not little! ), I wasn't interested in a plot of the game. But when I grew up, I didn't have the possibility to run the intro (graphics problems, music card problems, lost CD, operating system changed, ...). And I have to admit that it is a masterpiece! Such an animation built in 1996 (or earlier)? No way!
Comparison to Widelands
Is it worth buying it if you enjoy Widelands already?
- Economy of Settlers II is much simpler than Widelands. You don't have multiple building resources, only planks and stone. For everything.
- You don't need much space to build working economy. That is connected to the point above. Since you have less buildings, you don't need to use the space so much.
- Maps are flat. Comparing maps in Widelands and Settlers II, you will see that the quality of Widelands' maps is better. Of course that is because Settlers II had less time to build up quality of the maps. But also it was designed to be as easy as possible. But comparing the quality of maps with other games that times, Settlers II is a leader here!
- Upgrading soldiers is different. This is probably the biggest change between those two games. If you never played Settlers II, be aware and use Roman Campaign to learn the game. First two missions should be enough.
- Since the Ubisoft didn't change much in the code, they didn't change the AI there too. Of course that means that the AI is... pretty dumb. But don't worry, you can still go to Widelands and have a competition with AI or real person (hello WorldSavior! ).
- And returning to obvious things, Settlers II has 4 different tribes. All of them differs only on assets. All the powers are equals (as I understand the mechanics) and uses the same resources for everything.
- Also there is no special mechanics for growing trees or mining from empty mines. Widelands rules here!
- Widelands uses much, much, much more CPU than Settlers II.
Comparison to Return to the Roots
If you know, there is another Settlers II - like project. They pick assets and complete mechanics from Settlers II and put to modern game. Unfortunately I was unable to play it since "stable" version crushed every time I tried it. (Maybe I had some graphics problems? I don't know...). But as far as I know they differs now with:
- In RttR you can zoom in/out using mouse scroll.
- In RttR you can build charcoal burners. Coal is no more precious.
- In RttR you have Babylonians tribe, which is not present in any version of S2.
- And S2 allows to play multiplayer only on split screen (still available!).
The RttR seem to be an almost dead project right now. They have some commits every few days (up to one month). Comparing to Widelands, sorry, you're dead .
Probably the best solution would be taking programmers and the code from RttR to the Ubisoft, make a completely new game (based on S2) and sell it again with new marketing. That did Microsoft with Age of Empires II with a mod did by some fans. Now you can buy Age of Empires II HD (or something like that) and the game itself is very alive (hundreds of games every day).
I will not force anyone to buy any version of Settlers series. I will not even suggest doing that. But if you want, you can. And it is worth it!
Edited: 2019-10-04, 00:24
calculations & maps packages: http://wuatek.no-ip.org/~rak/widelands/