Review: Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions – All Hail Lizardmen

Review Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions

Age of Wonders: Planetfall recently received its second expansion called Invasions and this is our review of the PC (Steam version) of the expansion. Having played both the base game and the first expansion, Revelations, I was really looking forward to playing the new expansion Invasions ever since it was announced. Not only does it brings a badass new faction to the game but it also adds some much-need features to the already amazing Age of Wonders: Planetfall.

The main highlight of the Invasions expansion is certainly the brand new race the Shakarn. Shakarn is a race of lizardmen that roams the space and is extremely brutal when they go in battle with anyone. Their main tactic of battle is using sneak attacks and deception. While they are no joke even in full face-to-face encounters, their main strength lies in deception and sticking to the shadows. Even the main campaign also wants you to stay out of sight of your enemies until you really have to. You will utilize this very trick a lot of times in the main campaign and feel exceptionally happy about it too. Apart from their deceptive techniques, you will also find their choice of weaponry an exceptional one as well.

Review Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions

Your main battle soldiers carry weapons that are both sonic and Omni. Omni combines both laser and sonic into one making them solid weapons against a variety of enemy types. This also means that researching for these weapons is much easier since any research done in both Laser or Sonic will benefit your soldiers. Another important aspect to know about Shakarn is that their race has three different castes and each caste is deadlier than the other one. Your army will comprise of Domok, Gama and Zardas. Domok are large lizard-type units that prefer the front lines and will take the most of the damage.

Domok prefer staying back in the shadows and specialize in using ranged weapons and sneaky tactics. The final caste, Zardas combines both of their traits together and thus are extremely useful in multiple situations. You can create armies consisting of units from all three of these castes and they become a force to reckon with. I really liked the character design of the Shakarn units as well. Their design and the color combinations really make this race a pretty intimidating one to look at. This is why my favorite race in the game is also now Shakarn and I had the most fun playing with them. Their campaign in Invasions is all about taking down humans and they can even take over enemy techs by infiltrating their Op centers.

This makes the Shakarn a truly deadly faction and something that should not be opposing you. However, with all this said, Shakarn are not invincible and their biggest weakness is their hereditary trait ‘Xeno Debilitation’. This particular trait makes them more damage-prone to status effects. This is so much powerful against them that even a single enemy unit with a powerful status effect can ruin your day. I learned this the hard way and even with my perfect planning and strategies, I still lost a few battles because of powerful status effects caused by enemy units. During the battle, you can however capitalize on their another trait called ‘Epimorphic Regeneration’ which grants you a little bit of health back every time you are back on control of your units.

Apart from the main Shakarn race, Invasions adds yet another new faction called Therians to the game. Therians is a weird race that looks like animals but acts like humans. You are introduced to these Therians quite early in the game and the game gives you the freedom to decide whether you want to be their friends or enemies. Similar to earlier games, you will need to do some favors for them if you want them to be your friends however if you do decide to befriend them, you will get some exceptionally good bonuses and perks. Apart from gaining access to their units, their buff perks come exceptionally useful during battles and make your own primary units even tougher in combat. There is actually another third faction in the game as well but this faction cannot be controlled by us in any way.

Review Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions

Added to Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions as an endgame content, Voidbringers rain down inside your territory with their massive ships and deploy their troops of enthralled soldiers in a bid to destroy you. These units are not unique in any way as they are simply like those of other factions of the game but they are all purple and obeying the commands of the Voidbringers. These invasions act like endgame content as you get to fight them after the campaign is over or near its conclusion. While a brilliant addition to the game, their timing is a bit off and I would have preferred them to arrive a little bit sooner in the game so that I could have a little more time fighting them as well. Also, their arrival animation is extremely epic to watch.

Other major additions include World Events and Conquered Worlds. World Events is not necessarily a new feature to the franchise however it is one feature that I missed having here from the old Age of Wonders 3. World Events are essentially random events that make your life hell in the game. They range from superstorms to solar flares. The developers have added nearly 20 new World Events. While some of these events might prove helpful in your cause, some of them are absolute hell and will make you change your approach right at the last moment. Quite often, you do not even get the option to switch your approach or direction and you will find yourself right in the middle of a superstorm causing severe debuffs on your armies. This is yet another challenge that was missing in the base game but it is here now.

The final addition to the game is a brand new planet which introduces a brand new mode for you to play. Known as Conquered Worlds, this game mode is best played with four players. One player is granted a fully researched and developed empire while up to three other players try to defeat the big empire by building their own from scratch. This is a brilliant new game mode and I found it more enjoyable than the Voidbring Invasions after completing the campaign. In this mode, results are completely based on your own skills and knowledge of the faction that you choose in the game. All of these new features combine together to deliver an excellent expansion however some features outshine the other ones.

Final Verdict:

While Invasions offers a solid campaign and you will love it while it lasts, it somehow suffers the same fate as those of the Revelations and the base game. When you are done with the main campaign of the game, there is not much left to do for you and even with the beefed-up soldiers arriving in alien ships add a fair deal of challenge to the game, you will fairly get bored of it pretty quickly. I would have loved if the late-game invasions of Void Bringers actually start a little early in the campaign because I am sure not many players will stick around once the main campaign is over. Still, the new factions bring a very good change of pace from the base game and the previous expansion. I also enjoyed playing Invasions more than Revelations because of its strong faction. If you have played the base game or are planning on buying it soon, I will highly recommend that you experience Invasions because the Shakarn is one of the best factions in the game and they deserve your time.

Final Score: 8.0/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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