A Whole New World - Steam Summer Sale Day #528 Jun 2016 0
Day #5 - Expeditions: Conquistador
Expeditions: Conquistador is Aguirre, the Wrath of God - The Game, minus the gnarled intensity of a bug-eyed Kinski. A game that punches well above its weight and falls refreshingly outside the usual thematic comfort zones of gaming.
LogicArtists' XCOM for El Dorado on the shores of the Orinoco. All the wistfulness and peril you'd expect is in attendance. The outposts, the dense jungle, the exotic and enigmatic natives; each enacting its own push and pull on your retinue of soldiers, naturalists, healers and faithful. Solid tactical turn-based combat punctuates overland traversal, with party composition nuance not seen since Jagged Alliance 2. Interactions with the local population, Spanish colonials and others are influenced by particular members of your company, meaning a pleasant divergence in mission variety. It's an exceptionally well-written game, and features some terrific art and music to boot.
Moreover, the expeditions whose ambition is undermined by disease, starvation and fractious behaviour are as enjoyable as the carefully-managed triumphs. Death spirals of poetic tragedy. Lacerations turned septic in the tropical clime. The meagre results of a foraging run. Ambushes and thieves in the night. Those thirsting for power sowing the seeds of a coup against you. Men disappearing into the jungle, leaving you with the dead and dying. It's this exploration of adventure that makes Expeditions: Conquistador fascinating. Management of the mundane in extreme circumstance, against the backdrop of the unknown.
If the early chapters of V.S. Naipaul's 'The Loss of El Dorado' tantalised in its florid New World depiction, this is the game for you. A mere escudo to die alone in the jungle, clutching to the possibility of a mysterious city of gold.