A Marvelous Expedition in Expeditions: Conquistador
by Mitchell “Moe” Long
Expeditions: Conquistador is a highly enjoyable strategy-role playing romp from Logic Artists. The Copenhagen based developers achieved full funding in September 2012, raising just over $7,000 more than their target of 70K. As the title suggests, “Expeditions” finds the player assuming the role of (you guessed it) a Conquistador. Taking place during 1518-1520, you set about surveying Central America. So how’s the gameplay you ask? Pretty marvelous.
Upon firing up Expeditions: Conquistador I was pleased to find that, like similar strategy titles, I was able to play with one hand, which left the other free to cradle a chilly cerveza. Uh, I mean cranberry juice. After a brief introduction, featuring some gorgeous artwork, I lurched into the saddle of a horse. I was pleasantly surprised to find character movement featured controlling a conquistador astride a horse. Actual events require individual character movement, but the oversized horse and rider really appealed to me for general exploration.
Narrative is driven largely by dialogue, quest assignments, and random wandering. Speaking to various non-player characters (NPCs) yields certain tasks to be completed. Interestingly, your choices throughout the game actually dictate the outcome of the game, so there are numerous possibilities. This boosts replay value considerably. Additionally, random events are varied, and you’re usually offered a few reactions. Such happenings ranged from encounters with natives to party members falling ill.
Further influencing gameplay is a heavy reliance on resource management. Familiar with the concept since an early age from regular bouts of Oregon Trail II, as well as newer titles like Wasteland 2, I felt reasonably prepared for the task. “Expeditions,” however, requires much more attention to detail. Assigning party members roles, gear, and skills is essential to survival. Without followers capable of hunting, healing, and guarding camp you’ll die or receive that dreaded “low morale” message. From extensive “Oregon Trail II” runs, I’d seen this warning far too many times (but hey, I did reach Oregon, thank you very much). Thankfully there are auto-assign and auto camp features which foster an environment for hardcore and less advanced players alike.
Mechanics feel similar to “Wasteland 2” and other strategy games, with a mix of early Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles. The aforementioned focus on resource management helped set it apart from genre-related games, as well as the atmosphere. Lush landscapes popped from my 22” monitor, and a stunning soundtrack oozed from my speakers, complimenting in-game noises. Often I’d become distracted from current tasks, lost in the rich visual backdrop.
While Expeditions: Conquistador provides a wonderful, replayable adventure, the actual Kickstarter campaign rivaled that of the in-game campaign. Backers of just $1 or more were given a thank you on the Logic Artists website, and $15 and up received a digital game copy, unique item, and wallpapers. Most new games launch for $40 or more, and this tier sounds like the deluxe edition. Very generous donations included incentives such as a boxed collector’s set, art book map, and even a Conquistador flag ($250 and up). Hitting the thousands opened some truly unique enticements such as a character designed after the backer, and the opportunity to create a quest line. A gem of a game with a bevy of possible outcomes, Expeditions: Conquistador is a lovely addition to your gaming collection, and offers plenty of incentives for multiple replays.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/moe.jpg” ]Mitchell “Moe” Long is a North Carolina writer with a passion for all things pop culture. Besides gaming, Moe enjoys cult classic films, listening to vinyl, and drinking far too much coffee. In addition to Cliqist, Moe writes about music and movies, and is currently composing what he hopes will one day be a novel about the universally awkward period of life known as high school. Feel free to check out and subscribe to his Examiner page as well as connect with him on Twitter. [/author]