Ancestors Legacy is one of those games it might be relatively easy to pick apart. It’s an RTS on a console, which always means you’re up against the sheer flexibility of a mouse and keyboard. It’s a modern RTS squashed onto Switch, which means the visuals take a hit and the multiplayer heart of most RTS games is absent. It can be a bit tricky to make out what’s going on in handheld mode at times and the screen furniture is very busy. Fine. Rough edges and missing features. But a few hours in and I am really enjoying it.
Partly this is because the first of four factions – there are eight campaigns, two for each faction – is the vikings, which means that I’ve spent a slightly overcast morning with people who have glorious beards and memorably prog names and who like to run screaming into dangerous situations. Storm the defences, flank the archers? These are mission objectives from any medieval RTS. But then you get to burning the houses and torching the church and you’re like: oh yes, I have read that vikings like to do this stuff.
Crucially, though, it’s not just about the pleasure of bullying the AI. Certainly, vikings are made for that RTS-on-easy-mode-with-an-unskilled-player moment where you group all of your units and fling them in one direction. Good thing too. I love that! But then the first mission ends with a retreat and the second mission sees you controlling a tiny group of soldiers and working your way around the dark rainy woods of a foreign kingdom pillaging food, scavenging to get by and grow your forces. Enemy patrols have you hiding in hedges. The better option is often to skip a fight rather than engage. Vikings did this too? It’s a nice reminder of the range of strategy game missions, even simplified as it is.