The Settlers: Rise of an Empire - First Look

Another point we can already make is that the game uses a visual inventory system - you can literally tell how much meat is available to your residents because it's hanging in front of the butcher shop. If you see no meat, you know there's a bottleneck either in the supply - meaning you need more or better hunters - or, if you see the unrefined form stacked near the building, in the butcher's ability to process the stuff. So you can see what you need to adjust without diving into layers of spreadsheets and math.

There are four major environments, which look gorgeous and change with the seasons. In one of Northern Europe's long winters, we watched lakes freeze over and become passable (one in-game month takes two and a half minutes), followed by snowfall picturesque enough to put on a holiday card.

But it's not all bunnies and deer and peace. We also witnessed Vikings attacking a small town and carrying off the women. This act can crush a feudal economy because it's usually the husband who works the whole day while the wife runs errands. If the man has to take time off from work to get supplies, profit suffers.