Dominions 6 - Rise of the Pantokrator

Dominions 6 - Rise of the Pantokrator Review: Divine Warfare or Mortal Drudgery?

Controlling gods and waging holy wars in a 4X turn-based strategy game with enough depth to drown an arch mage.

last updated Jan 28, 2024
'Dominions 6' proves once again that you don't need the flashiest graphics to build a realm worth ruling.

Masters of Command or Victims of Chance?

When you first dive into the gameplay of 'Dominions 6 - Rise of the Pantokrator', you'll find yourself either feeling like the deity you're controlling or the mere mortal creating the game—depending on how forgiving you are towards its complexity. This entry ups the ante from its predecessors, offering deeper strategy mechanics and zealous efforts to keep veterans on their toes. With a multitude of new spells, reworked nations, and the introduction of planes—the game demands both strategy and dedication. Managing vast armies, while satisfying, does have its learning cliff—get ready to swim in magic and indecipherable divine text, or as you might call it, the user manual. And let's not even get started on the multiplayer lobby; it promises a pantheon of godly skirmishes but might just test your divine patience with its minimalist approach.

Sounds of the Heavens or Murmurs of the Abyss?

Audio-wise, you're not exactly being serenaded by a choir of angels. 'Dominions 6' does the job but don't expect any divine revelations to happen through your headset. The soundtrack spells fantasy without becoming too memorable or distracting, effectively setting the stage for battle. Sound effects correspond well to the comings and goings on the battlefield, though sometimes it feels more like a cacophony of chaos than the harmonious workings of a higher power. Now, if only the gods knew how to buff the audio department with some divine intervention, we'd really have an ethereal experience on our hands.

A Mythical Tapestry or A Frayed Old Rug?

If you're looking for graphics that'll make your retinas sing with joy, keep looking. 'Dominions 6' carries on the series' tradition of retro looks that leans heavily on being 'charmingly outdated.' You could argue it's almost historical at this point. However, don't let its old-school façade fool you; there's magic beneath the pixels—if you have the eyes to see it. Gameplay runs smoother than the silk robes of a high priest, just don't expect any slick performance miracles. What it lacks in visual finesse, it makes up for in a mesmerizing depth of content that would make any graphics-obsessed gamer blush—if they gave it a chance.

More Than Mounts and Magic

Dominions 6 offers notable improvements over its loyal predecessor, carving out a niche for those who worship at the altar of minute changes and improvements. The meticulous separation of mounts from their riders brings a smile to the face of every minute military manager. While under the hood, modding support gives the acolytes of content creation a new temple to worship in. These nuanced changes, though seemingly minute to the mortal eye, create ripples across celestial ponds, impacting holy wars in ways only the most devout strategists will recognize. Game Cover Art
STEAM RATING 84 .87% Developer & Publisher Illwinter Game Design Release Date January 17, 2024

The Verdict

For those already baptized in the fires of previous Dominions games, 'Dominions 6' is the second coming they've been praying for. The game brings plenty of incremental updates and enough new content to justify losing another few hundred—thousand?—hours in pursuit of godhood. Those who are yet to convert might find the graphical austerity and interface a religion too far to turn to. Nonetheless, if you're willing to look past the visual vestiges of yesteryear and embrace the game's deep strategy mechanics, you'll find an intricate, profound gameplay experience that is practically a miracle of indie development. 'Dominions 6' proves once again that you don't need the flashiest graphics to build a realm worth ruling. Amidst the outdated pixels and the clunky user interface lies the heart of a god—complex, nuanced and unfathomably addictive.