At the Gates
Top Critic Average
At the Gates tries some ambitious new ideas that, in time, may leave a mark on the 4X genre. But today, it's far too broken to recommend.
The former Civ 5 director's long-running passion project is filled with nice ideas, but they never threaten to pull together.
Passive AI and a flawed economy ruin what could have been a refreshing 4X experiment.
At The Gates' opening hours are vicious, but those who stick with it are rewarded with a satisfying blend of strategy and rogue-like gameplay
At the Gates is badly flawed, and strangely compelling
At The Gates is a fresh, invigorating, more personal take on the grand strategy game, but a lacking late-game holds it back from greatness.
At the Gates has a ton going for it, and this is easily the most addicted I've gotten to a game that I am reviewing. Although the replay value might not be as vast as some of the bigger 4X games on the market, it has enough of a unique and condensed feel that by the time you're getting ready to make moves to win, it hasn't overstayed its welcome by 20 hours.
At The Gates has an impressively complicated set of interlocking systems, but the amount of time and patience it takes to actually get anywhere is ridiculous.
Even with my frustrations with the interface, the game itself made me want to keep going.
Should Jon Shafer's At the Gates be judged for what it is now, or what it has the potential to become? The experience is hamstrung by glitches, oversights, and unfinished systems, but playing a 4X game from the perspective of the barbarians remains a fantastic concept and some of that Civilization “one more turn” allure is still intact. Forgiving types may want to give At the Gates a try now, but most others should probably leave the game out in the cold until a few updates are released.