Dune Spice Wars: barely launched, already a success!

Game News Dune Spice Wars: barely launched, already a success!

An eternity. Here’s what we had to wait before we re-enter the sands of the planet Arrakis, the scene of all the clashes in the Dune universe. With the renewed interest in Denis Villeneuve’s oh-so-graphic film, it had to happen: the franchise is back in multimedia, and that includes video games, of course. First of a likely list, “Dune: Spice Wars” is a “Soft 4X STR” type PC game… and don’t worry, we’ll explain what that means very simply.


  • A game about the desert, mission impossible?
  • Early Access for the oasis?

Do you see civilization? Do you see Age of Empire? Mix the two in an hourglass, flip and the result is there. Broadly speaking, it is therefore a game of strategy, tactics and management, which takes place soberly on the desert universe of Dune. So, after spending some time on the early access of the game, let’s go over all this so you know how the project is doing and most importantly if it’s a game “for you”.

A game about the desert, mission impossible?

From the announcement Dune Spice Wars had of course made us excited, but had also raised a lot of questions. How to make a “4X” type game in the hostile desert of Arrakis? It must be said that the 4X emphasizes strong interactions between different people competing in a game. Nations among which we find the different human player(s) in the middle of AI. These different factions must cooperate as much as possible, trade, betray each other, legislate, control, clash and expand until a victory is declared. This is a principle found in games of the genre, Civilization, Humankind, , Endless Space and company.

It seems difficult to make all these interactions work in a desert populated by giant worms. However, the Bordeaux teams at Shiro Games have succeeded in this tour de force thanks to their very specific take on the genre. If you had the pleasure of trying their previous game “Northgard”, you know that they tend to marry strategy games 4X. In this way we still arrange as many things as possible, but we are also immersed in a real-time battle† The angle taken is then very “tactical”. The game design therefore emphasizes military production and the expansion of our empire. : about fighting and conquering territory. But be careful, it will still be necessary to ensure the supply of resources, their exploitation and the development of the conquered territories…

Dune Spice Wars is therefore above all a game of war and power, supported by the management of every moment. We must conquer different plots of Arrakis, manipulate the local population and take advantage of the various advantages that characterize the factions, diametrically opposed to each other. Thereby, the famous House of Atreides is fair and mostly peaceful, while that of Harkonnen is filled with tyrannical and warlike rulers. Next to these two main houses we find the Smugglers, fine merchants and the Freemen, native warriors who have numbers and surprises on their side. Ah, and of course they can move like a ‘sandworm’, but unfortunately that’s not really an impressive move yet.

Early Access for the oasis?

The Bordelais of Shiro Games specify it on their Steam page: the game will be in early access for 9 to 12 months, just to enrich the game modes, add a campaign, multiplayer but also perfect the balance. But the team is formal: the heart of the game is there. Features will be added, others will be adapted and we can already appreciate the formula without it being fundamentally incomplete or unbalanced.

It is clear that the players are already satisfied with the presented copy, as evidenced by the notes of the game on Steam. At the time of writing, 82% of 1795 reviews are positive, proving the game’s launch to be a success in less than a week. And we understand why. in a few hours, we were able to discover numerous game systems, including very high-sphere interactions, quietly guiding the conflict and influencing policy. We were able to see the importance of our leaders’ lieutenants, who can be placed in different positions to develop the faction from specific angles. We were able to perfect the talent trees that structure your evolution throughout the game, and unlock more structures to build in the villages we occupy, by force or by peace, it’s up to you.

In short, so many systems already familiar, if you’re a little excited about 4X, but that here wrapped in Dune aesthetics are as much of a change of scenery as possible. We will therefore still pass the towel on the military clashes a bit basic, lack of turn-by-turn to make them more tactical, and we will also forget the small lack of panache in the realization. Not everyone has the resources to create tons of animations and effects to impress players. Anyway, the show isn’t quite what 4X enthusiasts are looking for, but visually we certainly wouldn’t have said “no” to a more explosive universe…

Obviously, when we say “Dune”, we think of the gigantic temples camouflaged behind the storms, we think of the gigantic worms that at any moment prowl and attack the troops on the ground and the gatherers of the precious herb. It has to be admitted, right now these aren’t the kind of events that took our jaws at Dune: Spice Wars… It’s a bit of a shame. It remains to be seen if these are points that will be more supported by the studio in the future. Meanwhile you have there a complete and pleasant game, which manages to be complicated and always accompanies the player, especially thanks to a subtitle of the experience, completely in French, it is good to note. You know what you’re signing up for Dune: Spice Wars in Early Access on PC: You are engaged in a game with deep yet affordable gameplay and a austere but effective aesthetic. To be continued, sure.

Dune Spice Wars: barely launched, already a success!

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