Renowned Explorers: International Society on PC
The adventure genre is one that’s nearly as old as gaming itself, dating back to the aptly-named Adventure on Atari 2600, if not earlier. Still, many games have taken unique approaches to the exploratory style of play, and Renowned Explorers: International Society is no exception. Playing like a mix of digital board game and tactical RPG, this lighthearted title gives players a ton of options in how they choose to play, which characters to bring along, and more. With a heavy focus on fun and replay value, this delightful game will have players exploring sites around the world in search of treasure and glory.
Renowned Explorers begins with crew selection, with players picking a captain and two crew members to round out their expedition. Characters fall into one of four categories: Scientist, Scout, Fighter, and Speaker, with each category offering four to choose from. Building a crew that can work together takes some planning, and it’s likely to take a few attempts before things really start to gel. By default, one of each character category is designated as a possible Captain, while playing with others will unlock their capacity to lead later on.
As you’d expect, each category and character in Renowned Explorers has their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the art of exploration. Scientists will net more Research points to unlock upgrades, Scouts will serve well in certain challenges along the way, Fighters are your more physically-inclined and combat-ready, and Speakers can gain the edge on the battlefield by their sharp tongues or encouraging words. Play is pretty evenly split between exploring the map on a supplies-based system and “encounters”, which are your combat scenarios.
Now, let’s talk about encounters in Renowned Explorers. Rather than simple head-to-head contests of brute force, these are intricate scenarios that involve a mix of combat, speech skills, and more. During encounters, the mood of the field is set by a combination of the tactics employed by each side, which can be Aggressive, Devious, or Friendly. Players and enemies can gain advantages over their opposition by using the right tactics, and victory can be achieved simply by terrifying the enemy into fleeing the field, encouraging them to see your side of the conflict, or, of course, beating the snot out of them in traditional combat.
Outside of encounters, Renowned Explorers uses a turn-based system to navigate the various maps that our bold adventurers explore in search of treasure. Challenges along the way can win points in research, status, gold, and insight. Each of these, in turn, has uses in between expeditions, such as buying new equipment, unlocking upgrades, or hiring an entourage to increase your chances at succeeding in later travels. The goal is to gain enough renown to become one of the famed explorers of history, having your name etched in the books for generations to come.
Ultimately, it’s a bit tough to define Renowned Explorers: International Society in a way that’s straightforward and complete. It’s a game with a lot of moving parts and a ton of clearly devoted polish. From the encounter animations to the amusing challenges awaiting your crew, it’s a game that’s centered wholly around one of the best parts of gaming: fun. While challenging modes are available, the game encourages players to take it easy, try out different crews and tactics, and even makes a cheat mode freely available if you’re only there to relax and poke around at the game’s many systems. This dedication to pure enjoyment shines in every aspect of the game, and I had a blast taking my time learning the inner workings before trying out more difficult options.
All in all, Renowned Explorers creates a very lighthearted experience that may turn away those who prefer their games a bit more hardcore, but with plenty of depth. The systems are surprisingly complex, given the cartoonish presentation and focus on enjoying yourself. While mastering it isn’t easy, it’s plenty forgiving if you want it to be, and the replay value alone easily makes it worth the $19.99 price on Steam. With its mix of board game and RPG mechanics, there’s a little something for everyone, and if you’ve found yourself wondering where the idea of games being made just for fun has gone, look no further. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who’d like some relaxing, enjoyable game time.