Millennia Review: The Next Civilization?

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Millennia Review: The Next Civilization?

Paradox Interactive subtly blends myth and legend into its budding 4X game to let players create their own history; find out more in our Millennia review.

When I heard of Paradox getting involved in a 2024 4X title, I got fairly curious about how they could make their game stand out. And after seeing the gameplay reveals, I was fully committed to seeing Millennia's unique odysseys play out.

Playing Millennia felt like a history buff's fever dream. But despite its obvious charms and engrossing mechanics, the parts that mattered the most felt like they fell just short of greatness. Here's our complete Millennia review discussing the game's high and low points, and how the Windows exclusive can be improved in the future.

Light spoilers ahead!

Millennia Review

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Developed by indie game studio C Prompt and published by Paradox Interactive, Millennia takes players on a journey spanning centuries. These play at the tune of familiar and not-so-familiar mechanics that work together to make the IP promising enough to follow.

Millenia's all-new Domain system provides specialized buffs and instant unit spawns that serve any playstyle. From rushing the Domination W with the Raiders National Spirit, to setting up a late-game utopia with your Engineers, you get cool and interesting archetypes that you can mix and match in later stages.

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Millennia's alternate history sim offers a robust economy. From early imports to late-game market trade, the C Prompt title gives back what you put into it. It took me multiple playthroughs to get familiar with each specific mechanic (this is coming from a person who's played Civ since 2005), but the game rewarded me for my efforts everytime.

That said, I was expecting more prominent legends in my games. For instance, ancient Druids put a curse on my Pennsylvania when I entered the Age of Kings. But instead of getting unique soundbites or cool graphics for my otherworldly encounter, all I got was a pop-up screen of the standard crisis event alert.

Is Millennia review On Game Pass?
via Reddit

Hard Times

Millennia holds itself back from greatness during its most crucial moments. Countries that declare war are announced with a simple text screen, and the UI doesn't show signs of improvement. But what really hinders the Paradox title is its awful battle overview screen.

Repetitive animations whose last-gen sprites look like they came from a predecessor title doesn't serve Millennia's combat system at all. And despite my side having a clear numbers advantage, certain match-ups don't make sense. I've seen hundreds of my units get taken out by a single. Barbarian. rowboat. simply because of a technicality that was hidden from me by 4 other pop-up screens that probably didn't need to be there in the first place. But what really confused me was Millennia's resource system in the midgame.

Resource tiles are hidden until you unlock certain parts of Millennia's Technology tree. This means that you won't know if you're sitting on an ultra-important resource until later in the game, which I felt conflicted about. At which point should a game's unique points take away from it's enjoyment? Should this have been part of the challenge? Eitherway, I couldn't deny that this major roadbump contributed to Millenia's realistic gameplay.

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Millennia Starting Bonuses Millennia All Playable Nations

Last on my list of grievances is Millennia's Crisis Age system. Long story short, if you're leading in the Tech tree, odds are you'll be choosing which age the world enters in. But things can take a pretty rough turn if Crisis Ages force other players to switch up their playstyles at a drop of a hat. But if you can look past all of these, Millennia's dynamic (but flawed) evolution makes for a fun way to explore mythical events.

6/10  When Language Fails

Paradox Interactive's attempt to bring a new spin on a time-worn genre succeeds in a lot of areas, but falls flat in others. That said, only time will tell if Millennia will be able to overtake Civilization in the 4X strategy genre.

Still, the game's a great addition to any hardcore 4x player's collection. In spite of succeeding more on its warfare, players that take the road less travelled will find big rewards in the late-game, where the technologically-advanced stages take center-stage. But the early game needs the most attention as the fantastical additions make the early grind more enjoyable.

Millennia review

Millennia's areas of improvement are painfully obvious at this point, but we've seen worse games soar to greater heights. If C Prompt games and Paradox avoid the pitfalls of past developments, then I can say that this game will be worth the money.. after a few major patches.

Game reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.

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Paul G
Paul started writing game guides and match predictions for ESTNN's editorial team in 2022. Since then, he's covered big-ticket esports events and the latest news on tech and AI.