By Adele Chapline Smith | Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — “Humankind” (Sega) offers a new perspective on the 4X genre of empire-building games by allowing players to blend a wide variety of historical cultures into a unique civilization.
Appreciative of diversity, this mostly peaceable title is thus well-attuned to Gospel values.
Though its interludes of combat are both restrained and optional — the mechanism for declaring war can be turned off entirely — together with a bit of swearing in the dialogue and the complexity of the gameplay generally, they make “Humankind” unsuitable for young children.
As players move through time all the way from the Neolithic Era to the Contemporary Age, their goal is to employ various advancements to expand their domain and maximize its impact. With 60 different societies to mix and match, the possible results are nearly unlimited, keeping the game fresh and engaging.
Players, for example, might begin the Ancient Era as the classical Greeks but end up as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) during the Early Modern Era.
Whenever an innovation is mastered — whether through scientific discoveries, political and economic developments or military victories — rulers earn “Fame.” Whichever leader possesses the most Fame by the end of the game is declared the victor.
As it promotes solidarity and mutual respect, “Humankind” calls to mind Pope Francis’ observation that “in the diversity of ethnic groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another” (Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship”).
Playable on Google Stadia, Mac and Windows.
The game contains nongraphic violence and a few mild oaths. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.