Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension Image
  1. First Review
  2. Second Review
  3. Third Review
  4. Fourth Review

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    Learning how to play Dominions 4 is not easy, but the endless hours of fun you'll get out of it are more than worth the effort.
  2. Mar 11, 2014
    Dominions 4 is a turn-based strategy game set in a non-traditional fantasy world filled with various nations inspired by mythology and religion. As a player you first pick a nation and then customize your god. Then you just need to wipe out all the other factions and their false gods. Isn't that simple? The game really shines in multiplayer mode because fighting against real humans feels much better than dealing with AI factions that can't even use diplomacy. The best thing about Dominions 4 is the fact that it has tons of depth and replayability but it's a shame that the graphics and user interface are outdated. Well, I guess you can't have everything. [Dec 2013]
  3. Oct 28, 2013
    Nevertheless, if you’re able to look beyond the simplistic graphics to the fantastic game underneath then this one is a real treasure.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Jun 4, 2014
    Dominions 4 can be favorably compared to getting a Bachelor's degree in Wine Tasting. It's difficult to get into, ridiculously time-consuming, and ultimately a ton of fun. But, like a Wine Tasting degree, it requires a lot of effort and will cost you considerably without getting a great deal back beyond pure enjoyment (and maybe better reading/memory skills). Besides the steep price tag, it will eat into your precious free time and your mental stamina. But, at the end of the day, life is short and you should spend a large part of it doing something that you enjoy. If you like 4X/adventure/strategy/imaginatively rich games, then this is absolutely something that you will enjoy. Now you just have to decide if that enjoyment is worth the cost... Expand
  2. Nov 10, 2013
    This is my first venture into the Dominions franchise,

    I must say the learning curve was pretty steep But if you stick with it, it's worth

    This is not a game for those who want things done quickly, this is a slow paced methodical game with plenty of micromanagement and depth. Dozens of factions and dozens of units per faction each with their own stats Casters, beasts, soldiers, flyers, giants and much more. Factions also have hero units and squad leaders have a full inventory system, spell research trees casters and much much more.

    The depth of this game is what keeps me hooked, I've played about 6 full games now, which might not seem like much however my last game soaked up over 18 hrs worth of gameplay on one of the largest maps with 20 AI players and I lost, but I still learned a lot and had a lot of great moments.

    It's not all peachy however and there are certain things that are frustrating, like how you can't queue up move orders or how if one of your heroes dies in a fight who had special items, but you end up wining the battle you still lose the heroes items. There's other small annoyances but overall they aren't game breaking.

    I recommend this game to anyone who has an interest in a deep turn based fantasy strategy game.
    If you liked the heroes of might and magic franchise, Rome or civilization but looking for something with more bite, then this might be the game for you!
  3. Dec 2, 2013
    It's my first try in the Dominions series, but I'm quite used to old school turn based fantasy strategy games like Master of Magic or Age of Wonders.
    Despite the difficulties and intricacies of this game, I'm really enjoying it.
    It takes its time to master it with its huge combination of races, creatures, paths of magic and spells, but especially if played with some friends online it's highly rewarding! Not for everyone, however.
  4. Dec 20, 2013
    I was initially impressed with droves of playable factions, unique monsters, and customizable armies. The game certainly has all of those features but some are much better represented than others.

    There are a few factions that feel uninspired, but given that there are so many to choose from I am impressed that many of them are so unique. As of writing this review, I have not played *every* faction but I have clashed against the majority of them and each enemy warrants a slight change in the strategy I take when attacking them. Some factions will swarm you with summoned undead units, others have single monstrosities, and a few have units that are all capable of flying.

    Every faction has access to certain special units, a pool of vanilla units, and a spellbook teeming with shared conjurations. I have spent 40+ hours of this game experimenting with every spell in the book and units on the field but still have not found a combination that was not exciting; however, watching your super cool wizard knights act like complete tools on the battlefield will make you sad. I think some serious overhaul with regards to combat controls would improve the game immensely. Understanding the importance of playing your units in the right spots and giving them a broad strategy works to an extent but I would really like more control over the situations where you want your spell caster to hit the right spell at the right time.

    There's not much to say about treasure or province management. Some of the game's charm lies in the system in place. There is very little effort, outside of casting positive or negative spells, to keep your provinces where you want them.

    The main problem I have with this game is the interface. Spells can only be arranged by school of magic, and not even alphabetically in that list. I would expect, for as many spells as are available, there to be a more advanced method of sorting through them.

    My 8 score is a combination of the game being a really solid 7 but the niche gameplay it provides, and the fact that I have spent over 40 hours playing it with no signs of slowing, force me to recognize that as an intangible positive.

    8/10 would bang
  5. Nov 15, 2014
    My 5/10 is a neither here nor there grade. Most likely any Dominions game will be a 0 or 10 for you. It's a 5 for me exactly because I'm neither here nor there. I love it, but it may be more work than this kind of fun is worth for me.

    Graphics and sound would have been good 20 years ago. Strategic gameplay is maybe the deepest of any non-abstract computer game ever made, but/and also entirely unbalanced, unforgiving and uncompromisingly hard. This is to say, you need to know exactly what you're doing at every point in the game or you'll just suddenly die (no matter how well you seem to be doing) and have to start over (or find another game if doing multiplayer). There is no save (Although you can backup the game-files manually to effectively make one). While this caters to the target audience perfectly (this game is 10/10 if spending about a year full-time, studying its every little nuance, appeals to you), but makes it a less than good game objectively.

    The fantasy themes are very well presented, and the best part of the game is how it lets you create The Lion or The Witch of Narnia, or Gandalf or Sauron, or a DnD Lich-King, or a Titan of the Greek Mythologies or just about any classic powerful being as a pretender to godhood. No other game on any media have been able to mix a fraction of the themes or come close to portraying them as well as Illwinter. They also deserve kudos for being Indie before the concept was concieved.

    Dominions 4 is a clear improvement to Dom 3, affording better graphics and implementing some important re-balancing. If you come from Dom 3 you'll probably be dissapointed that your old best strategies will be less sound, but I think this make it a better game in the long run. The pricing is too steep in my view, but if you know you're gonna like it, it's well worth getting on a rabated sale.
  6. May 28, 2014
    Gaming like it's 1994.

    This seems like a really deep strategy game. And as much as I love some games in this genre, I can't recommend this
    one. The presentation and interface are so obtuse, you probably will not figure out how to play it without watching a tutorial video and/or printing out the manual. Even navigating the interface enough to display the pertinent information to begin figuring out what's going on takes some learning.

    I would not recommend this game for anyone who has spoiled themselves by playing anything more modern than Master of Magic. It seems downright criminal to list this game for $35.
  7. Oct 21, 2013
    Not a good sequel to the great Dominions 3, and certainly not worth the high price being asked for what is basically the exact same game. (the game badly needs a complete code re-write for it to meaningfully make progress, but that doesn't seem to be something the devs want to do, preferring instead to make some easy money from yet again re-using code that is now 10+ years old, mostly legacy, and largely a mess)

    Some areas of Dominions 4 have been improved over its predecessor, such as repeat recruitment, but other areas have been made worse, and some unfathomable changes have been made to core aspects of the game (movement, communions, slow recruitment, forts, blood hunting, scales, bless). Many of these changes make no sense at all, and in several cases (communions, movement) do nothing except make the game flat out worse than Dominions 3.

    And there seems to have been a concerted and intentional effort made to slow the game down considerably, which is a seriously bad idea given that most MP games last 60+ turns anyway, and suffer badly from player drop-out/lack of interest in the latter stages. And the changes that have been made will likely extend the average MP game length to past 100 turns. so I can only imagine how bad player drop-out rates will be in Dominions 4 MP games (I think it's quite clear the devs do not play MP games at all, or at least not in anything like the same manner as most Dominions MP players do, and so they devs simply have no idea of the negative consequences their design changes will have on MP games, in particular the length of a typical game and the drop-out rate of these games. As all they see are how the changes look on paper, but have no practical MP experience to understand how the changes will work in practice)

    The Dominions community have been very patiently waiting for several years for a 4th version of Dominions, and even though many will praise this game no matter what, deep down they will know this is NOT the game they were waiting all these years for. And even though it's still hands down the second best MP TBS game there is, it can't even compare to the best MP TBS game, which is Dominions 3.

    Illwinter, next time try listening to the MP community BEFORE you make huge changes to core areas of the game because perhaps then you'll make only good changes that the community badly needed and have been asking for for years, and not liek you did with Dominions 4 which is mix a few good changes in with a dozen or more terrible ones that nobody asked for, were not required, certainly don't help, and only make the game worse for players.