Jon Shafer's At the Gates Image
Metascore
63

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 14 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: At the Gates is an indie strategy game from Jon Shafer, designer of Civilization 5. You are a dark age lord building a kingdom to replace the crumbling Roman Empire. Manage your clans, explore the landscape around you, harvest its resources, and build a mighty economic and military machine.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Jan 23, 2019
    90
    At the Gates has a ton going for it, and this is easily the most addicted I've gotten to a game that I am reviewing. Although the replay value might not be as vast as some of the bigger 4X games on the market, it has enough of a unique and condensed feel that by the time you're getting ready to make moves to win, it hasn't overstayed its welcome by 20 hours.
  2. Jan 23, 2019
    80
    The slow pacing, difficulty, and confined historical focus might prove a barrier for some, but I loved carving out my own empire of riches in the roughs on grit and determination alone.
  3. Feb 6, 2019
    70
    Jon Shafer’s At the Gates is not a mass-market game. It decries the populist and dumbed down direction in which the Civilization franchise has moved, replacing it with a strategy title for the patient player that tolerates a measured pace, likes the challenge of long-range planning, can overlook some bugs, and finds satisfaction in a cerebral, hard-fought victory. For the average strategy fan, At the Gates may frustrate but the rewards of pushing through to comprehension are significant.
  4. Jan 23, 2019
    60
    A solid foundation for a unique 4X experience – it just needs fleshing out a bit more before it can really shine.
  5. Jan 31, 2019
    60
    Jon Shafer's At the Gates is a unique 4X, with tons of fresh ideas, but many of them remain incomplete.
  6. CD-Action
    Dec 11, 2019
    55
    At the Gates would need another year of fixes in Early Access to be relevant. As of now it’s a true diamond which never got the chance to shine. [03/2019, p.71]
  7. Jan 24, 2019
    40
    In spite of having unique mechanics and a fresh take on the 4X and roguelike genres, Jon Shafer's At The Gates falls woefully short of delivering on both counts with frustrating RNG, mechanics, unintuitive design, and bugs.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jan 26, 2019
    8
    Jon Shafer’s At the Gates is a great 4X game that is promising and will keep you coming back for more. It’s beautiful, it has deep engagingJon Shafer’s At the Gates is a great 4X game that is promising and will keep you coming back for more. It’s beautiful, it has deep engaging systems and it’s flexible enough for players to experiment and optimize their playstyle and builds. Hopefully, At the Gates minor flaws can be worked out with post-launch support or by the time the next installment comes along. Expand
  2. Apr 11, 2020
    6
    More than a year since its official release this is still a provocatively unfinished game. But to Jon Shafer's credit, it is still veryMore than a year since its official release this is still a provocatively unfinished game. But to Jon Shafer's credit, it is still very addictive. The heart of the gameplay is not warfare or politics but resource management and survival. Do not come into this expecting a 4x experience. The initial challenge comes mainly from managing your production chain well enough during summer so that your clans don't starve during winter. Eventually, you have to figure out how to transition from an unsustainable foraging based economy to a farming based economy. You have to carefully find a balance between making sure your clans have enough food right now and investing enough in production of non-food based resources so that you can escape your nomadic lifestyle later. If you're too short sighted, you'll deplete a lot of resources and might find that your opponents have already claimed all the best land. If you're planning too much ahead, your clans will starve.

    Once you've settled and established a kingdom, you can start shifting your focus towards warfare. It is perhaps for the best that the "early game" takes so long, because the late game is very unsatisfying. Combat is boring, the AI is rudimentary, diplomacy is barely existent and you can't even properly vanquish your foes! You can take their settlement, but you can't use it for anything and control will eventually revert to the original owner, even though they're defeated. Similarly, you can capture enemy buildings, but they will be all but useless to you, because there's a penalty for owning captured clans (and you can't do anything about it). These things make the game world feel static and limited and removes all incentives for conquest. I also find it very disappointing that there is no game customisation or map settings to play around with at all – just a 'new game' button.

    I really can't recommend the game as a product, because it's not what it claims to be. But if you like economic sims and don't care for the other advertised features, then it is still a fun game. Just don't expect to find a reason to keep playing, once you've stabilised your economy.
    Expand
  3. May 13, 2019
    5
    At the Gates has enormous potential, but sadly as of May 2019 it is very glitchy (though playable). There have been no updates for the pastAt the Gates has enormous potential, but sadly as of May 2019 it is very glitchy (though playable). There have been no updates for the past three months though it was released only 4 months ago. This suggests the developers have moved on and the game will remain deeply flawed. My hope is help is on the way to make this game the outstanding game it could be. Expand
  4. Jun 13, 2019
    0
    After waiting years for the my kickstarter of the game I would have expect the game to be good. The graphics are bad for a mid 90's game. TheAfter waiting years for the my kickstarter of the game I would have expect the game to be good. The graphics are bad for a mid 90's game. The game play is shallow and boring. Unbalance and broken. Expand