Pharaoh: A New Era 

Review: Pharaoh A New Era

What we leave behind often sparks the most interest in us.

Take the ancient Egyptians for example.

They left us pyramids, mummies, and treasures that have lasted thousands of years. And it sticks with you. 

I can still tell you about walking through the Royal Ontario Museum’s Egypt hall for the first time in 1998 with my grandma.

I was hoping that staying power would be there for Pharaoh: A New Era — the HD reskin of a classic ’90s city builder. DotEmu has never let me down with a game. But this sophomore building sim from Triskell Interactive lacks the staying power of the ancient empire it is themed for.

Same old sim, but a different city 

As mentioned before, Pharaoh: A New Era is another example of what DotEmu does best: the classic reskin. 

Pharaoh: A New Era retains a lot of the warm and fuzzy pixel desert that made the original Pharaoh pop. 

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The city management system is pretty simple compared to more modern sims. Managing resources is key, but that requires a population; a population requires health and safety, and finally, a happy population with ample resources can build a vast empire. 

There are small quality-of-life upgrades that make up a lot of the A New Era part of the equation. There are more differentiation details between citizens, such as priests and water carriers, so you can tell what your citizenry is doing. Management tabs have also been upgraded to give you a better view of how your workers are working… or not. 

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The largest of the changes is that A New Era finally adds a Global Labor Pool that makes it easy to see how your citizenry is working. It removes a lot of the finicking that you had to do back in 1999 and helps you make the most of what you have.

There are a few scarabs in the system

 I did meet some bugs along the way that I am hoping are only related to the fact that I was playing on a press build.

A had a few failures to launch from Steam, but no total crashes, which is just fine. 

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The most significant bug I ran into happened frequently, where people would just freeze or switch tasks, which was always solved by saving and reloading but had some major power of annoyance.

My last point is less of a bug, but I believe it belongs here anyway. While management and UI upgrades in A New Era are great, there’s very little in the way of camera control and remapping. 

As you are scrolling across your temples and pyramids and out to your fields along the Nile, Pharaoh: A New Era begins to very much feel like a game made at the turn of the century. 

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This is something I wasn’t expecting from DotEmu. They are always so masterful at balancing implementing new quality of life with the elements that preserve the feelings of originality.  

A literal sandbox

Pharaoh: A New Era has a great ability to become a replayable palate cleanser in a way that the best city builder sims do. You can play the original campaign as intended and take a family through the expanse of Egyptian history, pick a single or grouping of favourite missions, or literally just take to the sandbox. 

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The in-game Encyclopedia is still an incredible way to learn about Egyptian history and sim game management. I’m worried I’m going to lose a lot of hours there in the future!  

Verdict

Pharaoh: A New Era has a great ability to become a replayable palate cleanser in a way that the best city builder sims do. You can play the original campaign as intended and take a family through the expanse of Egyptian history, pick a single or grouping of favourite missions, or literally just take to the sandbox. I’m not sure I can suggest playing Pharaoh: A New Era, because I feel like $25 for a somewhat broken and dated reskin of a ’90s game, is a little much to ask. However, please give it a patch or two and a slight price decrease, and this has the potential to be a real king among city builders.  Not Recommended

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PC

Pharaoh: A New Era 
Summary
Liked
Still a great way to learn about city builders and some history
New quality of life, UI, and HD graphics help
Didn't Like
Feels just a bit dated
Please, give me more control and remapping
Lots of scarabs in the system