Darkly Gothic with creatures from the creepiest corners of Slavic folklore Gord is a colony-sim that will have you building settlements and battling sanity as you lead the Tribe of the Dawn deep into the forbidden lands. Face tough decisions as you try to bargain with terrible monstrosities, carry out their bidding, or try and defeat them.
Platforms: PC Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One
Genres: Adventure, Colony Sim, Survival
Steam Deck Unsupported
You begin your story thrust in the middle of danger. People are scattered, lost, and possibly dead. You must try to find them whilst building a safe settlement before you delve further into the forbidden lands. In one of the early quests, you have to face a decision to get past some horrific creature that blocks your path. Your choices are to either fight – however, you’re warned that this will be an almost insurmountable task. Or sacrifice a youngling. Well, I took the sacrificial route and felt… nothing. The child had only just spawned in my camp, so it seemed like an easy choice. That’s how a lot of Gord made me feel. Disconnected or uncaring. There were no real stakes to this task. Just walked the kid over and then they were gone.
Each one of your villagers has their own name and traits making them feel like a unique individual. Before you embark on a quest you can choose a handful or so to take with you. Once you’re on your quest those individuals didn’t really feel very individual to me. I just set people to tasks and started building my settlements. I would train a few as fighters and send them off to explore the procedurally generated worlds.
As you might expect Gord is set within a dark world both figuratively and literally. All around you is danger. Wolves stalk the lands, bandits roam looking to rob you and leave you for dead. They hide in the shadows waiting for you to get nearby. The thing is, I felt it was a little hard to really see what was going on in some instances. Everything is so dark that you can’t really see. Trees and bushes are densely packed obscuring your view a lot of the time. It didn’t make exploring a very enjoyable aspect of the game.
Fight for survival
Combat is an inevitability despite being able to bargain your way out of it sometimes. You can train up various types of troops with melee and ranged combat. There are also some powerful spells that you can unlock and use to help turn the tide of battle. However, the combat itself is mundane and without many tactics. Your people just swarm the nearest enemy and bash away at them in most cases. You can select individuals to target certain enemies but in some cases, they seemed to ignore my commands. I guess it’s similar to most RTS-style games combat systems. I was just thinking it might be a little more tactical given the size of your parties.
That being said, it didn’t really seem to matter a lot of the time – especially early on. I had two troops exploring the maps whilst the rest gathered supplies for my settlement and those two were able to deal with most roaming mobs thanks in part to the abundance of health plants. Additionally, there are also plants that restore a person’s sanity in the same manner.
Which is another area that needs managing throughout the camp. Should it drop too low your people will become a little unpredictable which can sometimes lead to them attacking other Gord folk.
Gord bless this home
A lot of Gord is about managing your people and keeping them alive and safe within the walls of your Gord. However, this part of the game doesn’t feel fully baked. For instance, every now and then your Gord folk will need a break from the darkness surrounding them to regain sanity or health. You can do this by letting them rest in places like baths. But, once they’re back to ‘fighting fit’ they will just continue to chill as they watch everyone else put in the hard work. You have to put them back to work. It might not sound like the most taxing of tasks but it just paints a picture of how well-thought-out the management is. It’s fine, just not great.
Then there is the building itself. Which is once again left feeling a little flat and underdeveloped. To start with your Gord can’t be any size, it must meet some random size requirements. Buildings can only be placed within the walls making planning and placement a puzzle of shapes that don’t fit together. You can quickly run out of space if you haven’t squidged everything in. You can’t move buildings, only dismantle and rebuild them. Again, it’s not one of those things that’s terrible to deal with. But builds to that overall picture of a slight lack of thought.
Gord left me feeling like it could’ve been something more. Something better and ultimately it fell into the pot of being another okay game. It is by no means bad. Just fine. It has some nice environments – if a little dark. The story is okay. The aesthetic of your Gord, the Horrors, and everything else looks pretty cool. It was just a few quality-of-life elements off of being a good game.
Thankfully, you can try the game for yourself before you commit to anything as there is a demo available. So go and judge it for yourself, you never know you might love it!