One of the more interesting games I used to play was Black & White, where you essentially ruled over a bunch of humans as a god and chose whether you wanted to be cruel or benevolent. A lot of other titles who tried to do this formula after Lionhead Studios had a habit of getting it wrong, including Lionhead when their own sequel didn’t get as much hype as the first. So I’m always hesitant when trying out a new game that works off of that genre. Enter: Crest, the latest from Eat Create Sleep who released their own version back in March.
Creat puts you in the viewpoint of an all-knowing all-seeing god looking down on a group of people who are essentially living their lives without gods or religion of any kind. The first thing that you’ll notice is that you have zero physical contact with the people, the animals, the land, the resources—anything! You are essentially like the gods people currently believe in, where there is no physicality of any kind, nor is there some magical floating hand that people will see and suddenly start believing in.
Instead, you have to communicate with them through a different system. Commandments. Like the story of Moses going and getting them from a higher power, you can decree through commandments specific words and phrases that your people know in order to get them to do things. You can get people to farm specific crops, find animals, make children, move around to different places, and so forth. That’s as far as your power goes, what they choose to do with the message after that is out of your hands as you’ll observe them either follow you blindly or rebel as they believe no god would ever make that commandment.
Like any faith, the people are also open to interpretation. Meaning all the people have to do is add a few nouns or verbs and they can change the meaning of your commandments to mean other things and follow that accordingly. In essence, you have only whatever good intentions you picked to move forward with, but the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. In other words, you’ll need to be clear and concise with your wording, or those who set up religions below could twist the meaning to suit their needs. You can also amend what’s being practiced by approving or amending, but ultimately everything passes through in some fashion.
Now you can’t order them to do anything, as you have 10 commandment points every half season to help them out. Use them up and you’re in the lurch until the season ends. Also, points don’t carry over, so you either use them or lose them as time progresses. The game often makes you feel like a mayor of some kind, as you can only tell people what they should do but it’s up to them to follow it or not while you sit by and eat popcorn to see what they do next. This is where you start wishing you could smite someone just for fun, but alas, that is not the way of the game.
I thought Crest was a lot of fun as it forces you to think about what life would be like as an actual god looking over a society without the ability to do anything about it. For some people, this will be a drag, but who cares? This is about seeing what happens when you have a limited influence. Can you lead people to salvation or throw them into the depth of despair simply by uttering a few words from on high? Give it a shot and see what happens.
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