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Rise Of Nations (PC)

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9 Reviews

Genre: Simulation - World Building / Video Game for Windows NT / Windows 98 / Windows 2000 / Windows Me / Windows XP / Release Date: 2003-05-23 / Published by Microsoft

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    9 Reviews
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      01.03.2012 15:56
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      Would definitely recommend- one of the better RTS games out there

      Rise of Nations really took the RTS to the next level. Obviously it is similar to Age of Empires and other RTS games, but i believe changed them for the better. RON gives players the opportunity to rise up through time, creating the special units of a possible 18 civilisations to choose from. There are also, unlike in any other RTS game 6 resources which help you build up your empire. Food, metal, timber, oil, wealth and knowledge. Knowledge allows you to build up technologies enabling you to expand your empire in the future ages. This is a definite must play if you're an RTS fan, and you can probably pick it up quite cheaply nowadays. The large amount of civilisations have something for everyone, with each one have their own special units and powers. Even if you've never played an RTS game this would be the perfect one to start with as in my opinion it is the most ambitious and the one you can get the most joy out of playing. From the campaigns of Alexander the Great and the second world war to the brilliant gameplay RON really has it's tactical side down to a tee. The game is built on the premise that a good offence and defence is needed, which means without a good economy you won't do well. I think that is what is missing from a variety of the RTS games out now in that they are too focused on offence and tactically they don't stand up to Rise of Nations.

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      21.11.2009 18:48
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      Highly recommended to fans of C&C, Age of Empires and Civilisation

      Released in 2003, Rise of Nations is a real-time-strategy game that takes its cue from the likes of Age of Empires and Civilisation. As in Age of Empires, you must pick a civilisation to play as, with different civilisations having their own unique architecture, special units, strengths and weaknesses, advancing up through the ages from classical times to dark age and medieval times up through the napoleonic era to the World War 2 epoch and finally into the modern day and beyond.

      The graphics are superb, and whilst the viewpoint is fixed all the units are in full 3d and beautifully animated, leading to some superb large-scale and incredibly detailed battles as you go up against computer or human opponents. As in Age of Empires you must accumulate resources (timber, wealth, food and later oil) and build various structures (barracks, universities, farms, factories, blacksmiths and so on) whilst constantly upgrading your military, agricultural and techological abilities at the same time as defending against and attacking your various enemies distributed throughout the map, with different units countering others (eg pikemen counter cavalry units) and easy to use tactical formations playing an important role the strategies you employ.

      One aspect that is different in Rise of Nations is that each player can build several cities which can then never be destroyed but only captured and recaptured, affording more influence and resources to whomever holds them, a feature which alters the game's tactical nature considerably. The game allows for practically limitless range of tactics to be employed, given the vast combinations of units, civilisations and situations that crop up in each game, and whilst the single player campaign mode is entertaining and the enemy AI decent, the game is at its most cerebral and exciting when played against another human opponent (or opponents) over the internet or a LAN.

      Rise of Nations is an excellent, visually stuning, highly polished RTS that has clearly been playtested to near perfection, and stands as one of the greatest RTS games ever released.

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      06.10.2009 00:38
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      Excellent game I would recommend.

      Rise of Nations is a real time strategy combined with a turn based tactical game. It was released in May 2003.

      --- the BASICS ---

      In RoN, the player is challenged to take over the world following individual battles. In addition to the campaign, gamers can also choose to play maps against AI or online opponents.

      In this game, the player have to gather resources (food, wood, coin and metal; oil later in the game) and amass knowledge in order to build / upgrade units and advance through the ages, while fighting against the enemy. There are 8 ages of the game - Ancient, Classical, Medieval, Gunpowder, Enlightenment, Industrial, Modern and Information age. With each age come better units and more powerful vehicles / ships.

      --- the AGES ---

      (Ancient)
      This is where the standard game start. During this age the units are virtually useless (except against other units of this age), the buildings are weak and there are no advanced units (e.g. mounted units / siege units).

      (Classical, Medieval, Gunpowder, Enlightenment)
      The main part of the game as the player advances through the ages will see more siege weapons (from trebuchet to cannons), more mounted units (e.g. knights), and powerful ships.

      (Industrial, Modern, Information)
      As Industrial age dawns a new resource becomes available - oil. All mounted units become automobile units and with the exception of infantry all units now require oil. Airports can now be built and new vehicles like the anti-air and biplanes (which will eventually become strategic bombers) can be purchased. A new game of cat and mouse begins as early inaccurate anti-air against short ranged biplanes become radar anti-air missiles combat against heavily armoured strategic bombers. When the players have researched all available technologies there are 4 penultimate researches for the player - each would provide extremely useful technologies for the player (e.g. Artificial Intelligence research provides instant unit creation). Intercontinental and Nuclear missiles are also introduced in the Modern age.

      --- the UNITS ---

      The units in the game are mainly comprised of infantry (trained from the Barracks), mounted / automobile (bought from the Stables / Auto Plant), siege weapons (bought from the Siege Factory / Factory), planes (bought from Airfields), ships (bought from docks).

      Each units have their own advantages - I have found that air units are the best near the end game. Make sure you build lots of anti-air defenses though.

      --- how to START a game ---

      Start by building a city - then a university (train scholars too) and 5 farms. Recruit 5-10 villagers to gather resources. Then build a library and research - civics. Build another city as soon as you can - then another university and 5 more farms. Build a market. Repeat the above steps until you nearly occupy most of the map. When the time comes to attack - just kill off some villagers or scholars for population space.

      --- CONCLUSION ---

      This game is one of the strategy games I would recommend and is definitely as good as Age of Empires. The game has a very good concept which is allowing the player to advance from pre-historic to modern times. This makes for some very interesting playing and is surely a legendary strategy game.

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    • More +
      29.05.2009 20:24

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      A briliant strategy games that can be picked up for a great price!

      Rise of Nations is an real time strategy game that is available for the PC, it is very similar to other games such as Civilisation and Empire Earth in the way that the game functions. The game was released in May 2003 and was developed by Brian Reynolds who also produced Civilisation 2. I bought this game for just £10 on Amazon a while ago and really did consider it to be an excellent price.

      The idea of Rise of nations is to grow and develop your nation all the way from the Ancient age to the Information age. But to do this you will have to overcome many obstacles including technlogical advancements and war. As your nations rises and develops through the ages you will notice a real advancement. What I love about this game over other similar games such as Age of Empires is that you have the option of really starting at the very Ancient age.

      The installation of the game is starightforward and needs a very minimal PC specification in order to play the game. The graphics are really quite good considering the date that it was released and it really does improve the overall quality of the gameplay at hand. The controls are very simple and I found the layout very simple to understand in general. This really is a great game and considering it is less than £10 it is well worth buying and trying!

      I found the tutorrials that are available to be very useful and they really do give you a good idea of how the game should be played. I love the fact that there is multiple victory methods, for example, you can win by military acion or by diplomacy or by territorial expansion etc. It is brilliant how you ca actually play on a real map of the world and be the ruler of the world! As your nation advances through each age different features and bonuses will be available to you that will improve the level of development.

      The game really is very sophisticated and as well as being great fun to play it really will give you hours of enjoyment. You can research up to 50 different technologies and you have the choice of leading 1 out of 188 possible historic nations which all have special bonuses according to them, makign it a very realistic game.

      There is also a multiplayer feature that I really enjoyed which means that you can play head to head with other people online. You can challange a friend directly or play with up to 8 other people in a big match! I really do think that this is an excellent strategy game and I'm so glad I bought it. I cannot recommend this game enough. I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading!

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      29.04.2009 23:47
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      The same thing as other RTS games but much better.

      Rise of nations is a real time strategy game in which you see a nation though the ages to conquer its enemies either though military might or by out performing them in terms of territory, economy etc.
      The age advancements are far more powerful than in other games, you go from spears to planes to nuclear weapons in the space of a 40 minute match.
      RON is also distinguished by the inexhaustible resources; this has the effect of reducing and slowing conflict as there is no rush to control critical deposits as in war craft. It also means players can't be starved and allows very long games.
      The game play is similar to age of empires and performance is excellent, I have a slow computer and I can fight 5 nations simultaneously with no issues.
      RON is well thought out so it is hard for a side to become undefeatable; however many forts you have they could all be destroyed by a single siege weapon if you don't stay on top of things.
      Players don't tend to get very rich as prices for units, buildings and research rise every time you make a purchase.
      The main problem for me is that you don't get long in each age; I would prefer an option to have a minimum time before advancing so that you could have a chance to battle with all the different units.
      Another issue is that the computer is quite easy to beat by rushing even on the tougher difficulty setting, there is an option to have peace until X age but I would prefer for it to just play well from the start.
      Overall I have given RON 5/5 because it offers a very rich experience with so many different units and nations and all sorts of additional options such as being able to set winning conditions, allow of disallow diplomacy etc.
      There are flame throwers and generals, war elephants, cruise missiles and aircraft carriers - certainly a lot for your money!

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        17.11.2008 23:03
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        Well written game with plenty of choice hours of gameplay

        Rise of Nations is a strategy game similar to the Age of Empire and Civilisation games.

        Game play

        As in similar games you have to take command of a nation, you get a choice of 18 each one having special units and bonus to help you along.

        You have to start of by exploring the world and building your cities in your territory, and invent new technology, build armies to help conquer and protect your lands, you can only build a limited amount of cities so you have to select there location carefully although you can conquer enemies cities to increase your amount.

        There is quite a bit of different type of resources to collect more than in typical games which makes you have to priories what you want your workers to collect.

        There is a large selection of units to choose from, each having their own unique advantage over others and quite of bit of technology to develop so you can choose where you want to make your advancements.

        There is a single player campaign where you have to completed certain historical missions for your nation or you can just dive right in and play against several computer controlled enemies and try and conquer the world.

        The AI is pretty good and the enemy can at times be quite hard to defeat, so you have to be careful where you place your cities and what units you build.

        The game is easy to play and easy to get into, although can be quite hard to master

        Controls/Graphics

        The graphics are good and the detail is good as well and the game runs smoothly even with a lot of units on the screen. The controls are pretty simple and easy to use and the view is easy to use and allow easy movements around the battlefield.

        Multiplayer

        The multiplayer is pretty good although it can sometimes be slow due to the detail of the game and the amount of units on the screen at once, but conquering your friends on huge maps more than makes up for this.

        Value for Money

        This game is excellent value for money as you can play it again and again, once you have completed the game you can play as a different nation and there is plenty of sceneries to play and lots of different units to play around with.

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        20.07.2008 21:45
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        good game, well worth the money

        Rise of nations is the kind of classic rts game which is very simple to play yet you somehow never tire of playing the enthralling game. Whether it be for its rather good graphics or it's great style of brutality crushing the enemy nation you are at war with, this game is one of my favourites. You at war! the world is your enemy and you are there to crush each opposing nation and conform it into your empire.

        The Game - When playing the game for the first time it is very wise to play the tutorial first so as to get hands on experience on how to play. The tutorial in Rise of nations is amazingly detailed and gives the gamer a step by step guide on how to use your citizens in making buildings of war such as barracks, stables, castles, siege towers, etc and how to use your citizens as well in making the necessities which are crucial to fuel your army such as farms, mines, wood camps, etc.

        Once you have done away with the formalities you are ready for war. you have the option to play a skirmish battle wherein the computer randomly generates a scenario and you have to defend or destroy. The second and more favourable option is to start a campain, here you can choose a nation to control such as Greeks, Turks, French, Germans (or my personal favourites) the Romans and wage war with the world.

        Once you have chosen your nation you will then be presented with a map, here you can see other countries around you as they also vye for power. some countries are cordial (you are at peace with) however some are suspicious of you and it is a good idea to declare war on them first. once you have invaded your task is to take the nations cities within 90 minutes or less to win. It is crucial to remember that by spending rime at the beginning creating wood camps, mines and farms is not wasted as this is essential in creating a fearsome force of soldiers.

        The library of your town is where you must spend resources such as food, money, wood, etc in order to progress. there are 4 categories to research in the library : military, civics, commerce and science, by researching you allow your population to increase, build more advanced buildings and therin create an army of sizeable proportions.

        In the barracks you can create 3 types of soldiers which can be upgraded providing you have done your research at the library : javeliners, ceasars legion and archers. In the stables you again have 3 types of mounted soldier which are light infantry, heavy infantry and archer calalry which can fire arrows. Lastly, you can create a siege factory that that allows you to create trebuchets which throw huge rocks, these are highly effective at dessicrating towns and cities.

        evaluation - Rise of nations has a considerable amount to offer and is certainly a reccomended game for beginners due to it's simplicity in the area of economy which is very easy to understand. Once you have gotten the hang of the game you should have no problem in winning a battle in around 40 minutes (well withing the 90 minute time slot).

        Graphics - The graphics are absolutely amazing, of course the game is a few years old but i still think they can hold their own. When laying siege to towns it is rather exhilarating to see your army throw rocks, cut soldiers down and flatten your opponents stables and other such resources they have took time to collect (HA HA).

        Sound - The music in the background of the game is very much basic throughout but is still nice to listen too (especially when you start to fight and the tempo picks up. When in battle the general sounds of soldiers yelling, metal clanging and buildings burning can be heard (ahh lovely) which nearly always sounds the same, but what the hey, this is war, we've got to make the best of it.

        Playability - I am not an expert by all means but Rise of Nations is certainly enthralling to play; probably because it's so easy to win... or maybe thats because i play in easy mode. Anyway, if you like to win and are a sore loser then this is well worth a try, for the more hardcore gamer this is probably worth a look but nothing compared to Command and Conquer.

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          12.06.2008 19:50
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          A near-perfect strategy game

          Rise of Nations is a real time strategy (RTS) game for the PC and one of the best strategy games I have ever played on any platform. Featuring a much more dynamic and improved version of the tried and tested RTS mechanism (originally seen in the age of empires series) with a solid multiplayer mode and excellent visuals and sound, this game has a lot to offer.

          Graphics

          The visual presentation is great with well-detailed and distinctive buildings and structures that change as you advance through the ages. The way the buildings look depends on the civilization you choose. For example, in the later ages the Egyptian temple resembles a mosque while the French temple looks like a cathedral. The wonderfully bright and lush colours (thanks in part to the good lighting effects) with subtle touches of detail here breathe life into your cities and citizens.

          The individual units, and there are lots of them, are very highly detailed and it seems that a lot of thinking has gone into designing the way they look. For example, British infantry units are often recognisable due to their uniform.

          The animations of characters walking, building, gathering resources and going about their jobs unfold seamlessly as do the motions of fish in the seas or the bears near forests. The introductory cutscene is just breathtaking to behold with some simply superb lighting effects. It really does sum up the game in a few minutes!

          Another interesting feature is the camera's ability to zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel which allows you to survey your cities from afar and is particularly useful for issuing orders or you can accurately guide your troops by zooming in on them.

          Sound

          The soundtrack is excellent and imbues the game with an element of excitement, and matches the fast pace of the game. It feels very appropriate and creates the perfect atmosphere for this game.

          The sound effects are just amazing. The thud of your lumberjacks cutting wood, the galloping of your knights, the creaks of your tanks and the growl of your fighter jets just sounds fantastic and very realistic, making the gameplay more fun and adds a lot of variety to it.

          Gameplay

          The game has an excellent tutorial which helps considerably in explaining its comprehensive gameplay and combat mechanics which can early on seem complicated. There are five levels of difficulty ranging from very easy to very hard so everyone can find one that challenges them sufficiently.

          You start off with a city, a few buildings and a few villagers which you use to gather resources, build new cities and buildings and advance through the ages by meeting the requirements of the next age. Resources are gathered very quickly and that gives an indication of the games fast pace.

          You advance through ages by 'researching' them at your library and as you advance newer building and more features of the game open up. You also need to research other technologies. For example, researching military level 2 allows you to build stables while researching crop rotation at your granaries increases your farms' output.

          New resources also become available as you progress through different ages. These include things like mining which becomes available in the feudal age and oil which becomes available in the industrial age. Other interesting resources are 'wealth' which is generated through taxation and by trading with other nations and between cities and 'knowledge' which is generated at universities. There are also other special resources whose presence in the region have beneficial effects. For example, the presence of uranium reduces the cost of nuclear warheads.

          There are over a dozen nations each with their own special abilities and unique units. For example, the Aztecs has unique light infantry called atl-atls and gain 2 light infantry whenever a barracks is built. The inclusion of a range of ground, aerial and nautical units as well as intercontinental missiles and nuclear bombs is a great addition and it is surprising how important naval supremacy in the game is and how difficult it is to achieve. Launching nuclear strikes leaves you susceptible to nuclear strikes from your enemies and can automatically cause you to lose the game as the world is destroyed by nuclear war.

          There are hundreds of buildings to build, including universities, farms, lumber mills, oil refineries, smelter, airports, docks, markets and forts, all with their own special technologies and abilities. Another interesting feature is the ability to build wonders which have some great benefits but are very expensive and take a long time to build.

          There are two campaigns: 'Conquer the world' and 'quick play'. Quick play allows you to choose nations, maps, conditions for victory and other details to allow you to customise a game and play it in exactly the same way as described in detail above. Conquer the world is where you are given a world map and have to conquer every country which is controlled by another faction. This is very challenging and every 'province' has its own special effects. You issue orders and decide on measures taken on the world map using a turn based system but all battles are fought using the same system. You are also able to demand tribute and make alliances with nations which is a nice plus.

          You can also make your own maps if you want and make missions for yourself and other people you meet online using the scenario and map editors but given the sheer number of maps and the number of options available in a quick play game, you'll probably not use this options.

          My only quibble is that, apart from in the tutorial mode, there is 'story' mode or campaigns centred around famous heroes of the world in a similar manner to Age of Kings which would have helped enhance the experience even more and made the single-player mode stronger and more extensive.

          Lasting appeal

          The conquer the world and quick play campaigns can be played again and again and each time you play it is different. There are five difficulty levels to beat and over a dozen races to explore which should keep you busy for a long long time.

          Using the online multiplayer mode, you can take on other opponents and preset and customised missions, each with different objectives for victory. You can also forge alliances or declare wars and talk to your opponents using a built in chat mode. The conditions for victory can range from 'deathmatch' (kill them all!) to 'wonder victory' (build the most wonders).

          ==============================================

          Rise of Nations is the best strategy game I have ever played and offers an amazing gameplay experience that is unique and unforgettable, complimented by smooth visuals and realistic sound effects. This game is a must-have for anyone even slightly interested in the strategy gaming genre as it is a flawless package that exudes perfection from every pore. This is the way strategy games were meant to be!

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            14.01.2004 02:28
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            Rise of Nations (or RON as it shall from hereon in be known as) is a Real Time Strategy game, written by Big Huge Games with support from Microsoft. This explains the idea for the rather obscure title for this review. As you probably expect from this type of game, the aim is world domination, with the full scale conquest game starting in the year 4000BC and progressing to modern times with the advance of technologies which that encompasses. The first task for the player is to decide what type of game you want to play and the associated settings. You can opt for a single game, good if you only have half an hour or so to spare, this type of game can be tailored greatly for example you can choose a small or larger map, there are seven different sizes of map to choose from. The game also supports LAN and internet play, but I have yet to try this myself so can?t really comment. Since I have lost broadband since moving house I don?t have the will to try this, or the wallet as I now pay by the minute for my connection! The main part of the game, which most people will be interested in is the conquest mode, where you have to lead your people from the stone age to hopefully the space age, by conquest and technological advancements. First task is to choose your skill level, easy, medium or hard etc and then decide which race to be, or have one chosen for you at random. This choice is vital as each of the 18 races you can be has it?s own special benefits within the game, not to mention having suitable graphics. For example if you choose to be British, you have ?Power of Empire? which means you can gain more income from those areas you take over and also have special military units such as Longbow Archers and even Lancaster Bombers ? but not both at the same time probably. You?ll notice that any cities etc you build look British, whereas the Incas for example have much more ?Indian? looking buildings to keep the flavou
            r of the game. As well as having ethnic type graphics for each race, you?ll notice the buildings etc are modernised every time you make a major advancement. In the Medieval period if you build a fortification you?ll get a castle with battlements, turrets et al and do the same in the Industrial age and it looks more like a Napoleonic fort with emplacements for cannons etc. The game revolves around two main screens, a World map and the actual in-game screens where the RTS action takes place. The main map is similar to Risk, with the World split into several sectors, usually each representing a country with about 50 locations in total. You also get information regarding armies and special resources shown on the map as well as how your treasury is doing. You can press a button to see a view of how the whole world is split up, which races are doing the best in terms of percentage of the world taken over and who has been eliminated. You start with just one location, your capital and if that is lost you are knocked out of the game. You can decide to sit tight on this main screen, effectively missing a turn but building up your strength and money, or go for a battle by moving your army into a neighbouring terretory. You start the game with just one army but can get more if you take over specially marked countries, called resource centres. One strange anomally is that you can cross certain oceans and seas, for example if you are in Britain you can cross into France but not Germany, even if you in the Modern age. Seems a bit strange to me but there you have it. If you attack a country which nobody else owns, it is considered a barbarian or neutral country and the RTS screen pops up with a fairly easy battle against a usually weak foe. These battles are straightforward military encounters with no need for building up cities etc. The main event however is when you decide to attack another race, or they attack you!
            Before you can attack you need to declare war which costs money, but then you are ready to fight. If you are attacked the aim is to hold on for 90 minutes without being wiped out and if you have attacked you need to wipe out the enemy within 90 minutes. At the start you have one small city and some military units, with an explorer. A good start is to set the explorer off to ?auto-explore? mode and watch his progress on the mini-map at the bottom of the screen which shows the whole area you are fighting in. Get a civilian or two built in the city and as you wait research a couple of advancements in the library. The key to the game is resources, you need to make sure you have plenty of raw materials for just about everything. These are food, wood, iron, money and knowledge, with oil appearing later in the game. They are all pretty standard fodder for any experienced RTS player, food is needed for most things and is made when you build and maintain farms, each city can support five farms but each needs a civilian to work one. And guess what? You need food to produce civilians! More or less any part of the map can produce food, apart from the sea of course (even there you can get fishermen once you research trawlers) but the other resources are harder to track down. Locating you cities is therefore very important, you have no say over the first location but after that you can decide where to found them. Near trees is a good idea to make sure you can chop down wood at lumber-camps and near mountains likewise so you can set up mines to gain iron. Larger forests and mines are better as more civilians can work there to produce more resources. Build universities to gain knowledge so you can research into new ideas. Money is generated if you build markets and send caravans between cities, with merchants going to special resources which your explorer has by now hopefully discovered, silver etc. As it?s an RTS game
            by the time you have built a market and the first merchant your explorer should really have found a few of these resources if he?s worth his salt. Oh that reminds me, salt is also a special resource, there are about 20 of them all told. You can build various other buildings to help your resource production, a granary for example will boost food production. Before you can build a lot of the more useful buildings, you need to research them, which is done at the library. There are five areas you can research into, Military will allow better troops to be built and more population to be sustained. Civic will allow bigger and more cities to be constructed whilst Commerce allows you to produce more stuff. Science is the area which allows you to come up with new ideas and improvements to existing buildings. Finally, you can improve your Age, for example from Gunpowder age to Industrial. This is a great undertaking and costs a lot of resources to do, you can only progress a maximum of one stage per battle, which effectively means you are never going to dominate massively against your opponent. There?s no chance of you having Nukes against their bow and arrows for example but it does ensure a closer game and is probably a bit more realistic. So your aim early on is to deploy the few troops you have to defend your city, send out the explorer and then get your first civilians to work at getting resources. It?s then a case of balancing expansion with the need to produce resources and research into new technology, all the technologies are pretty much as important as each other. Of course whilst this is going on the enemy is not merely sitting on his hands, but he?ll be doing the same as you at varying levels depending on the skill selected. This is another area where I feel let down slightly by the game as easy is too easy and medium too hard for me, at least so far. I am only fairly green though having only played the game fo
            r about three weeks as I got it for Christmas. Yes, normally I have completed a game in this time-scale but RON seems pretty solid, which is a good point. Despite Medium giving me a good kicking so far I don?t think it?s going to be impossible to win, I just need more practise! One important part of the game is the border, which every race has around their cities. The border is shown on the map and you can only build within this area which you own. If your cities get bigger, or you build strongholds then the borders increase in size to reflect your new power. If your border reaches as far as the enemy border then things get interesting as both sides try to exert their influence on the disputed lands. If you have buildings which fall under the influence of the enemy, if they become stronger in a certain area for example, then attrition means they slowly but surely become derelict and if you don?t do something about it quickly they will be destroyed. This is a fairly new idea in RTS games, at least I haven?t come across it and it is a welcome addition as it actually gives you a good reason to grab as much land as possible and hold onto it. If you can isolate the opponent in a small area then they will be under pressure as they will find it hard to get enough resources together. It?s far more realistic to implement this in a game of this type as it encourages rapid expansion which is what most of the best despots would have done through history! Of course eventually it comes down to war, you can?t win this game through peacefull means I?m afraid, which is where the resemblance to Civilization ends. You?ll need to build barracks and stables if you want to produce combat units ready for the final push. There are dozens of unit types ranging from simple hoplites and slingers up to stealth bombers and nukes. As well as infantry and cavalry you can build siege engines and you?ll need to build supply trucks too as the attrition w
            hich affects buildings in enemy territory also affects troops, supplies will help to ease this. If you have a stronghold you can built a leader, which increases your forces effectiveness and allows for some special orders such as forced march and entrench mode. The battles themselves are well depicted but move so quickly as to make individual control of units impossible, it does rather fall back to the old cliché of get a big wadge of men and pile into one particular battle, which is a pity as the mechanics of the game would allow for more strategic moves. When fighting you need to bear in mind some units are weak against certain others and particularly strong against some as well, for this reason it?s a good idea to get a balanced group of different units to help them compliment each other. The units have enough brainpower to know who and what to attack, but they sometimes get drawn into enemy territory too easily as they do tend to follow the enemy when they retreat. Yes, an RTS game where the enemy actually retreat, I was shocked to see this myself at first. They seem to know when they are beaten and will pull back to a strong zone if needs be and lure your forces into a trap unless you are wary. The battle ends when you have captured all the cities on the map, or the enemy has done the same to you. I do find that once you have one city the game is a bit of a forgone conclusion, they tend to fling everything into the defence of this one city and after that they are reduced to a pretty spent fighting force, which is a bit of a shame. Another whinge I have with the game is spies and how they are implemented. You can build spies at strongholds, who can then bribe enemy combat units. In a recent game, I sent a large force against an enemy city in medium level and a spy bribed two or three key units. For the next 5 minutes my forces were engaged in a bloody bit of in-fighting, and once they had killed the tur
            ncoat bribed units the enemy turned up with reinforcements. Bribery is a fair enough part of the game but surely only against isolated units? If you are marching to an enemy capital with 3 trebuchets, a dozen cavalry and archers and some men-at-arms, your trebuchets are hardly going to commit suicide for a few quid are they? So that?s about it, a really good RTS game with some minor niggles, it rates as one of the best games for the PC this year and possibly the best ever RTS. The extra aspects such as the way research is handled make it seem more than an RTS, you get a Civilization type game thrown in with RISK to boot with the world map phase. However there are equally some extra ideas which the game begs which haven?t been implemented, but if they had been would have made an all time great game. Pity. The game is playable, fairly easy to learn yet hard to master. Graphically it is pretty and the sound also is good enough to enhance the gaming experience. If you like RTS then this is definitely for you, if not it?s worth considering, but not a ?must? buy.

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