#564 Rise of Nations

Posted: 27th November 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

288th played so far

2013.05.19 18'03'01 (Sun)

Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Big Huge Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Some games make you wonder how they’re going to work. Rise of Nations is one such game. Created by Brian Reynolds, one of the main people behind Civilization II, it is pretty much described as real time Civilization.

We’ve played games that attempt to marry the two genres before, such as Medieval: Total War, but not ones that claim to do so during the real time parts of the game. Age of Empires sort of will in the future… but we haven’t played that yet, so officially I don’t know anything yet (apart from that Age of Mythology is awesome).

Our Thoughts

It’s amazing how a couple of seemingly small changes make such a difference to the tone and feel of a game this much. At its core, all the familiar RTS elements are there – collect resources, build structures, build units of various kinds to send out and kill the enemy (or do something similar). A few seemingly smaller changes, however, seem to have changed the focus of the game.

The game emphasizes base (or rather, city) building to a far greater extent. To get anything decent, you need to do enough research, which requires you to gather more of six different resources. You’ve got to deal with expanding your territory, formed of a combination of where you built, what you built and things you’ve researched. You’ve got to improve your units – they get stronger as you research upgrades. And even then there’s peaceful times, where you want to spend more time getting luxuries and trading between towns.

What you get then is mostly empire building like Civilization, though on a smaller and faster scale than that game, with RTS attacks when you want to fight your neighbours. This isn’t as common and feels simpler than, say, Warcraft II, but is satisfying nonetheless. Still, overpowering tends to work most of the time.

The nicest thing about this is that although the game is pretty in depth, individual levels are fast enough that you’ll finish each in somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour, so although it’s a pretty addictive game, it doesn’t wear out its welcome. It also means its main game mode fits in well: a campaign mode, with turns automatically advancing your starting technology in the individual missions/battles you use as you take over (parts of) the world.

One of the nice parts of this is that this allows for a combination of high level resource gathering and balancing (do I go and take over an easy area so it’s mine, or do I go for the high risk one that gives me additional knowledge resources in future levels), as well as not requiring you to micro manage thirty cities as your empire grows.

The game looks lovely, although not too detailed. Again, in scale and detail it’s a cross between the overview graphics of an empire game and other RTS games, 3D enough but not trying to place too much focus on the units, similar to how the individual units don’t matter much during gameplay.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I’m a fan of both genres this game is trying to combine – the empire building, long haul development of Civilization and its kind and the real time strategy of games like Warcraft II and Dune II. Just a whole load of (very time consuming) fun.

  1. […] loved Rise of Nations when we played it. It was a good mix of strategy gaming and civ-style simulation. Sure, Age of […]