The release date for Rise of Nations is looming ever closer and judging
from the updated preview version we received, Big Huge Games is right on
track. This game promises to be a marriage between fast paced real-time
and the deeper elements of a turn-based strategy title. Think of it in
terms of a hybrid between Age of Empires and Civilization. Excited yet?
You should be.
The game now
sports 10 of the 18 nations that will be included before final release.
The interface has also been given a great deal of attention, running
much smoother and user-friendly than the previous version. Overall the
visuals have also been tweaked a bit for a more pleasing graphical
presentation. I had the pleasure of playing around with a fully
functioning navy. The opponent AI is still rough in the naval field, but
I was impressed with the range of options and visual detail. Parking a
couple of aircraft carriers off my opponents coast to conduct air raids
followed by a full ground assault was nothing short of a beautiful
experience. Big Huge Games makes sure, though, that while that sounds
like a daunting task its anything but.
biggest addition is the "Conquer the World" mode. This mode invites you
to quite literally conquer the world, piece by piece through battle and
diplomacy. After choosing a nation you are placed on a large map that is
divided up between you and your opponents. This scenario bears more than
a passing resemblance to a game of Risk. Each nation is given a turn to
do any number of things from declaring war to strengthening defenses.
After your turn is over youll acquire gold in the form of tribute from
the territories you control. Examining the map shows that each territory
contains different items. In addition to gold, a territory may have rare
resources, a bonus card, or a supply center. Bonus cards offer a wide
range of benefits. Take for example the trade embargo card. Playing that
card before a battle would prevent your opponent from using any of the
rare resources he had acquired during the battle. Supply centers are
very useful too because they add to the amount of armies you command.
This mode will surely provide quite a challenge as rulers whittle down
their opponents, setting up a final confrontation for world domination.
certainly a key characteristic to describe Rise of Nations. The ability
to recreate some of the most famous battles in history is quite
satisfying. Still, though, with the great amount of material the game
offers it never becomes overwhelming. Players will notice a much more
forgiving learning curve than say, one of the Civilization games. If
this build is any indication, strategy fans desiring different angle
will be very happy with Big Huge Games offering.
Todd Allen (03/23/03)
***Original Preview Posted 12.22.02***
Nations, often referred to as a hybrid between Civilization III and Age
of Empires, is shaping up to knock the socks off strategy fans
everywhere come next spring. After some serious playtime with the
preview copy, I cant stress enough the need for everyone to get their
affairs in order before next spring because once you get this game, and
get it you probably should, your life will officially be put on hold.
There is some serious depth to be explored in this game and believe me
youll feel compelled to squeeze every drop out of Rise of Nations.
thing about Rise of Nations is the fact that you can enjoy the depth a
Civilization-type game, where you are required to progress civically,
scientifically, and economically among other things. You also must
expand your nations borders by building new cities and researching new
military and religious methods. Much like Civilization you can seek out
rare resources to better your nations situation. Your nations trek
from times of mud and mortar to steel and concrete wont occur in a
turn-based setting, though. This title will maintain the lively pace of
real-time. By taking the best of both worlds Big Huge Games has quite
literally given this game its own distinct feel and identity.
preview build allows the use of six nations, the Chinese, French,
Russian, Egyptian, Aztec, and Japanese. The final version will sport a
whopping, 18 nations in all for gamers to play with. Each nation has
their own special units like the Japanese samurai and Russian anti-troop
missile launcher. It will be interesting to see how the other unique
units will be developed for the remaining 12 nations.
Rise of Nations is already looking quite attractive. The hundreds of
units players will come across are all nicely detailed and quite unique.
Even two identical units from different regions of the world wont look
exactly alike. Rather they will represent their respective regional
influences like skin color and dress style. The buildings and cities are
represented very nicely as well. The special effects capture both the
impressive death scenes of each unit and the collapse of devastated
buildings. Though the development is far from complete, the animation
isnt too shabby either. The game still suffers from choppiness and
slowdown, but these issues will surely be ironed out for the release.
havent already guessed it this game is going to be huge. Definitely be
prepared for some of the most impressive battles youve ever seen in a
strategy game. The land units are quite smart when it comes to battle
formation. Units stay together, preventing the slower members from being
left behind. When battle is joined your army will draw up its ranks and
proceed with surprising organization. Short range fighters will form
strong front lines in front of their ranged fellows who in turn will be
in front of your cannons and what have you. This may sound simple, but
wait till you highlight about 60 units and watch them operate
systematically. It feels as if you have stumbled upon a real battle.
course if battle isnt your thing you can attempt to gain control by
building a certain number of wonders such as the Coliseum or Eiffel
Tower. Each one you erect will yield wonder points. Collect the
specified number of points will lead to your bloodless victory. Other
choices include success through expert diplomacy or economic measures.
crew over at Big Huge Games listed some more additions for us to look
forward to. Besides the other 12 nations to be added, players will be
able to participate in several recreations of the famous battles of our
world history. Also we can look forward to a robust single player
"Conquer the World" campaign, which will have you struggling for control
all around the map from the deserts of Africa to the mountains of
Reynolds, the designer behind Rise of Nations, has definitely got the
right experience in the strategy genre to deliver a quality product.
Hes had a hand in both Civilization II and Alpha Centauri, two popular
games in the Sid Meier universe. While Rise of Nations ties to the
Civilization series are undeniable, it is proving to be a much more
accessible experience. From what weve seen of the preview, this title
is on track to be one of the biggest hits of 2003. Stay posted to
Gamesfirst.com for any updates on this great strategy game.
Todd Allen (12/22/2002)