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Thread: Game Preview: Grand Ages: Rome (PC)

                  
   
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    Reviews Game Preview: Grand Ages: Rome (PC)


    Platform: Windows (XP or Vista) PC
    Developer: Haemimont Games (official US game page)
    Publisher: Kalypso Media
    MSRP: 29.99
    PEGI: 7+ (Based on box art, PEGI site has no info)
    ESRB: Rating Pending

    Scheduled for release on 09 March 09

    What they had to say about it:
    GRAND AGES ROME is the long awaited sequel to the best-selling strategy game "Imperium Romanum".

    You are a Governor of a Roman Province in the time-honoured Roman Empire, its fortune very much lies in your hands. Choose one of five Roman noble families such as Caesar's Julii with different abilities to accomplish the comprehensive missions.

    Defend yourself against barbarian tribes, trade with other cultures, build a wealthy economic environment and fullfil the needs of your people in a huge single player campaign or with up to 3 human players in the multiplayer mode!

    And remember - even Rome was not build in a day!

    What I have to say about it: click here
    If anyone is looking to buy, sell, trade games and support a developer directly at the same time, consider joining Goozex. Enjoy!

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    System Requirements:
    Spoiler!

    What I used for reviewing:
    Spoiler!


    Grand Ages: Rome is an RTS/4X city building and warfare sim from Haemimont Games. Set for release internationally in March of 2009, the game is the third in the 'Imperium Civatas' series, preceded by Imperium Romanum (aka Imperium Civatas II) and Glory of the Roman Empire (aka Imperium Civatas). The game was released in Spain and Italy last December as Imperium Civitas III and has been received very well. Of course the 4 month wait isn't for nothing, as the international release will feature new maps and a multiplayer mode.

    The beta I recevied did not have that multiplayer mode working yet, but aside from some minor beta-related glitches, I liked what I saw.

    There are two different gameplay modes as with most RTS games: Campaign and Free Build. Campaign mode offers a large new array of features over GA:R's predecessors. First, you may now choose to play as any one of 5 seperate Roman families, each with its own set of traits, allegiances, and unique skills (similar to the different races of a scifi RTS, or the different civs of an RTS that spans the world). Second, the Campaigns are larger and non-linear. After the first few missions, enough open up that you may proceed in any order you wish. These two combine to greatly increase both play time and replay value.

    For those who have never played any of the Imperium Civatas games (I was among them until now), what will stand out is the complexity of the city building and the variety of resources. Most war-based RTSs have a standard 5 sorts of resources, typically something like wood, food, ore/iron/metal, rock/brick/stone, and gold (which is often a seperate thing from other resources). GA:R has over 10. There are the basic resources which are mined, harvested, gathered, or raised: meat, wheat, olive oil, wine, lumber, brick, stone, marble, iron, and flax; as well as some other basic resources that are slightly different such as slaves. On top of those, there are processed resources: meat becomes sausage (using a butcher shop), wheat becomes flour which becomes bread (grain mill then bakery), etc. All of these different resources have different specific uses and a balance must be maintained in order to prosper.

    The combat is much more simple than the city building, but still different in its own ways. Units are built only as squads, whose sizes vary based on the type of unit. There are the typical health and experience stats which reflect their battles, but in addition you may choose to have them train while idle to increase their level (making 'veteran' troops who have never seen battle). Each unit has some sort of special ability which sets it apart in terms of how and why to use it, making battle much more strategic than simply clicking to have your legion of good guys fight that throng of bad guys over there 'til one is completely annihilated.

    That's not to say the game doesn't have its problems, two of which relentlessly attacked me while I played. First is the time system. In-game a day passes every 10 minutes or so, and to prove it to you the sun sets and everything gets dark. This may be fun in a combat-oriented game, but when you're trying to manage food production it gets to be quite annoying for the lighting to go from murky dark to ultra-bright 6 times an hour. Of course, the lighting effects and shadows are beautiful, but still .... The second thing was the ambient sounds. It's a really nice touch to hear swords on shields when hovering over an arena, but once you do it seems very difficult to escape the clatter. Hopefully this 'sticky microphone' is just a kink in the beta and will be better in the completed version.

    Overall, the game reminds me greatly of older styled 'ancient citybuilding' games like Pharaoh from Sierra, but with a much better developed combat system that allows it to keep pace with more action-oriented RTSs.

    I hope to be able to do a full review of it (with multiplayer ) when it comes out next month. Until then, enjoy these screenshots:
    Spoiler!


    I'll reserve rating until the complete version is out, but every problem I had with it seemed like the kind of thing that would come from being unfinished, so prospects look good for this one.
    If anyone is looking to buy, sell, trade games and support a developer directly at the same time, consider joining Goozex. Enjoy!

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