Rise of Nations - Rise of Legends - PC review

Microsoft's Real Time Strategy is back for yet another outing, but can the popular RTS bring enough new elements to warrant the spend?

With long-term series like Civilization and Command and Conquer, strategy gamers have never had it so good.

The first Rise of Nations title combined the turn-based city management elements of Civilization, with the real time strategic fighting action of the Age of Empires titles with surprising success. The formula’s sold by the truck load.

Hence the strategic centres of Mansized’s brain fired up when this sequel homed into view.

The original Rise of Nations delighted us by splicing together both the real time and turned-based genre branches of strategy and ending up with the best of both.

The combination of both styles of gameplay – the micro management of the "hardcore" turn-based sim and the more action-based real time battles – means that all lovers of the strategy genre are well catered for.

The mish mash of gaming styles could so easily have been a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, a bit like when a football team appoints a "Director of Football" to hand hold a manager. But when each element is offered up in such delightful little morsels like here, it’s hard to not be impressed.

The interface itself remains fully intact from the first title and maintains its streamlined looks and ease of use. Nothing is ever more than two mouse clicks away, so it only requires a short amount of game time before you’re fully up to speed with the control system.

Therein lies the problem. Nothing’s really changed enough to warrant the full price tag. Although more of the same works for hardcore fans of the original, those with only a slight interest may feel a little put out when asked to splash out a hefty chunk of cash for what is essentially the same game, albeit with a few well placed tweaks.

The problems of the first game have stayed too. Like your computer starting to grind during hefty battles and the contrived story mode. There’s little fresh, new, or intriguing enough to drive you on.

Verdict

Moans aside, Rise of Legends remains a welcome fix for strategists. But for anyone with even the mildest of misgivings, you might want to wait till the price drops.

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