The ancient world is at war. It has fallen to you, in the
role of Rome, Greece, Egypt or Persia to bring peace through
combat. Taking the role of one of eight heroes, you lead your
armies against your enemies to determine which civilisations
will rise or fall...
and Fall: Civilizations at War proves without a doubt
that the Real Time Strategy (RTS) genre is one of the types
of game that you really need a PC for, which is why they are
lacking, in any significant amounts on consoles. Installation
worked flawlessly, thank goodness, although it did reboot
the computer afterwards, this may be a normal part of its
instillation, but without a warning this comes as a worrying
into the game there is a myriad of settings for you to play
with regarding graphic settings. The game looks pretty good
on the default settings but it you have a high end machine
you can turn on all of the available textures and effects
to make it little short of stunning. Audio options are included
and if you have your PC hooked up to a good 5.1 system, you'll
be able to get the best out of your equipment. The settings
also allow you to customise mouse, game play and network choices.
There was a big button which said "UPDATE", so of
course as a bloke, and with no idea of what it did, I pushed
it. Not really sure what it was supposed to do, but on my
computer it just froze the whole system.
of the things you have to understand is that review games
rarely come with a manual or as a completed game, therefore
it's a bit of a hit and miss affair to get some games running.
In the case of Rise and Fall most of the interface
was very intuitive. Once into the game you get a choice of
playing against the computer or engaging in various campaigns
and scenarios. The best two options are most probably the
skirmish mode and multiplayer.
overall downer with the game is the lack of enough progress
bars. This might seem like a small thing but without one how
are you ever going to work out that, although the music keeps
playing, your computer has hung again, which of course is
the first thing it does when you pick a game - reminds me
why I bought an Xbox. So, we indulge in another reboot of
the computer and a further attempt to turn everything that
I can find off to see if it will like that better.
you're into the game the set-up will be familiar to anyone
who has played a RTS before. From your central post you can
build granaries, barracks, housing and the normal things that
you will need to cause death and destruction. The interface
is simple to use, so that even if this is your first RTS,
you're not going to have any trouble getting up and running.
Like any empire what you really want are men, so that you
can go and kill your neighbours. Initially, you can have archers,
infantry, spearmen and ladder troops, but as the game progresses
this goes up to an impressive eighty units, including boats
and siege towers. My first attempt at world domination did
not go too well and it was back to the drawing board. But,
therein lies the addictiveness of this game; although I personally
balk at having to train up men, when what I really want is
a ten thousand strong army, I still found myself clicking
away trying to match my opponent.
you progress through the game you get bigger and better toys
to play with, one of the most important being your hero, who
under the player's control can do a lot of damage and turn
the tide of war. Your hero is vital to your success. As he
kills he gains more points and you gain access to the better
weapons and units. The different units, which you train and
buildings that you raise, will have a tactical impact on your
game. For instance a large party of archers will finish off
a ship in short order but are pants against cavalry and swordsmen.
The game has some very nice elements. Animation is excellent
and the ability to zoom from either a large overview of your
army to straight into the one-on-one action was impressive
and vital if you're using your hero - though I doubt, given
the rather hit and miss option of trying out keys to see which
did what, made the best use of this feature. You get a third
person perspective which is fine zooming around the battlefield
until you're behind a palm tree and can't see a thing.
is the norm for RTS's, you spend a lot of time building up
your resources in order to fight your given foe. Sometimes
this can be a real bore, better to have the option to assign
a lieutenant to go off and do that sort of thing. I'm pretty
sure Cleopatra or Alexander didn't spend their whole time
chopping wood and bedding down troops. Actually now I think
of Cleopatra... well that's another story.
the various campaigns and the online option you should get
many hours of happy game play out of this game. So, a good
game that gives a much needed shot in the arm to the RTS genre
- though you need to ignore the historical inaccuracies.
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