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Glory of the Roman Empire Review
publisher: CDV Software Entertainment
PIV 2400, 512MB RAM, 700MB HDD, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Jul 03, 06 (released)
|» All About Glory of the Roman Empire on ActionTrip|
CDV recently sent us a review copy of the Glory of the Roman Empire, their latest Rome-flavored SimCity-like title to be published by Dreamcatcher across the Atlantic.
Scenic Italian countryside.
And the lovely Italian women who are... blonde?!
The game is not due out for another 10 days or so in the states, and seeing how we got our review copy a while ago, this gave us ample opportunity to test this one out. Before I move on, I'd like to point out that our very own Associate Editor Ure "Vader" Paul has written a fairly extensive hands-on preview of the game. The article offers enough details about the game's background and basic gameplay features.
For those of you who are too damn lazy to click on the link, I can sum this one up for ya in one sentence: Glory of the Roman Empire is a very classical management sim where players are given tasks to complete in each of the missions of the main campaign. As your position and influence in the Roman Empire grows, so do your responsibilities and the nature of the challenges put before you. Throughout its history, the Roman Empire had to battle foes ranging from poorly equipped and uncivilized barbarian tribes, to mighty and well-organized armies in order to exert its dominance in the known world. Glory of the Roman Empire gives you the chance to sort of discover how these ancient cities functioned, as well as teach you a few things about urban planning in general. If you decide to run for mayor one day, this might actually come in very handy during staff briefings.
On the surface, Glory of the Roman Empire looks straightforward. Each of the essential buildings in the game has its range radius and each of the citizens has specific needs. By building taverns, the player is able to listen in on the gossip and discover what type of resources are needed in the town and what people crave the most in terms of goods. In the later stages, the game reveals its full potential - with numerous building resource requirements, terrain difficulties (proximity of your settlement to a water source or an aqueduct), trade-related issues, and religious and civil aspects of governing coming into play. As your settlement grows, more specific resources are needed to build some of the advanced structures. Furthermore, some of the structures like the Arch of Triumph have population requirements. So to build two Arches of Triumph, you will need a population of 100 citizens. Having too many citizens will offset the delicate balance of slave exploitation, as you will need to have roughly the same number of slaves and citizens in your settlement. Even if you do manage to grow your population by keeping them healthy, an increase in the population will create a need for a more rapid expansion of the city. This will put further strain on the slaves, however, and you will be required to deal often with slave rebellions (Give them all a taste of the lash! Problem solved -Ed). This is where the prefectures and the militia come into play, as well as your ability to create aesthetically appealing, posh neighborhoods and of course, to erect as many glorious temples as possible.
Calamities like fires, the plague and raids by the enemy are another problem you will have to deal with. Generally speaking, all the major facets of the gameplay are tied together. The player is required to make executive decisions, having to indirectly shape the settlement, rather than selecting citizens individually and telling them what to do. This makes the game fairly hard in the later stages, and forces the player to plan ahead.
Visually, the game doesn't disappoint. The intricate detail in the city architecture and the abundance of life and activity on the city streets creates a very believable illusion of a bustling Roman settlement. The real-time day and night cycles as well as the weather effects further add to the immersion factor. The sound effects and the musical score are good, so there's really not much to complain about in regards to the game's video and audio segments.
In order to catch fish, you have to have a fishing net.
This looks like a good spot to build. Though you can't level terrain.
My main gripe with the Glory of the Roman Empire, however, is that, while everything seems to be working well and there are certainly a lot of things for management sim fans to busy themselves with, the game simply isn't all that fun after a while. Larger-than-life calamities, more focus on the carnage and conquest, just some elements to make the game more fun to play are sadly missing from this one. I spent hours and hours building my settlement and solving the tasks put before me, but I never felt this was incentive enough to keep on playing. Of course, I am being highly subjective here, but that's part of the reason why you are reading this review.
So while the game's atmosphere, its intuitive interface and visual splendor are very commendable, it simply seems to lack more direction in terms of design. It's like the developers had all the tools, but lacked more imagination. Again, I could be way off the mark here, so take my opinion for what it's worth. Technically, I am not able to find any major flaws, but technical reasons are hardly the most important factor when determining whether one likes a game or not.
Bustling atmosphere of a Roman settlement, interface, visuals and soundtrack, plenty to do in terms of city management;
Technically, it's all there, but it's just not fun enough, or stimulating in that sense.
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