Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is the second installment of the Rise of Nations series, a real-time strategy game which was released back in 2003. With any sequel there comes the inevitable comparison to the first game, and luckily, with this release the developers have installed enough new features to entice old fans and new.
The latest version of Rise of Nations puts gamers at the helm of fantasy armies with the purpose of building cities or bases to produce an army large enough to defeat all opponents. While it sounds like the same formula as many other strategy games that have come before, there are subtle differences in Rise of Nations: Rise of Nations that keep gamers hooked.
For those unfamiliar with the Rise of Legends series, the game blends aspects of other strategy games like Command and Conquer, Warcraft, and Age of Empires to bring a mashed up world of technologies. There are three races you will use as you follow the three campaigns to victory, each one with their own unique buildings, characters and technologies.
The Vinci are the first race you will encounter who look to be inspired by technology Leonardo DaVinci had sketched and are powered by steam and metal. The second campaign puts you behind the reigns of a middle eastern inspired race who use magic through the use of fire, wind and glass to produce mystical creatures like dragons and genies. The last race users will get a hold of is the Cuotl, who seem to be a inspired by a lost Inca civilisation with armies of jaguars, sun idols and stone snakes.
The variety of these races kept us interested in the game until the very end, with users having to earn new technologies by completing quests. The game's variety of environments to compliment the different races, which include forests, deserts and cites based on cliffs, is also well executed.
If following a campaign from beginning to end is not your style, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends also includes a quick game mode as found in other strategy games, and also features multiplayer gaming over both the Internet or LAN. We found online gaming battles to be over much sooner than expected, with gamers throwing everything at opposition forces as soon as possible.
While we found the graphics to be rich and animations to be visually appealing, the sound and music in the game is really sub-standard. The voice-overs we found to be quite annoying, but luckily the game sound, music and voices can be turned off.
Controls for the game were quite intuitive for anyone who has played a real-time strategy game. Some of the more expert moves by armies will take some time to get used to and will be best executed via the keyboard shortcuts. For those who haven't played a strategy game before, the basics can be picked up easily.
Overall Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends brings a new mix of technologies, races and change in storyline to keep the game interesting, which we found differentiates it from many other strategy games on the market. The various modes and fun multiplayer gaming feature will make sure this game is on high rotation for a long time. This is a must have game for real-time strategy gamers.