This game scratches an itch that has needed scratching for a long time.
RoL is a fascinating game, mostly because of its settings and factions. There are three factions: a medieval steampunk faction called the Vinci, an Arabian-themed magical army straight out of "A Thousand and One Nights" called the Alin, and a Sci-fi themed alien/futuristic technology race called the Cuotl.
The game differs from traditional RTS games in that you have set nodes where you can build your cities, and you build districts around those nodes. As the Vinci, you'll be treated to intricate pipe- and gearworks, complete with miniature workers climbing over them. As the Alin, you'll see Middle-Eastern looking buildings atop floating rock foundations. As the Cuotl, you'll build strange-looking turrets and pyramids that can only be described as looking extraterrestrial. Personally, I never really got into the Cuotl as much as the Alin and Vinci, but they're still very cool.
The game's economy is simple: you gather Gold and Timonium, through flying caravans and mines, respectively. This system is very simple and effective. Resource gathering is fun in this way, and it doesn't get in the way of the war-making part of the game.
The biggest plus of this game is its integration of RPG mechanics into a fundamentally RTS game. In the campaign mode or in the skirmish mode, to achieve victory you'll need to build and upgrade your units, but you'll also need to upgrade your heros. These heroes are the key to victory. Their abilities make them more valuable than any of your units alone, and many possess abilities to empower your troops to victory. .
The story follows a young, likeable Vinci inventor named Giacomo as he avenges his brother's death at the hands of another Vinci character, the evil Doge of Miana. In his quest, Giacomo tours beautiful mountain landscapes based on Medieval Italy, a wasteland of sand infected by Dark Glass, and the jungle homeland of the Cuotl. The campaign is interspersed with excellent cutscenes that explain the story. The campaign is well paced and fun, and some missions (such as the prison break one) have true replay value.
The game has immense depth. There are nearly 50 skirmish maps, and they each feature something unique, be it novel neutral forces like giant bats or axe-wielding barbarians, or a "Moon Cannon" in the center of the map that heightens the battle, or any number of other items. I literally spent over 100 hours playing this game, and I still revisit the game from time to time, even years past when I got it.
If you really love steampunk or are enthralled by the imagery of "A Thousand and One Nights," this game is for you.
If you aren't sure, you can see the cutscenes on Youtube, or download the demo. I don't know if I'm allowed to provide links in review, and I don't want to risk this review being pulled. Sorry, guys.
I personally LOVED this game, and I hope video game makers make more like this, or maybe Microsoft will make a sequel. I know it has been like 7 years, but one can hope. Give this game a chance, you'll love it!