Rise Of Nations 2: Rise of Legends
- Guide a young inventor's struggle to unravel his world's ancient past and unite its people against an unimaginable threat
- A clash between magic and technology seems inevitable -- but the players will soon uncover a grave threat to them both
- Platform: Windows XP
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends continues the innovative gameplay tradition. Journey to the land of Aio, a world embroiled in an epic battle between the forces of Magic and Technology. Fight through towering cities, flame-swept deserts and brutal ice plains in battles filled with mystic creatures, impossible machines, and stunning acts of magic. Guide a young inventor's struggle to unravel his world's ancient past and unite its people against an unimaginable threat.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This one rocks. The AI is leagues above almost anything else I've seen -- I never end up with units just wandering aimlessly in a corner because it couldn't path around a tree.
The visuals are amazing -- my base down in a valley gets obscured by mist when I go up a hill to move troops. The detail in the units and buildings is AMAZING. I've not seen anything come close in another real time strategy.
The diversity of units is great as well - I get a sense of three distinct cultures and approaches, but it still feels well-balanced between the sides. I also appreciate that in the campaign, there are necessary solutions beyond the usual "build a big army and throw it at them" strategy most other games employ.
The UI was easy to learn - perhaps again because I never played the original Rise of Nations?
I don't know how this compares to the very acclaimed Empire Earth and Total War series, but this is definitely in-line with the great games like Warcraft/Starcraft, Age of 'x' series and Command and Conquer.
I needed a diversion from my WoW gaming, and this is it. My poor guildmates might miss me.
What's been said about the campaign is mostly true - it's neither polished nor very appealing. To be sure, there are some good strong characters, but they are not fleshed out very well, and the story feels overall quite by-the-books and predictable.
Not so the world behind the game, though. It takes a lot for an RTS setting to come alive, which has put me off from them somewhat. But Rise of Legends rises to the challenge, with three very distinct cultures, each of which has a well-developed internal realism. The steam and clockwork of the Vinci feels worlds apart from the more traditional eastern-based magic of the Alin, and the strange Mayan-style of the Cuotl is rarely portrayed in recent video games. Along with these are excellent game mechanics, oriented for those who prefer combat to endless nation-building and running after resources. National borders appear as colored lines on the minimap, soldiers take attrition damage when traveling through hostile territory, and the capitol city is one's prime target. Added to this, the units are quite diverse and complex; even basic soldiers have multiple combat styles/abilities, and the many heroes available are powerful and help your nation in various ways. Each culture can obtain a master unit, which is an alternate way of achieving victory - save enough for a master unit, then, if you use it wisely, your game is won. This is often more enjoyable than simply sending hordes of lesser warriors into enemy territory. It takes some time to master these details, but the game's AI choices are varied and quite well-balanced, so you won't be crushed time and again as a beginner, nor wind up trouncing the hardest settings easily.
Graphics are quite stunning, as well. The game camera changes elevation based on terrain, and very realistic atmosphere responds to this. Flora is beautifully detailed, and some of the more exotic maps especially are incrediblly well rendered. Those with a computer powerful enough for maximum settings are in for a real treat. I mostly make do with medium-low settings on my laptop, which is in need of RAM. While the minimum requirements list 256MB, my 384MB doesn't cut it; this game needs about 1GB to really do it justice. Also, a 256MB video card is required for a couple of the highest-end effects. Fortunately and finally, each graphics setting provides detailed information as to what part of your system it will affect, making fine-tuning astronomically easier.
Rise of Legends will probably never be as popular as, say, Company of Heroes, for the sometimes strange fantasy world will not appeal to all. As well, the campaign leaves much to be desired. But if you, like me, buy an RTS much more for the skirmishes than the campaign, you'd have to try hard not to like it. Quick, intense games, good strategic combat, and probably the prettiest RTS world to date, combined with all the originality this title commands, it's well worth trying. You might well be inspired, yourself.
When I heard that the same company that created such a fantastic game were creating another title that was hyped as the next step up from Rise of Nations, I was ecstatic. I waited for a year, visiting the official website religiously for screenshots and gaming articles. I purchased the game a few days ago and can sum it up in one word: uninspired.
I'll leave discussions of graphics and sound to other players, but the gameplay is somewhat tepid. Instead of Rise of Nations many different resources, RoL has narrowed the resource count to two, making me wonder whether I was playing a game from 2006, or whether I'd warped back in time to my old Starcraft days. Instead of being able to place fortresses and cities to expand my national borders, I am forced to capture neutral cities at predetermined locations. Instead of an engaging Conquer the World game where I could march numerous armies across the globe, crushing enemies, forging alliances, and betraying old friends, I found a lukewarm single-player campaign with undeniably limited replay value.
The single player campaign decidedly lacks imagination. Whereas in Rise of Nations, if you controlled a very large empire, you could enter a new battle with a decent lead on a smaller opponent, in Rise of Legends, you might enter a battle with the ability to place an oasis on the map. Cut scenes have stilted and lackluster dialogue like "An enemy is near. If an enemy stands in our way, we must eliminate them." C'mon. Is that really all the motivation the people at Big Huge Games can muster for our heroes to march our forces into a country?
As if the cut scenes weren't bad enough in terms of dialogue, the "plot" of the single player campaign is riddled with plot-holes making what might otherwise be a semi-engaging story seem more like an excuse to simply engage in a series of standard Quick-battle games.
(*Spoiler*) For instance, after you march your army (you only seem to get one, even though in RoN you could have a dozen armies) to Venucci to kill the Doge and his Doomcannon, he escapes with the Doomcannon. The Doomcannon is roughly the size of a Capital City, but somehow, despite that it must traverse overland, you are unable to catch up to it in pirata airships.
In each campaign battle, your heroes are given a few main quests to finish, like "Capture the Enemy City" or "Kill the enemy hero." Apart from these tired main quests, there are a few bonus quests that you might stumble across while completing the main quest. While that sounds interesting, they quickly lose their appeal when you realize that frequently, there are absolutely no rewards for completing the bonus quests. In fact, in some instances, completing bonus quests will actually hurt you in terms of overall productivity by wasting men and resources on something that gets you absolutely no closer to completing the main quest that will end the quick battle.
It's hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm for this game after having played it. While still a mildly entertaining game, it brings nothing particularly new to the genre apart from some of the race concepts themselves. Even the 'dominance' system in the game seems suspiciously like a copy of the 'Crowns' system from Empire Earth II. The concepts for the game are good, but I'm fully at a loss to explain why Big Huge Games threw away many of the details that made Rise of Nations such a fantastic game and put this out on the market instead.