Glory of the Roman Empire Preview
|Release Date:||June 16, 2006 (UK)|
|Writer:||Craig Dudley (Mani)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
City management games seem to be making a bit of a come back, City Life is imminent and Firefly's CivCity: Rome is due later this summer and sandwiched in between is Haemimont Games' Roman town governing sim Glory of the Roman Empire. It's been a while since I've played a strategy game like this and to be honest I had almost forgotten quite how addictive and time consuming this type of strategy game can be.
The basic premise of Glory of the Roman Empire is that you are an up and coming town governor in the Roman Empire. Starting with small provincial settlements, you must attend to the need of your growing town and its citizens. You'll need plenty of building materials of course, wood and clay to begin with, stone and marble later. Slaves also play a pivotal role in the game just as they did in the real Roman empire, they will handle all the transportation of goods in your town and as your settlement grows so will their work-load. If you're not careful and overwork them for too long, they will riot. Of course purchasing more slaves is the only long term option, but slaves cost money, gold in this case which you'll either have to earn through trade or mine if you're lucky enough to have a deposit.
Other than building materials and slaves, the prestige of your citizens houses is also vital, certain building or constructions in the vicinity of a house may cause it to become so prestigious that it reaches the next level. Occupants of such prestigious house are also more productive creating more goods for your burgeoning ecomony which can be used by other buildings or traded, either for goods which are in tight supply or gold. You'll definitely have to keep a good balance of most types of goods in order achieve your goals. The way things work in groups of inter dependant buildings does remind me of the early Settlers games a little and that's no bad thing at all.
All the buildings in the game are categorised into sensible groups, constructing them is as simple as right clicking the mouse, selecting the group and then choosing the required building from the options that slid out in circles around your mouse. Finally placing your building and waiting for the slaves to deliver its construction materials is about as difficult as it get's. You rarely have to move your mouse great distances and frankly it's a joy to use, it's neat, clean and simple but provides all the options required. Having such a good interface is very important in a strategy game, you don't want to be wasting time thinking about which button or option does what, you need to be considering the effect of your next group of buildings or how to stop the slaves from rioting while keeping the rate of construction up.
Graphically, Glory of the Roman Empire is pretty good. Effective without being ground breaking is fair, which again is absolutely fine for this type of game, it already runs very smoothly too, even at 1680 x 1050 on my mid range PC. The lighting during different daylight hours and the night are also quite impressive, we're treated to some decent weather effects, this is all obviously subject to improvement over the next month so I won't dwell on it too much.
Yet to be seen however, there is a military part to the game. I can't really comment on this as the build I've played doesn't contain it at all. However, If it's as easy to play as the rest of the game then we are in for a treat.
Glory of the Roman Empire is very well made game with an extremely slick and very user friendly interface, there's plenty going on even if most of it isn't all that action oriented. However, I can't wait to get access to amphitheatre's and some of the other larger buildings in the final game and see what effect they have and what form military action might take. Glory of the Roman Empire has most certainly added itself to my future play list, it seems to be one of those games that can keep you entertained for hours without stressing you out in anyway. I'm really looking forward to playing the finished game and will definitely recommend fans on strategy games give the demo a try when it arrives.
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