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Grand Ages: Rome - PC - Review

Strategy games allow players to occupy a position of power that they will normally never get a chance to try in real life. There are a lot of genres that allows this feeling, but few really put the emphasis of building a live, breathing city. Grand Ages: Rome advertises itself as a 4X strategy game, but it really fits more in line with a city-building genre. This means that players really have to focus their attention on the needs of the citizens in order to truly progress deeper in the game. It is time for players to put their thinking caps on and pay attention to the people ... if they wish to succeed.

In Grand Ages: Rome, players will have the option to choose between several noble houses, which give various bonuses. Players will then be thrust upon the world and be tasked with building a functional city that balances the needs of the people, as well as placing the correct buildings close to each other. Just as in real life, the citizens will want their places of employment somewhat close to the locations of work. What is important is making sure the flow of resources is logical. If players just haphazardly place buildings around the map, it will interrupt the flow of resources and cause major headaches later on in the game.

In order to keep the citizens of your empire happy, players will have to provide more than just employment opportunities. They will also have to provide adequate housing, entertainment, religious centers, as well as a place to maintain personal hygiene. If players neglect any one of these areas there will be serious consequences down the road. For instance, the lack of fountains and baths means that players are dooming themselves to get a plaque, which will threaten to wipe out their entire civilization. In the long run it is better to pay a little extra money up front for facilities like this or run the risk of losing nearly all your loyal subjects.

One area of the game that the developers did a great job on is the HUD system. This HUD allows players to get a good look at everything in the game without distracting too much. Players can get a look at what is going on at any given time without being bogged down with looking at in-depth (and mind boggling) graphics and charts. This allows players to make instant corrections and keep the pace of the game flowing. This is also enhanced through the build menus. In order to build anything players can right click anywhere in the game and the circular building menu pops up and allows players to build anything they want (if they have the necessary requirements). Having the simplified HUD and building menu really places the emphasis on looking that at the game, instead of looking at charts, graphics, and a long list of buildings to place. The action is kept on the game, which makes it very smooth to play.

One of the only real problems with this game is the simplified combat engine. Players only have access to a few basic unit types and no real tactical maneuvers to use. The only real way to defeat any enemy is to have more troops than the enemy. This is a shame because this game has a lot of depth in other areas, but is lacking in this one specific portion.

The graphics for Grand Ages: Rome are really good. The level of detail in the character models, buildings, and the landscape are superb. Players can zoom in and view each individual citizen doing their jobs or zoom out to view everything all at once. This is made even better by the animations for each of the character and seeing them go about their activities, as the animations are unique for each job and look very life-like. Players will also love the sheer size of the maps. The landscape is huge and has plenty of things to keep players occupied. Also having a real day and night cycle (as well as weather effects) makes this game seem even more realistic.

The sound for this game is decent but doesn't stand out. The ambient sounds for the entire game are spot on; the only bad thing is that they are very generic sounding in comparison to other games currently out. The voice actors do a lot to try to capture how their respective character will sound, and it works pretty well. This is also in part due to the great dialog that has been written. The music suits this game really well, and transitions nicely when it goes from peaceful times to the impending battles.

Grand Ages: Rome is rated Teen for suggestive and mild violence.

Review Scoring Details for Grand Ages: Rome

Gameplay 6.1 
This is a very predictable game, other than the cool circular building menu; Grand Ages: Rome offers the exact same thing that can be found in better city-building games.

Graphics: 8.3 
The graphics found in this game are pretty good. Players will love zooming in on the street view to see what is going on.

Sound: 7.0 
The ambient sounds help flesh out the game some, but overall it has a "been there heard that" feeling to it. The voice work and the music fit well with the timeframe of the game.

Difficulty: Easy 
If player have ever played any city-building game in the past, they will feel right at home here as nothing much has changed.

Concept: 6.0
The best part about this game is the circular building menu. It keeps the interface clean and crisp and allows more space for the actual gameplay. Other than this the game stays real close to the city-building staples and doesn't try hard to break out of them.

Multiplayer 7.1 
There are several online modes that players can partake in that will keep them busy for some time. The only problem is the service appears to be a bit laggy and not very stable in comparison to other games.

Overall: 6.7
Grand Ages: Rome is a decent game that doesn't try very hard to break out of the city-building mold. Instead it fits comfortably in the age old staples of the genre. The only good thing about this is the developers laid a good foundation for them to work with on the inevitable sequel, which will hopefully come up with something new and really make this game break out.

Above Average

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