Rise of Prussia review
There was a time when the PC strategy genre was an exploit that owed more to tabletop games than it did any other gaming genre. The genre certainly had its hardcore and loving fanbase, but it was always associated with that very specific niche as it barely broke ground with the casuals. Then came Warcraft, StarCraft, Command & Conquer, and a host of other strategy titles that pulled it out of the niche and propelled the series into mainstream popularity. The genre took on more action elements, offered more intelligent AI that didn’t require a lot of micromanagement, and added beautifully rendered battle scenes.
However, to this day you’ll still find games that are released as a means of satisfying that core niche of strategy gamers, those who balk at the modern advancements made to the genre and instead want their experience light on looks and heavy on menus and unit management. Rise of Prussia is one such game.
As if you couldn't figure it out from the title, Rise of Prussia follows Prussia and its history within the Seven Years’ War, which saw the nation taking on Austria and its allies in the middle of the 18th century. If you aren’t terribly familiar with this period of European history, fret not, because the game will give you text rundowns of the events and battles taking place, giving you context to the game and the skirmishes that unfold. You’ll take control of units on either side of the fight, guiding them through the battlefield and working through a variety of historically accurate scenarios.
The game as with most of AGEOD’s sim-heavy strategy titles, Rise of Prussia is an extremely complex endeavor. The game puts all manner of unit management responsibilities at your disposal, requiring you to micromanage your units with care or else you’ll find yourself on the losing end of the skirmish. Unfortunately, the interface is intimidating, one of the many factors making this a game that caters only for the hardcore. Additionally, it’s seldomly consistent, as your advanced commands will be easily accessible, while others will require you to do some searching in order to pull them off.
Rise of Prussia’s daunting interface aside, the meat of the game isn’t that entertaining. The micromanagement element is omnipresent, requiring you to wade through menu after menu to control every single element of your attacks or defenses. A lot gets lost in the shuffle, leading to many losses due to your units not acting intuitively or intelligently.
Graphically, the Rise of Prussia is what you’d expect from the turn-based grand strategy genre; in other words, StarCraft II this is not. The presentation is extremely bare-bones, with bland maps and non-animated units on the field and a general lack of visual charm. The music sounds similar to centuries-old military marches, which might set the mood for some players and turn off others.
If you’re the type of strategy fan who pines for the old days of little to no presentation, intense micromanagement, and has an insatiable curiosity for the Prussian Empire, then Rise of Prussia is definitely something you might want to check out. Everyone else can keep on walking.