I am a fan of strategy games, I am also a big fan of building games, and when ‘Imperium“Attention to detail is great”Romanum’ landed on my doorstep I was more than happy to fire it up and spend the next few days of my life recreating one of the most infamous empires of all time.
There are three ways to play the game, Scenarios, Rome and Timeline. Scenarios is where I started, just to get an idea of the gameplay, and in all honesty, it’s really not that hard to grasp. It’s intuitive and the little help icons that pop up and flash for your attention will tell you everything you need to know. In Scenario mode you’ll also find difficulty levels, which will affect the kind of support you have from the empire and what kind of threat the terrain has to offer.
Rome puts you in charge of the famous capitol and it’s here that you have set objectives to achieve which will allow you to progress through the game.
Timeline is by far the most rewarding and most interesting of the game modes. Here you have set objectives to complete too, but I particularly enjoyed this because you are able to play historically correct events. The game even gives you historical facts while you’re playing.
The graphics are very very good, the visuals are extremely impressive, and the camera angles are great. You’re able to move on all axis, up and down, left and right. It’s so good that you can even wander the streets of your city in an almost perfect first person view! The game also progresses through night and day, and it is by far one of the most natural progressions that I have seen on any game. My only comment is the direction of the shadows, they never seem to change.
Attention to detail is great too, and with the right graphics card, you’ll be wowed as to how stunning the game does actually look. It doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate the game with a lower spec card though. You can, but it’s like watching HD TV and then going back to analogue.
It is important to remember that this is not a war game, it’s a game that is based on the rise of the Roman Empire and it’s contribution to architecture and socialism. Hence you won’t find full-scale wars or battles; you won’t be training millions of soldiers. Instead you’ll be concentrating on building a successful city in which citizens are happy to roam, you’ll be required to provide your population with work and make sure there are enough resources and goods for the city. If there aren’t, you’ll have to start trade routes and try to compensate for what you don’t have. You’ll need to make sure your slaves are happy. If you not then you’ll have to deal with riots and unhappy citizens who have a tendency to go a little bit pyromaniac.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t have to go to war. You will, but it’ll be more in the“It is important to remember that this is not a war game”interest of self-defence. You have three military units that are trained in their own relevant schools: Archers, Cavalry and Infantry. Combat is easy enough, you just point and click. You are limited to how many units you can have though and you can’t train anymore until your troops come back, or all are lost in battle. This can be extremely frustrating, and the options for strategic battle weren’t great, but like I said, this is not a game of war, but a game of building and humanity, hence your troops’ moral plays a huge part in the outcome of the battles.
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Because of this I think, there is no multiplayer. There wouldn’t be any content for a multiplayer mode, and to be honest, why take on someone else when you’re trying to outdo yourself? The game is big enough to keep you entertained and amused without having to include another human into it.
This game is a great strategy title for those of us that are happy to build and build, and it rewards players that are interested in empire building. Don’t go out and buy this title if all you want to do is recreate the wars of the Roman Empire, you won’t find that here. Instead you’ll find a game that is educational and fun, and teaches you a little bit about the Empire and why it was so successful.