In Rise of Legends, you play through strategy fights in a world full of robots, magic and guns. It's an odd mix of Renaissance Europe with mech warriors.
There are three campaigns you can play through. First comes the Vinci. Are we surprised that, with all the Da Vinci Code hype that is going on, that we get a Vinci campaign immediately? I'm surprised that they didn't say things like "Unlock the CODE of your Da Vinci hero ..." :) Your brother has been slain by an evil enemy, so you and your armies are marching across the lands in order to seek revenge.
The other two campaigns are involving the Alin - rather middle-easterny - and the Cuotl - who fall more into the Aztec / Maya realm. Each land has its own terrain types and units.
The graphics are really quite good. You have detailed trees, tufts of grass, shadows under your floating blimps, turning gears and glowing crystals. The sound is reasonably good, with an epic-like quality to it at times, but it never overwhelms the gameplay.
I realize that most strategy games give you two or three main character types to work with - the GDI and NOD, the Orcs and Humans, and so on. Still, for some reason it felt like there were "too few" sets here. Maybe it's because when I'm playing in "real world" based games I usually get the choice of several nationalities. I really wanted there to be more options to work with.
I think part of it could be because Rise of Nations was huge and gave you a lot of variety - but this "sequel" now limited it greatly. It would be like Risk coming out with Risk II - but now saying "you only play on Australia and you can only be laser-shooting Aztec troops".
Still, the game is a lot of fun to play. If you're into strategy games, it's well worth giving a try.
This review was written in May 2006
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