Empires: Dawn of the Modern World
Real-time strategy game Empire Earth and its expansion were quite a coup for Stainless Steel Studios, but its next game takes a slightly different approach. Instead of beginning with sticks and stones and advancing to lasers and hovertanks, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World will feature a more compressed time frameâ€”from the Medieval age through World War II. So while you donâ€™t get the Spear and Loincloth Age, you do get the bits most gamers probably want anyhow, the eras from crossbows to chlorine gas, and from horse cavalry to heavy tanks.
Lead designer Jon Alenson hopes the developersâ€™ attention to detail, unit balancing, and especially â€œthe fun factorâ€ will make the difference. â€œAlthough itâ€™s true to history, itâ€™s not necessarily for the hard-core historian,â€ says Alenson. â€œWeâ€™re picking stuff thatâ€™s accurate, but also fun and interesting.â€ Most units have a special ability or power specific to them. Civilization-specific abilities, like Bondsmen (citizens you kill reappear in your town centers), Deception (causes battlefield confusion), and Confucian Ideas (makes other civilizationâ€™s units easier to convert) add the texture that makes each one unique. German mortar units, for instance, can lob poison gas, while the English get Battlefield Surgeons that can literally raise the deadâ€”yours or your enemyâ€™s.
The gameâ€™s 3D art is getting a lot of attention, especially since youâ€™ll be able to zoom in extremely close to see all the gory details of the havoc that exploding Fire Oxen and Boiling Oil Men can wreak. You can see footprints and tank tracks on the terrain as your armies pass over, and flotsam and jetsam as your naval units explode. Some civilizations can even clear entire clumps of forest or replant them to form a new barrier.
The maps cover a full spectrum of European and Asian terrains, with plenty of water. â€œWe found that players really like large island maps,â€ says Alenson, â€œso we are making sure thereâ€™ll be a lot of those.â€ They also canâ€™t go wrong with diseased-cow-tossing, and traps of exploding impaling spikes for an experience thatâ€™s as much about spectacle as about strategy.
System Requirements: Pentium III 1.5 Ghz, 512 MB RAM, WinXP
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