If you happened to catch our preview
of this one, you probably already know what Rise of Nations is slated to be one of this years’ biggest and best RTS games. Boasting 18 nations for players to choose from, over 50 different technologies for them to research, and an end to home base micromanagement, Microsoft’s Rise of Nations is even more impressive and ambitious now than it was a mere two months ago.
The game takes its players on an Age of Empires type journey through the evolution of society by starting them out in the early ages of humanity, allowing them to develop their civilizations into modern day superpowers. Any given game of RoN has its players building multiple cities and expanding their nation’s borders. The player can go straight to military conflict if they so choose or they can build up a massive economy and control all the resources on the map to choke their enemy’s civilization into submission without firing a shot. There are two primary ways to win engagements in RoN; Control 70% of the map, or capture your enemies’ capital city.
The single player experience consists of instant battles in which players can hone their skills in custom scenarios, a tutorial campaign that teaches virtually everything the player needs to know about the game in a hands-on environment, and the Conquer the World campaign. The Conquer the World campaign is by far the most interesting way to play the game. The first thing the player does is choose a nation, after that they are then presented with the world map, which resembles that of the classic board game, Risk. From there, the player can then choose which nation/territory they wish to attack. To help players decide which countries are viable targets, when players move their cursors over them they are supplied with a basic threat assessment of the nation and what abilities/spoils it has. When the player finally decides where they want to go, they then begin the engagement. The battles vary in objective and scope. When invading unclaimed territories the player will likely not face an organized army, but likely a revolt by the locals. In this case the player must defend themselves for a set amount of time as waves of rebels assault the player’s cities. On the other hand, when attacking a sovereign nation, the player will be pitted against forces at least as strong as their own, and will have to invade the enemy cities to conquer the nation. As the game progresses, other nations will attack each other and hostile superpowers will form that rival the player’s own forces. This makes it critical that the player thoroughly thinks through who they attack and when. If they’re lucky enough, and have what it takes to hold their own while conquering others, the player will soon see themselves as literally the king of the world!