In many ways, Walls of Rome is similar to a previous Mindcraft game Siege but more importantly the focus should be on the many important improvements the developers have incorporated in this title. Up to four Barracks are now available to the attacker to place on his battlefield from which to deploy troops and launch strikes and each contains a hospital for recovering troops. A super addition is the capability to construct Siege Towers in any open place on the battlefield and then being able to use it as a shield for troops pushing it up against the castle. Another innovation is the ability to build defensive ramparts to protect troops who otherwise are exposed on the battlefield. Undermining castle walls by digging tunnels beneath them until they collapse is yet another tool for the attacker. Not only has Mindcraft added those new features but they've tightened up much of the infrastructure in the game as well. The three zoom levels seen in previous games are still intact and the detailed viewpoint is more alluring than before. In another break from traditional war games, victory points are not awarded for the capture of a city but are linked to strategically important regions within the castle or fortress walls. Because of this ploy, battles have a tendency to become more intense and really involve the player. Game play is at unit level and you can choose to be either attacker or defender with a further option to conduct a single battle or a full campaign that links several battles together.
The interface is smooth and the graphics are good. Animation at the zoomed in level is interesting and cute. Engineers play a very important part in Walls of Rome just as they did in Siege. They've simply got more to do this time around. Of particular note is the new and improved level of "smarts" with which the computer AI has been infused. The computer controlled opponents are not the same easy pushovers as in past games and show a healthy increase in aggressive play and logic. Control of the individual units is the real core of the game. Whether attacking or defending, you have an impressive array of possible tactics to go along with the great arsenal of siege-type weapons available. The maintenance of troops has been somewhat de-emphasized in Walls of Rome but far from having a negative impact it actually offers more opportunity to focus on the strategic and tactical aspects of your plan. Beyond the improved game play, Walls of Romecontains a great tool to help keep it fresh, namely the scenario editor which is made up of several components each dealing with different aspects of the game. Count on a big time investment if you use it but realize, too, that the rewards are worth it. Walls of Rome definitely is a step up the development ladder for the designers and it's heartening to realize that consumer feedback does make a difference.
Graphics: Much improved over Siege, easier to see individual units.
Sound: Nothing special.
Enjoyment: A good mix of scenarios (actually too few) and a helpful tutorial make playing Walls of Rome a positive experience.
Replay Value: With the scenario editor the potential is great.
Walls Of Rome is a strategy title that involves real-time combat between the Roman Empire and their enemies, the Carthaginians and the Celts. The game can be played as either single battles, or as a string of related battles in a campaign. Units and locations are historical, with the foot soldiers, and artillery of the times. The game can be paused at any time to give orders, and time flow can be adjusted. The game has a built in editor, in which you can edit either the battle forces, or the map the battle will be played on, allowing for extended replay value.
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