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Glory of the Roman Empire

June 30th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Even though the score translates as average, so far, I’m the big, bad Hun when it comes to evaluating Haemimont/CDV’s Glory of the Roman Empire. I found it much too easy to be interesting, and too boring to be worth playing for longer than I had to. CDV says that it is targeting casual gamers with Glory, but I think their idea of casual gaming is quite a bit different from mine.

My wife calls historical city builders “ant farm games” and there is a lot to this. You want to see your citizens changing the landscape, go about their business and live almost – but not quite – independent from you. Glory tries to make a lot of this easier on you by not letting buildings degrade in status – only upward mobility – but also requiring you to scatter your city with altars, statues and temples which only push the real estate further up the chain. So you end up with a fishing oriented suburb full of villas. Which means that they will demand a bath. In short, your entire city ends up looking just like what Hollywood in the 50s thought Rome was all about; marble buildings as far as the eye can see.

My review makes a lot of how easy the game is, even in its supposed difficult settings, and there is nothing wrong with easy. For some gamers the entire point of city builders is the sandbox. Start with abundant money and resources and build the city of your dreams. But when the entire game is like that, it loses a lot of the purpose of city builders – to plan ahead, to measure your pace, to keep supply and demand in balance. Glory of the Roman Empire is all forward momentum.

The resource construction and economic model is very similar to Children of the Nile, one of the best city builders in recent memory. But where Tilted Mill’s game would let you taste the bitter tang of failure without pushing you over the edge into despair, Haemimont’s Rome is nothing but short term success after short success. There are no monuments or wonders to work towards, only small scale challenges based on how many people you have in your city.

Oh, and I’d like to thank the two Game Rankings readers who voted to give my Games Radar review a single star. I’m here to serve.


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