Strengh and honour!
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 4th March 2003
- Developer: Pyro Studios
- Publisher: Eidos
- Release Date: 28th February 2003
Is there a time period in history that has not had a RTS based on it? Probably not and so you would think that the idea is slowly becoming worn out and in some respects it is, but with any genre, all a game needs to shine through the rest is to be different or offer something new. Whilst not a large leap away from all the others, Praetorians offers players an escape from the food gathering, base building games already on the market.
Praetorians is a game of battles, power and rule. Focussing on military combat between three civilisations the Romans, Barbarians and Egyptians as Julius Caeser strives to extend the Roman Empire.
Unlike most RTS' Praetorians does not focus on collecting resources and building towns. The main emphasis is on battles and strategic planning. Before each mission begins you are briefed on your objectives and are then left in control of a number of troops in which to proceed. Your troops are already grouped together in legions and there are numerous formations available to command one of which been the turtle formation that results in your troops covering themselves and each other with shields and moving very slowly. Individual formations can vary from around 16 to 40 soldiers and supporting them are more specialised units, commanders, scouts and druids. Thankfully the troops are easy to manage with a large number of commands available to you. This enables players to be able to plan assaults, strategies and moves without been intimidated by lots of fiddly controls as in most RTS games.
Although the game doesn't really rely on 'base building' there still is an element of building to be had (naturally, your playing as the Romans!) But, this building usually comes in the form of bridges, ladders and defence towers and this is all done by your Auxiliary Infantry who by the way, are also in charge of building your mobile weapons such as catapults. Most missions require you to take control of other towns on the map and once this has been done your troops can erect a defence tower and begin recruiting new troops from the villagers that populate the town. This system more or less ensures that you are never left without a source of men.
Praetorians features amazing graphics in just about every aspect of the game, Soldiers when killed will keel over and die individually and when cannons and other ballistic machinery moves along the battlefield you can clearly see a number of soldiers inside pushing and controlling it. The weather effects are also superb with rain and snow falling in a highly realistic manner with a sound that makes you turn away from the PC and look out of the window to check that it isn't the weather outside you are hearing.
The environments were nicely detailed and the only gripe we had with the graphics were the actual troops themselves who tend to appear as blurry and messy when grouped together.
The games audio fits nicely into the game, voice acting is pretty standard with the usual "yes sir", "immediately sir", "for the empire!" Comments but then RTS don't tend to rely on voice acting and character creations anyway, what you would hear on a battle field is well, the sound of the battle and this has been nicely re-created in Praetorians.
All in all Praetorians is a highly enjoyable and addictive game with amazing graphics and long lasting gameplay.
Review Score: 8/10
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