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PC Reviews: Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots


Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots Screenshots

The Final Say!


Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: June 2004
Review Score: 8.9/10 
Distributor: Microsoft

This sensational title is a new look at a well visited area that was made famous by Civilization and Age of Empires. There are pros and cons without doubt that will present themselves to some gamers along the way, but for the most part, I found this whole experience to be a lot of fun and certainly worth an inspection by the buying public who are into this genre.

And what genre is this? Well it's actually a number but the most clearly definable are real time strategy and turn based strategy. What does that mean to the gamer? Not a great deal other than the fact that the pace of the real time strategy is sometimes offset by the ability to stop the game, make some adjustments and then get on with it. I personally found this to be a refreshing take on what is sometimes the difference between a battle lost and won due to keystroke errors!

In Rise of Nations and it's expansion Thrones and Patriots, the idea is to take the reins of a civilisation and build it up to the point that inevitably it can take on the world with advances in education and technology being key to your nation's success, along with of course your ability as that nation's commander in chief.

Once you get both games installed onto your computer (or just Rise of Nations if you want to take it slow), all you need then is to choose a nation from the many that are available and get cracking.

Most of you would have already played Rise of Nations so the focus of this review truly is on the sensational addon pack. One of the first things that you are going to notice is that there is a stronger developed world incorporating politics of a sort and the addition of the South American nations was a nice offset from the previous major focus of the title.

One of the conflicts for me that really got me going was during the hysteria of the Cold War. You could pit the two superpowers against each other and take them to the brink of nuclear war. Being interested in the history of conflicts, it was really weird for me being in control of this scenario and seeing the way that the game responded to my actions. It was almost akin to being a part of history, although very much from a standoffish point of view.

Graphically the title certainly holds up to the standards of the first title and does it proud as you can see from the screenshots that we've included. Everything runs smoothly and the interface is just as intuitive as the first game in the series. Navigation is simple and a pleasure to use.

One thing that did bug me a little about this title was the fact that in a battle you cannot look after injured troops. I didn't understand why this was as medicine and the medic have played integral roles since practically the dawn of man. This aside the game gave you the chance to create your own world history and even try to turn the course of events that have truly shaped our world.

Broken up into 4 different arcs, you can choose the following: The Cold War, Conquest of the New World (America), Rise and Fall of Alexander the Great, and Napoleonís quest to dominate Europe. Regardless of what scenario you choose, the main objective is to rule the world or nation and this is done by good fashioned exploration and the protection of your capital cities and capitol building.

One nation in particular, Persia, actually has two capitals, making her even harder to take out of the game. On the other hand I noticed that later when I was playing that the USA (Americans) had tech advantages and advances for more readily and even got their first Wonder built instantly. If you want something jaw dropping during the game, I was very impressed with the fighting ability of Persia and India with their amazing elephant battalions!

Audio for the game does what it is meant to with a great soundtrack to accompany you through the various parts of the history of the world. There is nothing to distract you from the gameplay itself, a vital point in strategic games and all sound compliments the title nicely.

All things considered, this is a lovely add on to the game that is better than the original with the new innovations that are included. Many is the time that a company rests on it's laurels and just pumps out add on packs, this is not one of them. Thrones & Patriots guarantees to extend the life of what is already a very lengthy game and with the new challenges that it throws to the player, I can see it staying on computer hard drives for a long time to come. Great Stuff!

- Tory Favro

Copyright ©2004