Yesterday I had some unplanned time to kill at Best Buy, so I had a look at their current stock of PC games and walked out with a list of 6 strategy titles that looked interesting but which I knew nothing about. The games were Seven Kingdoms: Conquest, The Settlers: Rise of an Empire, Heroes of Might and Magic V, Maelstrom: The Battle for Earth Begins, Lost Empire: Immortals, and Sins of a Solar Empire. Of those the first four were quickly ruled out based on reviews for the following reasons:
- Seven Kingdoms: Conquest – buggy and nothing new in terms of game play.
- Settlers: Rise of an Empire – easy and repetitive game play; copy protection that is incompatible with many CD/DVD players and the publisher recommending user’s replace their drive.
- Heroes of Might and Magic V – buggy; cumbersome interface; most creature special abilities and items lack any description regarding what they actually do and as someone who likes to optimize I know his would bug me to no end.
- Maelstrom: The Battle for Earth Begins – awful path finding, which for an RTS is enough reason for me to stop reading right there, but I read a little more it’s a got a cumbersome interface that makes group units difficult and then when a group is told to move somewhere some units may take different routes and told to attack a few do it while the other mill about. Enough about that.
From the reviews alone I had difficulty determining if Lost Empire: Immortals was worthwhile or not and since it had a downloadable demo I gave that a go. Selecting fleets and systems was frustratingly difficult to do, and while what you had to micro-manage in the 4X game was different then others the micro-management was still there, so its below par compared to other 4X games where selecting fleets is easily done.
So that leaves Sins of a Solar Empire, which is an RTS/4X hybrid, that has gotten pretty rave reviews and definitely looks interesting, so that will be my next competitive evaluation.