The real-time strategy genre is once again getting a little crowded, though lately we've been seeing more quality titles than otherwise. We're hoping that by the time Eidos and World Forge release Sparta: Ancient Wars, a game we've been playing for a few hours now, we'll have another game to add to the growing list of quality titles this year. Sparta takes place in the ancient Mediterranean setting where the Persians were the powerhouse and the Greeks were brash and violent underdogs to the rampaging armies of King Xerxes.
The three campaigsn follows the exploits of important men inside the Greek, Egyptian, and Roman camps. Both the Spartan king Leonidis and Xerxes have probably become a little more familiar with the release of 300 even if their portrayal in that is more fantasy than fact. The campaigns tell the story of these powerful men from past to present. During our time with the game, we've been able to complete most of the Greek campaign and take a quick peek at the Egyptian and Persian campaigns. Any of the three can be chosen from the beginning of the game so each starts off with quick tutorial-like missions to help you become familiar with the control schemes and ideas behind the game. From there, the campaigns include a variety of missions. We've played some simple seek and destroy missions while others skew more towards the tunnel crawling with no construction of bases at all. Most of the missions seem to introduce new units and ideas to each of the factions one step at a time. Halfway through the Greek campaign we were already constructing walls and sieging fortified enemy camps. We've also had the chance to try out the naval combat briefly. We're hoping this portion of the game also becomes a bit more complex since the ships are large and look good.
The number of units on field has never been overwhelming at this point, largely due to the pace of resource collection. Whether this will be how the game works by the time of release we don't know but as it stands now it takes a considerable amount of time to earn cash enough to fund an good sized army. The three resources, food, wood, and gold are readily available on the map (food is actually generated by farms), but the gold harvesting is a bit slower than we'd like at this point. It's fun to see the larger groups of units on screen fighting each other so we certainly hope the speed is increased by release. As with most RTS games these days, units can be put into formations. From what we've seen so far, formations are fairly intelligent about where units are placed. Ranged fighters like javelin throwers or archers will always sit behind the more powerful melee units for protection while chariots and cavalry lead the charge. The formation options are a bit lean with only line, column, and scattered, but they'll do in a pinch compared to no formation at all.
One of the interesting things that Sparta is doing with unit creation is with outfitting. Instead of having global upgrades that are researched, World Forge has chosen to let you take researched weapons and create their own unit combinations. First a base unit type has be chosen. For example, the Spartans have Psiloi, Spartiate, and Hoplites. From there, you can access the equipping screen, which allows you to outfit any of these base unit types with weapons, secondary weapons, and shields. Whatever combination you choose can then be saved as a template to make further changes or purchase at the barracks. This certainly gives plenty of freedom, though we'll have to investigate a bit more. At this point we've basically only been teching up and using the best templates available. However, because using higher grade equipment means your units will cost more, it's not totally dumb to think in skirmish and multiplayer that you'll want to pump out plenty of cheaper units to harass the enemy.
Along with your basic infantry, cavalry and specialty units are also available. Cavalry is dealt with on a different -- though not unheard of -- level than we normally see in RTS games. Instead of building cavalry units, horses are produced and existing infantry can occupy them. This, once again, adds plenty of freedom to the make-up of your army. Whether it will end up causing too much aggravation in terms of micromanagement is another issue. Though it is nice to be able to seize unoccupied horses and chariots after a battle comes to a close. Siege units also require the same micromanagement as soldiers need to be attached for them to move. So in one respect, it's good to be able to create units without weapons or armor that are simply used to push siege machines, like catapults and towers, around the battlefield. The game probably won't end up winning any awards for visual excellence, but what we've seen does look good. Units are modeled and animated well. Environments are suitably detailed and special effects are also decent. We've seen that widescreen is supported up to 1600x900, which is decent, but we rather like to see 1920x1200 in our games these days to take advantage of the bigger monitors and better video cards.
* Haunting storyline based on proven history 500-450 BC
* Play three different tribes to conquer the known ancient world with 27 missions to play through
* Huge choice of weapons, kit and armory
* Usage of a self developed physics engine in RTS game play
* Unique weapon equipping & trading system
* Specific flora and fauna for different climate zones
* Heroes with different role system effects
* More than 15 different buildings for each tribe
* Beautifully detailed full 3D environments
* Breathtaking visuals with lovely details on every unit
* Experienced team supported by the German “The Settlers” veteran Torsten Hess
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Ancient.Wars.Sparta-KPS-km07.rar [257.98 Mb]
NOTE : DOOM released a first RIP stuff of "Ancient Wars Sparta" a few days ago (available on ShareVirus in "PC Game Rips" section) with a size of 711 mb. This is now a new RIP version with a size of only 258 mb. This stuff includes ENGLISH speeche ONLY, but GERMAN and FRENCH subtitles are still available. Enjoy !