Rise of Nations

“Divide and conquer.”

It might sound a bit biased, and it´s not a good position as a journalist, but I´m a huge fan of original Rise of Nations (2003). I truly believe that it´s one of the best Real Time Strategy games that haven´t been developed by Blizzard or Microsoft Games. The market of RTS was so overloaded in the first decade of this century that being noticed (and I remark: NOTICED) was a huge deal. Age of Empires was head-marching and everyone else was happy enough with taking whatever leftovers they could. Rise of Nations was one of the games that said out loud: “F*** this sh**, I´m better than that”. And it sure was. So when I heard that an “extended edition” of this beautiful game was on the way, I became this.

Rise of Nations Extended Edition

Buy (actually it was a gift, but whatever.)

Download.

Install.

Play.

So… what are the changes or add-ons that “Extended” entails?

It´s hard to say. The core of the game remains untouched and that´s always something to praise. Why fix something that´s not broken?

Actually, Rise of Nations Extended Edition is more of a remastered version. We are living in the age of remastering, and this new version is nothing more than that. These are the improvements:

-It includes 2004 expansion: Thrones and Patriots

-Improved visual effects (such as water, overall textures, full screen anti-aliased)

-Steamworks integration

-Achievements

-Tradable badges

-Cloud saving

-Twitch integration

In a way, we can state that Rise of Nations got the Steam treatment. Hardly we can say that it´s somewhat “Extended”. It´s not. I was expecting extra maps or civilizations. I was disappointed.

Rise of Nations, as a whole, it still is a great game, but, and not going “manifesto style”, I believe that this whole “remastering” age is kind of a scam. RoN didn´t need a remake or remaster. I have it installed on a notebook and it works just fine.

If you played New Super Mario Bros (Wii or the NDS version) you know what you were playing. It´s was a mix-up of Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World. The exactly same thing with the exactly same mechanics. Ok, now that you are doing some thinking on it. It´s kind of a rip-off, amirite?  Sure. It´s an extremely entertaining petty theft. It´s like a small time crook just took your wallet for inspecting.

RoN Extended Edition is like that.

For you fellows who haven´t played this wonderful game: Rise of Nations is a real time strategy game, like Starcraft or Age of Empires. The player takes the role of the emperor of a real life civilization and struggles to take it from middle age to modern era. How? Well, by crafting. The player has to create population directly from his cities and make them build the constructions every civilization needs to advance as one. Farms, Mines, barns, churches, Libraries, universities… and armies. Of course you absolutely need armies. Why? Because everyone will try to conquer you. And then you lose. Your honor mostly, but also, the game. Rise of Nations has a mod that you only battle a science war. That´s the only scenario where you don´t need to create an army (a big-ass one).

Conclusions

I’ve said it at the first paragraph above. I love Rise of Nations. It’s a good game. An excellent one. Among the five better RTS out there. But I honestly think –firmly- that remasters should be made for games that can’t be played today without eye sore. We are accustomed to stunning visuals and so, and a lot of vintage games can be difficult to play with that in mind. I recently put on the “Blood” saga on my computer, and… yeah, it was harsh. Not every game resists time with dignity. Rise of Nations is one of the games that could be played without a single problem today. It doesn’t hold itself on visuals (which are gorgeous), but strategy. So, this remaster or Extended version, it looks much more like a money-grab than anything else. Yes, it works wonderfully on high resolutions, but for the strategy freaks, is of zero importance.

If you catch it on a Steam sale, give it a go, it´s an awesome RTS, and an overall great game.

Otherwise, keep your wallet in your pocket. I just heard the inspector coming.

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Hernán started his journey in the gaming world in the year 1991 with his Family Game (the FAMICOM made in China). Later on, he made the pass to Sega Genesis that would be combined with a PC 486 won over a contest. In the year 2000 he got around a more powerful computer (64 mb Nvidia Board!) which led him to madness with games as first “Hitman”, Max Payne, Metal Gear Solid and Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed.

Today, he is the proud owner of a more powerful PC (no that much power though), an XBox 360, a Wii, a PSOne, a Sega Genesis, a PSP, and a Nintendo DS.

While gaming, he developed a passion for writing that led him through a couple of webs (NintendoLatino.com) and a couple of magazines. He is also a writer in an online cinema magazine called “Revista 24 Cuadros”.