iPhone Game Review: Rise of Lost Empires Reviewed by JadeDragon
In the spirit of Warcraft franchise and true real-time strategy gameplay, Rise of Lost Empires brings that all-too-familiar good vs. evil (humans vs. Orcs) rushing battles and frantic farming and building experience to the iPhone and iPod touch. Played entirely in campaign form, the game offers 20 levels with 6 heroes and troops that include warriors, archers, knights, catapults and more.
RTS games have gone from thinking and strategizing hard to rushing to battle as early as possible thanks to the Warcraft series. Building farms to earn money and building barracks and archeries to make troops are a prelude to the real thing: bashing enemies? heads and burning down their camps and castles. Rise of Lost Empires fashioned over 20 levels of rushing campaigns in this new RTS manner, providing enough lengthy battles that qualifies the game as a mini-epic title. The levels start out easy: you are a paladin leading troops of swordsmen and archers, you must complete various objectives including cut through enemy encampments, take out enemy installations, defend your own castle and land, and more. Once you capture a flag (it turns to your color), you can use that flag to build farms, barracks, archery, siege weapon factories, guard towers and more. As you go through the first couple of missions, the game walks you through the basic controls for building and for fighting. Soon you join two other heroes (an archer and a sorcerer) and embark on more complex and lengthy missions.
When you start each level, the game gives you objectives, and off you go. There will often be further objectives, like frag orders in the Marines, that come after you?ve completed the last ones. As an RTS game, Rise of Lost Empires has a small set of farming and building element compared to a desktop RTS game. The only building that has upgrades is the research building, and the rest of them are only for producing money and units. Like in most RTS games, you need to not only take out enemy?s castle and buildings but also protect your own. This often requires you to split up your troops; one for attacking and one for defending. The heroes have super powers, especially healing powers that can regenerate their own health as well as the units in his or her group. So it?s beneficial to move your units with your heroes together and heal them together. Like a good Warcraft game, the enemies in Rise of Lost Empires like to rush you. As soon as you captured a few flags and started building a few building, the enemy units will start to show up.
The AI heavily favors the heroes vs. normal troops. If you keep healing your hero, he is virtually invincible against normal enemy units. But not all of your heroes have healing abilities. The warrior and range heroes often can take care of themselves as all of them have healing abilities, but the sorcerers don?t. They often are the first to die and should always travel in packs with another hero who can heal. Luckily you can bring your heroes back after they die, it just costs you some money and time but your castle will respawn your heroes as often as you need. There aren?t a lot of types of fighting units, but they come in a good number of varieties.
After the first 10 missions, the world in Rise of Lost Empires turns upside down. You switch from the human side to the Orc side. The Orc champions and lords have different powers than the human heroes, some more powerful like Earthquake that can easily take out a building in two or three tries. Under a different banner and with overgrown muscles, you set out to destroy the same heroes you were a minute ago and the same villages you?ve just built. Fun! The Orc missions have a couple small twists, like figuring out how to open fire gates, escorting a totem, etc., but they largely stay the same as human missions. It can feel repetitive after say mission 16.
Graphics & Sound
Rise of Lost Empires has impressive top-down view graphics that look sharp and color saturated. Building and units have their distinctive looks and the controls are touch friendly. The units move very smoothly and animations are impressive. The game did a great job at creating very different environments and units in the human levels from the Orc levels. Path finding is also smooth and flawless; there was never once a unit got lost in the woods while trying to get to the valley.
Rise of Lost Empires has the typical epic, serious sound track that without looking you?d guess it?s an epic RTS battle playing out on the screen. Voice dubbing is also interesting and appropriately fitting each hero character. You wouldn?t want a paladin knight and an Orc champion sound similar, would you?
If you ever want to experience Warcraft on a small screen, Rise of Lost Empires is a must have title. Though Rise of Lost Empires doesn?t have the gorgeous 3D world found in today?s online WoW games, this iPhone RST packs a tight gameplay in a good number of missions spreading to several heroes on both sides of the war. The idea is ambitions and the execution flawless. Some missions are harder than others, and you might have to try it once or twice more to beat them, but in the end you will not regret taking the journey that very few iPhone/iPod touch games have to offer.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Top grade graphics, unit movements are smooth. Sound: - 5 - Typical RTS music, plenty of sound FX and nice voice dubbing. Controls: - 5 - Every building and hero has very touch friendly controls. Gameplay: - 5 - A good number of missions packed into a tight package. Has great replay value.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Remember to use your hero?s healing abilities with the entire unit by selecting them together into a group.
- The knights are often better at defending. Spread a few of them to guard your camp entrances along with the guard towers.
- The heroes can usually finish the jobs at hand, so make sure you keep an eye on each one of them and make sure they are doing something to complete the missions.