Those Rise of Nations Just Keep on Rising

Through the power of Amazon Prime my RoN disc arrived far sooner than I expected. It’s a single disc with both Rise of Nations and Thrones and Patriots on it. I wasn’t too hopeful this was going to work on a Windows 7 machine with multiple cores, multiple monitors and larger hard drives than this game had ever seen. But to my surprise, it installed fine. A quick reboot and the game launched without a hitch. It loaded up fullscreen and my cursor movement were contained to the correct monitor.

And then the wave of nostalgia hit me! It may be a decade later, but Rise of Nations still looks really good! The colors are bright, the landscape has contours, the oceans waves still look impressive and the fish still swim in the sea.

I skipped the tutorial and blazed into a game. After just a couple of minutes I was reminded just how complex RoN really is. The skill tree is IMMENSE! You need to research at the Library, the University and the Temple. You have to research Commerce, Military, Civics and Science. Once that is done you need to apply it to the appropriate building or unit. You also have to harvest resources and build trade routes. You need to be the first to get the rare minerals like silver, sulfur and tobacco.

It was a simple two player game set on Easiest, but my head was spinning trying to keep up with that I needed to do. But oh my god it was awesome! An hour ticked away and I’d barely started. I built up resources, but forgot to build units. I researched technologies, but forgot to advance ages. I was so busy gathering food I forgot to build military units.

I have to say, the level of detail in RoN is fantastic! The villagers stretch and sit down when they have no work to do. The fish circle and swim. The Merchant unrolls his tent and set up show. The Granary spins and grain slides down the chute. The Lumber mill shows logs swinging and hoisting. Everything has a job. Everybody is working. Nothing is static. I was completely drawn into this little world. I was so disappointed when I had to save the game and stop.

Wow, I really miss games like this! I’m so impressed with how it worked under Windows 7 – not a single glitch so far. I have quite a few hours worth of "training" ahead of me just to learn the technology and the troops.

Rise of Nations was an amazing game when it first released in 2003 and it’s still kickass!

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