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06-06-2009, 08:07 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 5,305
Review: Rise of Lost Empires a strategy game suited more for casual gamers

Good RPGs are rare on the iPhone/iPod platform, and few come to mind as being truly epic (e.g. Zenonia). Rise of Lost Empires is the latest arrival to the platform, and while the game looks above average and offers gameplay at the same level, it can be a somewhat unsatisfying experience especially for the hardcore gamer who will undoubtedly find this game short.

Rise of Lost Empires has two campaigns: Empire and Raiders. Empire entails playing the humans who must defend against the invading Orcs, while Raiders allows you to switch sides to play what many have dreamed of, Orcs. With 10 missions for each campaign, a total of 20 missions are available with their own set of objectives. Empire is unlocked to start, and you must complete 8 missions before the Raiders campaign is accessible. One shortcoming right off the bat is the lack of a skirmish mode which hinders the replayability of Rise of Lost Empires. Also, while not an issue for me, no multiplayer option is available.

Each campaign has 3 heroes with his or her set of special powers. As you progress through the levels, you will have the opportunity to alternate between the heroes during the game. In addition, you can acquire gold which is necessary to grow and sustain your troops. Gold and troop totals are located in the upper right hand corner, and if you dont feed your troops, they will die. There are also 20 types of units to control and 20 types of structures to build either as part of the Empire or as the Raiders. Units include knights, archers, demons, knight horsemen, and catapults. As for structures, these include farms, towers, citadels, yards, and barracks among others. There is a certain degree of resource management when it comes to structures because they along with gold can fund your growth. For example, farms are the basic unit for the Empire and once built, they will continue to generate funds. You can also rebuild structures and create cities so there are a good variety of things for you to experiment with.

At the beginning of each mission, a cut intro scene provides part of the storyline leading into the objectives. Each mission has its own map, which is slowly revealed as you move meaning the real estate is limited and surrounded by black areas. You never really get a full view of the map although a mini-map is provided at the bottom left of the screen. A slider is also available for zooming. While the controls are straightforwardtap a character and tap on location to movethe limited visual of the maps which are supposed to convey a feeling of secrecy and discovery initially irritated me. Most of the time, you find yourself tapping in a blacked out area and sending troops into who knows what. While I did get used to the way the maps are presented, I dont generally like these jigsaw approaches because they take away from the games immersiveness.

The gameplay is easy to learn and requires little or no learning curve although I will say that on occasion, moving troops individually or as group can be somewhat frustrating due to their small size and the limited scope of area in which to move. To build structures, your character must capture/reclaim a flag, and from here, by tapping on your hero, a pop-up window appears showing the different structures that can be built. Simply drag the structure icon to the desired location and it will be built before you can say Extreme Home Makeover. You can also grow troop ranks by building barracks for example which requires a two-step process: choosing the number of troops and then training them. While this is one way to get troops, one weird component of Rise of Lost Empires is the fact that additional troops can be acquired in the wild where they appear in the woods for example.

Each hero has a red life bar and a blue mana bar which appears under his or her icon. To access spells, a button is located in the left corner and to cast a spell, the hero must have enough strength in the blue mana bar. Once cast, the hero will temporarily be weakened and unable to cast another spell until the mana bar has recharged.

Everyone character evil orc or empire do-gooder will have a life bar over their heads, and combat will obviously affect that. The troops will auto-attack once you move them near enemies. The only one you really control is the hero/orc that youve selected, and attacking is done by tapping the enemy. The early missions are incredibly easy and mainly consist of locating or building something. The later missions do get somewhat more difficult in terms of being timed or facing more obstacles.

Overall, Rise of Lost Empires is a mobile port that well, plays like a mobile port. The graphics and voiceovers are appealing, and the game should provide plenty of gameplay for casual gamers. However, for hardcore gamer who finish games in hours vs. days or weeks, Rise of Lost Empires will be short. Personally, the game plays well, but dont expect an epic RPG.

Albie Meter: 3.5 Stars (this is a strategy game casual gamers will value more than hardcore gamers because of the content and degree of depth)
06-06-2009, 08:20 PM
We <3 you Big Albie

06-06-2009, 09:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 559
Originally Posted by JavierDavalos View Post
Thanks for the support guys,

Quantum Collapse will have both Skirmish and Multiplayer, but will come as patches not long after launch (It's a promise i am going to keep).

I was thinking of making Multiplayer first but i want to buy a next gen iphone and they start being sold the 17 of july. So most likely the first patch will be Skirmish. Unless i can get my hands on another iphone to test multiplayer.

I think i'll go for 4 dollars and put a good description and good screenshots like you guys said.
Is it impossible to include a skirmish mode in the first release? I'm not buying ROLE because it lacks a skirmish mode. I'll pay 4-5 dollars just to get the skirmish capabilities in the first release.

Helvetica will treat you good if you take time to understand her.

Last edited by Reaganomics; 06-07-2009 at 09:12 AM.
06-06-2009, 09:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 229
Thanks Albie

Another awesome review dude. We can always count on you to give it to us straight.
06-06-2009, 09:46 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 537
i want to buy a next gen iphone and they start being sold the 17 of july
Really? So what else can you tell us about upcoming Apple releases? haha
06-06-2009, 11:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,944
Just about to post a review, but Albie beat me to it. The game is pretty short and not much strategy is involved until around chapter 6 out of 10. Graphics are good, design is good, but the game is just way too short, even for a casual gamer like myself.
06-07-2009, 12:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: India
Posts: 381
No skirmish . Darn wasted 12 bucks on two Average Gameloft games.

Currently Playing: N.O.V.A, Skater Nation, 33rd Division, 7 Cities, Karnival.
Looking Forward to: GTA: Chinatown Wars, Ravensword (update), 1112 ep 02 and yeah the hangover on 1st
06-07-2009, 12:20 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 1,612
This game looks good but Im still on the fence about it. Is it similar to Age of Empires?

Playing: FIFA 12 Monster Island Quarrel Deluxe FIFA Superstars Fix-It-Up
Waiting For: Trenches 2, Ultra Kid, Car Jack Streets 2, Star Command
Plus+, Game Center, Open Feint, Crystal, Gameloft Live: jecebn
06-07-2009, 12:23 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: India
Posts: 381
Originally Posted by jecebn View Post
This game looks good but Im still on the fence about it. Is it similar to Age of Empires?
I would say no. I am a RTS junkie and this game stands nowhere compared to AOE. The basic RTS blueprint is there, Gather resources, Build armies, Attack enemies. For me the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. It is shallow and the worst of all No skirmish mode . I would recommend Warfare inc. instead.

Currently Playing: N.O.V.A, Skater Nation, 33rd Division, 7 Cities, Karnival.
Looking Forward to: GTA: Chinatown Wars, Ravensword (update), 1112 ep 02 and yeah the hangover on 1st
06-07-2009, 03:53 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 302
(( Minor Spoiler Alert -- Level Information))

Let me apologize for ranting first off, but it's late, and I'm genuinely agitated. I'm having a huge problem so far... Not let's say with the game, Albie said it best, it's a mobile port that feels like a mobile port. What's really getting to me is, the difficulty level for the first 5-6 chapters of the Human campaign are almost so easy, you don't even have to build up any forces whatsoever. You can simply rely on your hero, which leaves me to Chapter 7 (VII)..

With my two heroes, they don't ever seem to die, mostly because they can heal. But I've been continually playing the same map/campaign chapter for over an hour and a half, and it's frankly got me quitting the game. Keep in mind, I've actually been trying to beat chapter VII since 7:00 PM tonight, and it's almost 4:00 AM, but that's only because after the first hour in the chapter I either get mad and turn it off, or the game crashes because there are too many spawned monsters on screen at once. This most recent attempt has me at just under 2 hours now. The chapters shouldn't go from "finish in less than 5 minutes" to "so many waves of baddies that you virtually can't keep up". The unusual thing is, it's not really increasing in difficulty, just in quantity of enemies. The enemies are spawning so fast, and in such great quantity, that I merely don't have enough time to build up any kind of force. I have to heal my heroes, drag to the south end of the pass where I can hopefully build maybe one building before I have to tap my heroes again and keep healing/fighting. The truly amazing part is, the enemies come in let's say waves of 5-8, of varying unit type, and while I can keep every enemy at bay with my two heroes, I cannot progress forward at all.

This reminds me of an 8-Bit game I once played, where I hit a certain level and just couldn't progress any further, not because it was too hard, but because the game wouldn't let me pass no matter how patient I was, or how hard I tried. As it turns out, the game wasn't programmed past that level, I came to discover many years later. The programmers developed only so far, and had to release a finished product, so they made the level they quit on so impossibly long and filled with such fast spawning monsters, that you simply couldn't beat it.

5 min. is certainly not equal to almost 2 hours, no matter how you cut it. Maybe it's a spawning bug, and the enemies in this level are spawning so very fast on accident, but it almost feels like the first 6 levels were created and someone thought "wait a minute... they're going to finish this really fast, let's make this one Extra Hard to fill time!!!"

I rarely, RARELY complain about games, in fact I believe this is the first time I've actually whined about something, but it's honestly got me frustrated. I can put up with an awful lot, but you know it's bad when there are so many monsters on screen, the game literally freezes (which has happened to me 3 times, each time required a hard device reset). 2 heroes, 56 orcs, one stressed out iPhone, and many hours killed... I'm going to bed, this game can take off.

By the way, this is in virtually no way possible an RTS. While I'm angry, let's get that out there. This game is an RPG with simple elements that are dressed to appear RTS-like, but function in no way like an RTS. This game is about as close to an RTS as it is a tower defense game... not at all.

If you're looking for a nicely dressed up, somewhat engaging, well-planned RPG with an impossible to beat level 7, then this is the gem for you. But please do not be fooled into thinking it is in any way an RTS. While it has building units, player controlled attacking units, and a very simple system of upgrading and Hero leveling, none of those functions play out like an RTS would in virtually any way whatsoever. This game is lacking a skirmish mode, that might put more tactical strategy into how the game functions, but it's lacking in so many other rudimentary RTS elements that I can't actually foresee adding any kind of skirmish mode and it working correctly (such as resource gathering, unit dependencies, squad control, etc...). As it is, it's a nice RPG that kind of reminds me of Warcraft 2, which is nice for nostalgia, but in the end all it makes me want to do is go play Warcraft 3, so I can get this art style slapped onto a real RTS.

Blasted level 7..

Last edited by sushibox; 06-07-2009 at 04:03 AM.