Empires: Dawn of the Modern World Review

A castle under siege.

Empires: Dawn of the Modern World certainly has a quality real-time strategy pedigree. The main force behind the game is Rick Goodman, lead designer for Age of Empires and Empire Earth. Itís the latter game that has had the biggest influence on the design of Empires, a game that possesses more than a passing resemblance to Empire Earth. However, rather than trying to model every time period from prehistory to future wars in space, Empires focuses on the Late Middle Ages through World War II dividing this time period into four separate epochs. The result is a game that is more focused than Empire Earth and that streamlines its gameplay. If you loved Empire Earth, then youíll find plenty to like in Empires. If you never played that game, donít worry Iíll let you know what to expect from EmpiresÖ

Empires includes nine different civilizations, but unlike a lot of other strategy games out there each one is actually different than the others. Not only do they have their own unique look, they each have unique units and civilization bonuses. Playing each nation requires a different approach and youíll need to adjust your strategies depending on the foe you are facing. Like powerful navies? Go with the British. Want to build might armor columns? The Germans will suit your style. Or better yet, pick your nation at random, see who youíre up against, and put the strategic side of your brain to work.

Empires comes with three single player campaigns: Korea as Admiral Yi defends the country from the Japanese, England as King Richard defends the realm, and America at the head of Pattonís armor in North Africa and Europe. The single player campaigns are a good way to get used to the gameís play mechanics but they donít provide you with an exposure to the dynamic strategies needed to succeed in skirmishes. View them as scripted missions that provide some fun in their own right, but that donít really provide the full Empires experience. If youíre the type that buys strategy games primarily for the campaign, then you may be a touch disappointed in the game Ė although just a touch.