capsule review

Rise of Nations

At a Glance
  • MacSoft Rise of Nations

    Macworld Rating

Rise of Nations, which I previewed in the October 2004 issue, puts you in charge of a civilization as it evolves from the Dark Ages to the Information Age. But unlike similar games, Rise of Nations doesn’t take weeks to complete—you can play through some challenges in a matter of minutes.

The game combines what’s cool about turn-based games (for example, complex research systems that help you develop your civilization’s military, commercial, diplomatic, and scientific skills) and what’s cool about real-time-strategy games (such as an easy-to-understand combat model that lets you quickly compete in multiplayer skirmishes). The result is a fast and furious romp through the ages.

Unfortunately, Mac-to-PC multiplayer support isn’t a possibility. You can thank Microsoft for that—the Windows version uses Microsoft’s Mac-hostile DirectPlay technology for online gaming.

To reward patient Mac gamers, MacSoft is selling the game as Rise of Nations: Gold Edition, which includes the expansion pack Thrones and Patriots. This adds six new nations, four new campaigns, more than 20 units, and other goodies to the original game.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Combining some of the best things about real-time and turn-based strategy games, Rise of Nations will please gamers of both stripes.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Interesting blend of strategy elements
    • Varied game play

    Cons

    • No Mac-to-PC multiplayer support
    • No single-player storyline
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