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Hegemony Philip of Macedon

 

 

SCORE: 65

 

Hegemony Philip of Macedon 

 

This ambitious real-time strategy game by indie developer Longbow Games puts the task of conquering the ancient Greek world in your hands. Based upon the historical rise of the Macedonian empire, you wear the hat (or helmet in this case) of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.

Considering the fact that this game was developed independently by a small studio over the course of six years, the graphics in the game turned out nicely. The details of the terrain, ruins, and buildings are nicely done and reflect what you would expect to see in the time period of ancient Greece. The character models are slightly less detailed, but when you look closely there are a few surprises. At first glance your troops appear identical to one another, but upon closer inspection you will discover that they have varying facial hair and even look to be of differing ages. Of course not every single unit is different, but it is impressive that pains were taken to show even these small bits of variety. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the graphical design of this game is the ability to zoom out to a strategic board-game view. In this view you are presented with a global overview of the game world resembling that of the classic “Risk” board game. This is particularly useful when you need to quickly move to another city or keep an eye on the units you have scattered throughout the world. As you would likely expect from a game that revolves around war, Hegemony is full of images of violence, blood, and murder making it inappropriate for younger players. Players old enough to comprehend the reality and consequences of war will not be shocked by the imagery as it is not overly gruesome. Dead bodies do litter the battlefield and blood is certainly part of the scene.

The audio in the game also appropriately represents the events of war. Swords clashing, horses galloping, and troops marching are all part of the experience. The sounds of the battlefield are realistic and you should expect to hear the sounds of death frequently. Again, this isn’t overdone, but it does convey the fact that people are dying. As for the music in the game, it is subtle and it fits the mood but it doesn’t vary greatly so you will likely tune it out after playing for a while.

This genre isn’t one that relies on unlockables to draw players back in for another play through. This game is no exception. If you are interested in RTS games, you will want to play through this one again to hone your battle skills and perfect your strategy. While there are no apparent special features to unlock, Hegemony has a massive game board to play through and priced at just under $30, you’ll get your money’s worth.

If you’re new to RTS games, you may want to start with something a bit easier to learn than Hegemony. The game is quite challenging from the start and inexperienced players will almost certainly find themselves sweating and scrambling to fend off the enemy. This can be more frustrating than fun as you witness your fledgling army retreating from their foes or simply being annihilated due to poor battle strategy. Veterans of the genre may find this game a welcomed challenge; however they too could experience a bit of frustration. The controls in the game feel a tad clumsy. When clicking to issue a command to one of your units, for example, the game seems to hesitate just long enough to leave you wondering if your click was accepted. The zooming can also be a little irritating as the strategic board-game view tends to appear sooner than desired when you zoom out for a better view. These are certainly things that you can get used to, but they are aggravating just the same. On the up side, the game does a wonderful job of making sure you understand your current objective. The list of objectives is listed clearly on your screen and provides ample information. The game world is, according to the developer, a “satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece”, which adds some realism to the gameplay. History buffs will also enjoy playing through the game objectives which are based on historic events.

As I alluded to earlier, this is not a game for the whole family. Adults and older teens mature enough to handle scenes of war could find some enjoyment from playing this game. It also has some educational value going for it as it provides somewhat of a history lesson. As with any war game you will be required to take the lives of the opposing forces, but this game takes it a step further. When you capture defeated enemy combatants you are given two options. You can either force them to become slaves or you can execute them. The fact that the game requires the player to make these kinds of choices is something that parents should be aware of when deciding whether or not this is a suitable game for their child to play.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 52%
Sound: 69%
Replay/Extras: 81%
Gameplay: 58%
Family Friendly Factor: 67%
System: Personal Computer
Publisher: LongBow Studios
Rating: 'NR' for Not Rated

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com