Canadian developer Longbow Games made quite a splash with Hegemony I, set in ancient Greece, and Hegemony II, set in ancient Rome. The schtick in their strategy games was a unified real-time world where you didn’t have to sit through a long loading screen every time you fought a battle. The battle just happened, right there on the strategic map, the same way actual battles happened in history. That’s realism.
Unfortunately, Longbow’s attempt to Kickstarter Hegemony III didn’t take. Was it because it was set in pre-ancient Greek times, before Alexander came along and made everything cool? Was it because Hegemony II was already plenty good and full of open-ended content? Was it because strategy game fans are too stingy to pony up a mere $30,000? Canadian dollars, sure. But, still, only thirty thousand of them. Whatever the case, Longbow was all, like, screw Kickstarter, we’re going to do it anyway and hope people just buy it when it comes out. That time is now. Hegemony III is out today on Steam for less than thirty bucks.
The thing about a Hegemony game is that the gameplay trumps the setting. I have no idea who these people are when I select one of the four factions in the basic campaign. The Veii, the Valathri, the Velch, and the Clevsin? I think I’ve fought all those guys in Star Control, but I couldn’t tell you anything about them. Hegemony III’s objective-based campaign will walk you through the ins-and-outs of being, say, a Veii in the olden days. But for everyone else, there’s the grand campaign, where you aren’t limited to just four factions. Let’s take a look.
After the jump, I came, I saw, I froze up because I didn’t know which one to take.
Holy cats, that is a whole lotta flair on that boot! Each one of those circles is a playable faction in the grand campaign. There are, I dunno, about thirty of them. A faction is basically a starting location, but factions also have unique troops and a couple of basic modifiers. For instance, Rome — pretty much the only name I recognize — gets a bonus for vineyards. Romans love wine. You also get to pick a starting general with whatever attributes you want to buy. Or just hit random.
From there, Hegemony will start with a single city and guide you through the gameplay with a dynamic objective system. If you’ve played a Hegemony game, you know what you’re in for. If you haven’t, Hegemony III is as good a place as any to start.