Fall of Legends, Rise of Orcs and WWII
TomChick - News - 06/14/06 - Link

I don't generally recommend reviews, because I don't generally like reviews. But the always-thoughtful Eurogamer's Rise of Legends review is a textbook example of that site's gratuitously personal, tough, desultory, and entirely fair approach. Those guys are never a dull read.

I like Rise of Legends far more than Eurogamer's reviewer, Mr. Gillen. Just to get the party started, I'll say this: "An 8? You only gave it an 8? What the hell is the matter with you, it's at least a 9?" Ha ha. That's how people talk on the internet, see?

But it's gratifying to read someone wrestling with Rise of Legends more articulately than the lazy reviewers who played the campaign for a few hours, couldn't figure out what was going on, and had nothing better to say than that, um, they didn't like the story. And it's nice to hear someone call 'bull' on that old canard that Brian Reynolds' Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri was too obtuse with its tech. Please. It's called creativity. There's no shame in admitting that you didn't care and just wanted to push phalanxes and musketeers around instead. But if you can't be bothered to dig into a great game's richly written and distinct mythology, if you want to write off gaming as a source of new worlds, then you deserve your Spellforces and Empires Earth and Rushes for Berlin and whatnot. And you also deserve all those stupid editorials about how there isn't enough innovation in the gaming industry.

I was playing Rise of Legends with a friend the other night and he asked me about one of the heroes.

"Who's that blue guy? The floating one? I think he has a bunch of arms."

"That's Sarwu," I told him. And then I proceeded to explain not only his powers and how he fits into the game, but also his backstory about the Cuotl artifact and dark glass. I surprised myself with how much Rise of Legends had worked its way under my skin, and it did it starting from whole cloth. I knew who Sarwu was! Anyone could do that with, say, Aragorn, but not by virtue of the excellent Battle for Middle Earth II. It took books and movies for me to know who Aragorn was. But there aren't many games that have introduced me to characters like Sarwu and Sister Miriam Godwinson.

But maybe it's just me. I suppose, as Mr. Gillen notes, we're all doomed to orcs and WWII. But still, c'mon. Only an 8?

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