Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends (Microsoft/Big Huge Games PC)
By: Kenneth Shelton

With this new title in the Rise of Nations Franchise Microsoft Game Studios has decided to start with a whole new graphics engine and concept. Their engine has taken detail to the next level with its vertical design and incredible physics. By vertical design I mean that the landscape allows for traversing great heights both up and down (ravines, mountains, etc.).

In Rise of Nations and its expansion pack, Thrones and Patriots, the city complex was a key element, if not the most important element, of your city planning, but its design didnt make it as impressionable. In Rise of Legends, your cities are INSANELY large. Your city will no longer be a single element, but will be a complex comprised of different districts such as a palace district, military district, merchant district, etc.

One of the developers I spoke with stated that the game would be comprised of 8-10 worlds and that they wanted to make the classes and worlds much more detailed and distinct. As it stands currently, the game will be released with four races of which two will be magic based and two will be technological.

The hero of the game will be of the DaVinci race, so named after Leonardo DaVinci and, as you guessed, they are a technological style race. The technological style races use flying contraptions and mechanical style troops. The DaVinci race uses clockwork troops and their flying units range from Zeppelin looking to huge war planes. Also, the technological style races have the ability to strip resources from the land which lends itself to the underlying storyline involving the two different styles of races.

The magical based race shown at E3 is an Arabian Nights style race (and their displayed map was an amazing desert style map). The Arabian style race was able to perform magic and its tier 4 monster was an amazingly rendered dragon.

Rise of Legends was developed so that different tier monsters typically are extremely difficult to bring down by lower tier monsters and it takes large groups to take down a higher tier monster. The heroes fall into the tier 3 category, are extremely powerful, and an intrinsic part of this game.

The city upgrading is based on the amount of districts located in that city, once you hit another number you can build additional palace district. The larger your city, the better units and buildings, but the more expensive new districts are.

The most amazing part of this game was the graphics! This game will be suing the Ageia PhysX physics engine that allows for unbelievable interaction with the world. I am eagerly anticipating this release!!!!!!