fun, real time strategy game? You bet.
24, 2006 - Legion
Arena is a turn-based strategy game that is totally
accessible for beginners and a refreshing pace for
veterans of the genre. It's not as complex as the
majority of classic strategy games but what it lacks
in depth it makes up for in action and fun.
you back to the Roman Republic, Legion Arena is a
virtual history lesson in ancient warfare. Long before
guns, machines and vehicles, soldiers during the time
of the Great Roman Empire used swords, spears, shields,
chariots and horses. You can play as either the Romans
or the Gauls. There are tons of scenarios and 20 different
units with skills that can be leveled-up on the battlefield.
best way that I could describe Roman Legion would
be as one element of an epic turn-based strategy.
It's like micromanaging the battle portion of an empire-building
sim such as the Civilization series. You control the
battles and while there is some strategy involved,
especially in the deployment of troops, once the battle
begins things are pretty much out of your hands. There
is virtually no micromanagement to worry about. All
you have to do is focus on winning the battle at hand
and let the powers that be do their thing with the
spoils of war.
the commander of the military you will have several
units under your command including infantry and cavalry.
Once you position them on the battlefield you can
issue one of three formations: Defense, Balanced or
Offensive. The decisions that you make at the beginning
of the battle will usually determine the outcome.
To make the gameplay more realistic you will have
limited commands, relying on your trained units to
carry out a successful operation.
commands in real-time during the battle is possible
but it's also limited, once again displaying historical
realism. The size of the battlefield is so large that
it takes time to communicate with units on the far
end of it. You will have a limited amount of order
points that you can distribute to these units. Once
you use them up you have to wait for the meter to
fill up with more. This simulates the waiting game,
since in those days orders would be conveyed by couriers
on horseback that would field orders from the commander
to the individual units.
up the enemy army and the terrain is where you skills
as a tactical strategist will come into play. The
first campaign is actually a tutorial. It's extremely
well designed with comprehensive instructions, in
addition to hints and tips. It doesn't hold your hand
so you will really feel as though you're actually
taking control of the army - or at least having that
control handed down to you.
of the things you will learn to take into account
is the terrain. Lots of rocks and forest is great
for the infantry to take cover but it's tough on the
cavalry. Conversely, open plains are great for the
cavalry but it leaves the infantry exposed. Probably
the most important skill you will develop is the ability
to read the enemy's deployment and ascertain their
strengths and weaknesses. Send in strong troops to
weak areas and avoid the heavily armed sections. Knowing
what units to send where is all part of the strategy.
If the infantry has to cross the path of the enemy's
strongest front, in the open, that may not be a great
decision. Keep in mind that the infantry, though somewhat
expendable and cheap, is slow moving and may not accomplish
their goal in time if you want to flank the enemy.
such as accuracy, stamina, dodging abilities and swordmanship
will increase RPG-style with successful battles. Soldiers
will level-up and be promoted thus creating a stronger
and more talented army. Money will be made available
to the commander to purchase new weapons, armor and
more units. If you have enough money you can purchase
highly trained soldiers such as Legionnaires. Fame
points will be acquired and will help you earn recruits.
Fame will also help you with the healing of your wounded,
bringing them back to full health in less time.
are affected by moral. If a unit begins to take on
casualties the soldiers might lose their nerve and
retreat. This is called breaking. It's not something
that you really want to experience but it's a reality
of combat. For some reason the game will sometimes
award these breaking units with upgrades. You can
distribute points to increase their moral so that
their breaking level is higher and occurs with less
the interface is incredibly easy. The simplified structure
of the command system ensures that decisions are only
one click away. All aspects of the game can be saved
at anytime so you're not committed to taking on a
full-scale battle that can last hours. The fast-paced
nature of these skirmishes can result in games that
last as long as a game of checkers. The battles are
scripted and linear and there is no penalty for losing.
All you have to do is change some of your strategies
and try it again. It's almost like figuring out a
puzzle. Once you get it right you move on to the next
fight. They get progressively more difficult but at
least they aren't hampered by any technical glitches.
It boils down to you and your commanding skills.
If you get tired of playing the AI and want more of
a challenge you can take your army online. Battle
here are also quick but they aren't scripted. It's
like a whole new world. The single-player mode will
seem like an entire tutorial. Which in a way, it is.
This package comes with an e-book on Gallic wars to
further immerse you in the ancient art of war.
Arena has some nice 3D graphics with good animation.
You aren't controlling ten of thousands of troops
so the action is more immediate. You can see the entire
scope of the battle as though you were overlooking
it on a hill. Details can be toggled to conserve processing
power but there is no option for blood. I'm not a
ghoul but blood would have made things just that more
realistic. The music is great but there isn't enough
of it. It's repeated too often but it's nothing that
can't be turned off and replaced with some classic
blues or the new Howard Stern radio channel.
Arena is fun, fast and refreshing. It's open to everyone
that just wants to get involved with a game that isn't
any more difficult to learn than Monopoly.
and train your own troops, personalizing the appearance
of each squad.
than 20 unit types, including legionnaires, elephants
and naked fanatics.
vast armies in epic 3D battles and earn money for
as either Romans or Gauls in separate campaigns
order time system lets you experience the thrill
of combat command
1 player or multiplayer support for up to 2 players
over LAN or Internet