to the web site
95/98, Pentium 100, 16 MB RAM (32 recommended), 2MB PCI graphics
card, 4x CDROM, 120MB hard drive space, sound card
Interactive bills 1602 A.D. as a blend of two "exciting" genres,
part empire builder and part real time strategy game.
1602 A.D. just arrived in U.S. stores but it has
been available in Europe for several months, although
there it bore the moniker "Anno 1602".
In Germany it was the best-selling game for several
months. Besides that, the game has very low system
requirements for a game coming out on the market
in early 2000. And I am all for games that recognize
not all of us have Pentium III's (or even Pentium
II's!). But try as I might, I find very little to
get excited about with 1602 A.D.
game's premise is simple enough: the year is 1602
A.D., and you are the leader of a band of people
looking for a better life. You have set sail for
the New World in the hopes of finding this better
life. Alas, you have competition, and to achieve
this idyllic life you want will require some effort.
simple, right? Find an island you can call home and build
your empire. All in real time, ala Ages of Empires or Seven
Kingdoms. And the game follows the basic premise of all empire
builders: as you build, more people move in and then you must
build more to accommodate their needs, and then more people
move in, and then you build more... You get the idea. If you've
played SimCity or any of the various incarnations of Caesar,
you get the idea in spades. Pirates abound, sinking your ships
and raiding your city. The major differences with 1602 A.D.
and SimCity & Caesar are the time setting (Renaissance)
and the fact that you can have competition - up to three other
players (human or computer).
A.D. has two game modes: campaigns that are composed of a
set of 'scenarios' and a 'sand box' mode that allows you to
play forever, ala SimCity. Graphically the game is very pleasant
to look at, although there are some oddities such as androgynous
cows (no, I'm not kidding - unless you've ever seen a cow
with both horns and udders). The interface is fairly easy
to use, except for the world map, which is fixed in place
- which can be tough to reconcile with the local map if you
rotate the local map. The game features only islands - no
continents - so sea power is the name of the game.
1602 A.D. seems to have all the right ingredients for a great
game, it fails to inspire me to want to play it. While you
do have competition, the game focuses far more on the economic
side of things rather than the military. The cost of generating,
maintaining, and using an offensive force far outweighs any
gains you might make - although you will need defensive units
to protect your ships & cities from pirates. Diplomacy
is very simplistic - peace treaties & trade agreements
are the sum of what you can do, and even that is carried off
with so little fanfare as to be hardly worth mentioning. Yes,
you do need trade agreements to build your economy, but I've
never seen the computer deny me a trade agreement either.
There is no research tree per se, you simply acquire the ability
to build new buildings as your population reaches certain
limits. The game devolves into build this building, wait and
build this building, and fails to cover any new ground - in
short, I was quickly bored.
Real-time empire builder for those who don't like games where
the fastest mouse wins. Low, low system requirements. Cons:
No research tree. Computer opponents are present, but not
exactly opponents. Pleasant enough game, but it lacks any
excitement. Whoo-hoo, I just built a Cattle Farm! And for
a game billed as an "empire-builder" why is the
military so de-emphasized? On the other hand, if you want
a quiet relaxing game with little to no "war" maybe
this would be your cup of tea.
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