Rise of Prussia PC
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: AGEOD
Where gaming is concerned, strategy is a term that’s often abused. Quite a lot of games claim to be strategy titles when in actual fact, there’s very little strategy in them. For the real strategists however, there are games out there that will really challenge your abilities to form effective strategies and Rise of Prussia is one such game. Developed by AGEOD, developers of such games as Birth of America, American Civil War and Napoleon’s Campaigns, Rise of Prussia is a serious strategy game that’s not for the feint hearted but it’s also one that will reward those who can conquer its steep learning curve.
Rise of Prussia is a turn-based historical strategy simulation that enables you to experience the seven years of warfare from 1756-1763. The game system will be familiar to those who have experienced AGEOD’s other titles but for those who haven’t it has to be said that there’s one heck of a learning curve to deal with. The game offers three tutorials but even after playing through these you’ll find yourself not feeling too comfortable with the game. What that means of course is that you’re going to have to read the manual in order to fully get to grips with the game. Whilst that may be an alien concept to most, it’s definitely worth doing if you want to appreciate what the game has to offer.
In addition to those tutorials there is a nine turn scenario based on the invasion of Saxony in 1756 and a collection of campaigns based between the years of 1756 and 1764 that allow you to take control of either the Prussian or Austrian forces. The shortest of the campaigns takes only 18 turns whilst the largest takes a whopping 176 turns. The game also supports multiplayer, although the only mode that is supported is play by email which is a little disappointing but understandable given the amount of time each player will want to take over each turn. This certainly isn’t a game that could be played for gaming sessions of less than a couple of hours at a time online and most would probably find that overwhelming.
With Rise of Prussia the devil is in the details and there are a lot of details. Moving your forces around is easy as you simply click and drag the sprite or portrait (you can choose to display either) around the rather large map. That’s probably the only easy aspect of the game however. It’s essential you pay special interest to national morale and the organising of your forces, setting up an effective hierarchy and making the most of the 100+ leaders, each with their own distinct personality, special abilities and levels of seniority that will be available to you. Setting the command postures and rules of engagement in an appropriate way is essential if you’re to get the best results on the battlefield. Supply, both in terms of necessities for your forces as well as ammunition, has to be maintained too of course. At all times you have to be fully aware that defeat or even a stalemate situation can be snatched from the jaws of victory. In some respects this is refreshing as it keeps you on your toes and encourages you to choose your leaders and tactics carefully, especially as you don’t have direct control over how the battles play out, and it has to be said that victory is all the more sweeter here than in a lot of the more forgiving titles as a result of the effort and thought you have to put in.
If you’ve played a previous game from AEGOD the look and general presentation of the game will come as no surprise. The game plays out on a 2D hand drawn map of what we now call Germany and its surrounding regions. The map is very similar in style to those found in AGEOD’s other titles. There are no visual depictions of the battles with the results for each battle simply being displayed. Whilst the interface generally looks pleasing, it’s not as intuitive as it might be. Thankfully the game does offer a range of keyboard shortcuts and most will prefer to use those rather than having to deal with the obscure interface. Thankfully there are no problems for deaf gamers as the game uses text, numbers or icons to convey all of its information. I would have liked the text used in the game to have been a little larger however.
Just in case we haven’t already made it abundantly clear, Rise of Prussia is for serious strategists only. Those who are expecting the game to be as accessible as a Command & Conquer game or even the Sid Meier’s Civilization series will be in for one hell of shock. The level of micromanagement here will also deter those who are looking for something quick and easy to play. A lot of game reviewers will no doubt pan the game for this but in all honesty that’s not really fair. AGEOD are developers of in-depth strategy titles and Rise of Prussia is definitely one of their better ones to date. Some aspects of the game could have been better but there’s no doubt that Rise of Prussia is a fine strategy title, even if it does have one hell of a learning curve.