Ancient Wars: Sparta is a little late to take advantage of 300. The hit movie should have primed a large audience for a real time strategy game set in the historic struggle between the Greeks and Persians. The opening scenario in the Spartan campaign sets the stage for an extended flashback wherein King Leonidas explains why he has decided to undertake a hopeless mission in defense of all Greece. But it doesn't work.
Gamers will be more inclined to ask why the developer decided to engage such a hopelessly antiquated design that takes classic RTS design and adds unnecessary levels of micromanagement. Customizing units sounds like a better idea than it turns out to be and the medic units require too much clicking and hovering. Better to churn out skirmisher cannon fodder.
Sparta offers little that is original or captivating. It breathes some life into naval and siege combat, but the maps are too cramped to enjoy grappling Roman warships or mounting siege towers. The relatively high cost of creating an army means that the early skirmishes are about protecting an extra gold mine with too few men. Construction times are too long and units move so slowly that having a “quick game” is nearly impossible. Even on Easy, sessions can top an hour.
If you are interested in the campaign games (one for each of the three nations) you will be treated to a series of trial-and-error missions. Heroes must survive each mission, so save often. The voice acting is so bad that it qualifies as a guilty pleasure to hear the moustache twirling Persians ham it up.
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