Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends

Okay, commander - put down the rifle and get out of the troop transport. Instead, grab your magic wand, or perhaps a steam-powered helicopter. You need a real-time strategy game that doesn't trot out the same old conventional weaponry, and we’ve got one. The hit real-time strategy series Rise of Nations is going steampunk, mixing wizadry and technology to wage war in an intriguing sequel, Rise of Legends.

Nations, legends ... this stuff sounds like it takes a lot of time, but it doesn't have to. Aside from a complete 3D overhaul and some sprawling, detailed terrain, one of Rise of Legends' new perks is a quicker, more streamlined experience. The micromanagement is there if you want it, and you can lose yourself in the game for hours if you wish, but you'll also find satisfying half-hour experiences if that's all the time you have. Nations' Conquer the World mode returns with its city-capturing, border-shifting campaigns; prepare yourself for subplots as the storyline unfolds.

Storyline? Yes, you'll care: the Vinci are masters of primitive steam-and-metal technology, and when they're not fighting amongst themselves, they're waging war on the Alin, the desert people who tap magic for power. Both races will have to deal with the Cuotl, an alien race impersonating the gods of the other two factions. We're all for investing ourselves in a strategic story that goes beyond point-here-and-click-to-smash, so we're keen to see how Rise of Legends shapes up in May.