Rise and Fall - What Surprised Me!
Rise and Fall is very cinematic game. It is clear just by looking at the menus, let alone actually playing the game that painstaking effort has been taken to assure that this game creates the cinematic experience similar to that of the movie of Gladiator and other epic tales set in antiquity. In almost every menu of the game you are treated to some kind of cinematic experience or other. As you navigate the main menu a repeating cinematic battle plays out in the background. The cinematic shown in the menu's is so enthralling that you might just start watching it and forget to actually play the game. The menus themselves are nicely laid out and will be familiar to anyone who had played Empire Earth or Empires: Dawn of the Modern World before.
The second thing that surprised me about Rise and Fall is the speed of the game, Rise and Fall is an extremely fast paced game. Keep in mind, that before Tuesday I had yet to actually play the game so I really didn't know what kind of gaming experience I would be having playing Rise and Fall. The speed of the game was most likely a result of the setting we were playing the map Corridor of Blood on. From the multiplayer setup window you get a fairly good idea about the number options available for each map. Players who enjoy fast paced games and slow paced ones should both equally be able to enjoy Rise and Fall with the numerous options available for each map.
The depth of naval combat in the game really shouldn't have surprised me, as from the movies and screenshots I had already seen I knew that it was going to revolutionary, however it did none-the-less. Rise and Fall has the best naval combat model of any RTS game to date. After playing so many RTS games with such poor naval combat models it was a shock to play a game where naval combat was so well thought out and such an integral part of the game. Ships in Rise and Fall are massive floating barracks that can train units, conduct raids, defend outposts and besiege enemy fortifications.
A few other things gave me a surprise while I was playing. When you drop into Hero Mode there is a cool blur that and makes it feel as if the screen is jumping into your hero. Personally, I just thought that this was a very nice touch. The depth of the editor also surprised me when I got to take a look at it. Like naval combat, although I knew a lot of the features were coming, it was a shock to see what an improvement the features were from previous RTS games. Lastly, I was somewhat surprised and particularly pleased to see that when you select a map you get to see a cinematic preview of the map in the top right hand corner of the screen. This struck as particularly useful feature for new players. The cinematic really gives the player a strong idea of what the map is going to look like.
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