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Game Over Online ~ Imperialism 2

GameOver Game Reviews - Imperialism 2 (c) SSi / Mindscape, Reviewed by - Jove

Game & Publisher Imperialism 2 (c) SSi / Mindscape
System Requirements Pentium 100, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 62%
Date Published Thursday, March 18th, 1999 at 03:21 PM


Divider Left By: Jove Divider Right

I find myself becoming more and more skeptical about the future of computer games. It seems that innovation is being abandoned for the simpler route of profit, creating a void in the realm of quality. Turn based historical strategy is my favorite style of game and as such I approach these games with a much more positive attitude than usual. It was with this demeanor in my head that I began playing Imperialism 2, which started out great, and then quickly fell into the tedious trends of most modern games.

Imperialism 2 is based in the historical period known as the "Age of Exploration" and attempts to bring to life this time period through its graphics and music. The possibilities for a game based in this era are far too enormous to cover in one game and this is Imperialism's primary error. Personality and flavour were sacrificed for generalities that attempted to emulate every possible aspect of the age of exploration with an oversimplified interface. By simplifying development and combat Imperialism 2 effectively creates a feeling in the player that he is only participating in a miniature version of Civilization, which not only covers the "Age of Exploration" in more detail than Imperialism 2, but every other time period as well. The oversimplification can be clearly illustrated with an explanation of the "public works" units. The three different units for public works include the "builder", "engineer" and the "explorer". The builder essentially takes the task of creating farms and mines for the country in order to produce more raw materials. The engineer builds roads and ports and the explorer looks for minerals or simply explores the New World. This would maybe be adequate if the game didn't concentrate on only one historical time period, but as it does this is far too basic to be considered anywhere close to realistic.

The interface layout is simple and bland with a touch of baroque. Other than the fact that Imperialism 2's interface copies the same mold that every other turn based strategy game uses there is not much to mention about it. Only if the developers took a chance, Only if they used some of their own ideas, but alas, once more we are presented with "bland". The graphics are nothing new and remind me of Civ 2 or some other 3-year-old game. Units are represented by large, slightly animated pictures that go about their business in an extremely boardgame-like method (static and silent). I have a great imagination, but looking at a screen filled with cardboard units and maps doesn't transport me back in time anything like a book can do without any graphics whatsoever. Following logic, we find a low score for a low effort; let's just hope that this disconcerting trend ends soon.

The Brandenburg Concertos are some of the greatest works of music ever made and having a music theme inspired by one of Bach's greatest achievements was a great and well implemented idea. I am positive that most people will not appreciate the music but this category deserves a large boost due to the excellent job in creating atmosphere. The only problem is that this is the only aspect of the game performs so well and thus not even Bach can bring this game out of the depths of boredom. Sound effects are lackluster and are only inspired by the excuse that "this is only a strategy game, what do you expect?" Clicks, shuffles and other short generic sound clips occupy the majority of Imperialism 2 while combat sound consists of poorly sampled or synthesized effects. The points gained by the music allow Imperialism to be over 60%, and that is being very generous.

I really tried to have fun playing Imperialism 2 but it just didn't work out, especially with Heroes of Might and Magic 3 sitting right next to it. Admittedly Heroes 3 is not exactly anything innovative but it is very polished and still has enough depth to addict even a pessimistic gamer like myself. I kept looking for the draw to Imperialism 2 but St. Patrick didn't shine. The developers couldn't design an original game; do you think they would be any different when quickly implementing the multiplayer at the last second? No, I don't think so; and besides who wants to play a shitty game multiplayer? There are so many errors and so little atmosphere to Imperialism 2 that I am beginning to think, "Only if the developers made a different game, then I might like it."

 

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Rating
62%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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