Empire Earth III Updated Hands-On - World Domination

Sierra expands its empire for the third time. We go hands-on with an updated version of Empire Earth III.

Fans of the Empire Earth series are in for a bit of a shock when Empire Earth III hits shelves later this year. Earlier games in the series were well known for being somewhat complex. Empire Earth II, for example, featured 10 different resources, 15 epochs of time that players progressed through, and 14 individual races to play as. With Empire Earth III, developer Mad Doc has gone back to the drawing board and reduced some of the games' complex features in the hopes that the streamlined gameplay will win the series new fans, while still appealing to veterans.

You'll be able to advance humanity far into the future if you play to the end of an Empire Earth III campaign.

To begin with, Empire Earth III now features only two resources on the battle map (not including the special "tech" resource), five epochs, and only three races. While most of the gameplay is intact, these differences will definitely help the game feel less intimidating to a wider variety of real-time strategy players.

One new addition, however, is the inclusion of the world domination map. The single-player campaigns in Empire Earth III will take place on a large, 3D version of the globe, which is actually reminiscent of X-Com's old map. It's even separated out into different provinces, but in Empire Earth, these provinces are there to be captured, not protected. When you start the game, you'll begin with only a few provinces under your belt, and you'll be surrounded by other provinces that are filled with inhabitants, either of a competing race, or of the "native tribes" that will need to be subjugated.

World domination plays out a bit like Risk or Civilization. You can initiate diplomacy with your enemies, invade neighboring provinces, research new technologies, and collect resources from the provinces that you already have under your control. You can also build new armies and use them to attack nearby provinces. Each army will be able to move or invade a province once per turn. Knowing when to sit back and build up your research points, and when to be aggressive and attack, will be crucial here. Each turn will advance the game's built-in clock by a number of years (500 years per turn early on), so if you don't manage to progress to a higher epoch, you may find yourself bumping up against technologically advanced enemies sooner than you think.

The game's artwork is decidedly bigger and more colorful than past entries in the series.

In addition to the standard exploration dynamic, gameplay is also given a bit of variety with "events," which are basically quests that pop up at various times. These can appear on either the world map or in a battle, and offer unique rewards. For example, if you're about to invade a province to add it to your empire, you may get a request by the native peoples of the province. One example given to us was that the native princess may be kidnapped; if you help find her and rescue her from the hostile tribes, you can take over the province and keep the natives as followers, instead of having to wipe them out.

As one of the few RTS games to take place across the entire history--and future--of humankind, the Empire Earth series still has a pretty unique niche to fill in the computer-games market. The design team has done a lot of tweaking to ensure that the latest installment builds upon the success of the previous games while still being accessible to new players. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information as the game nears its fall release date.

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35 comments
COhockey9790
COhockey9790

it sounds great, but the fact of only 5 epochs and 3 races brings it down. EE I was best, but this one will probably be better than EE 2, so i'll give it a try

TheFrostWolf
TheFrostWolf

Iam not to sure about this new method of 5 ages and 3 races i think it is now. i absolutely loved the first one! but I don't think we will get the same result here now,although i was hoping for one after EE 2 disappointed me greatly

Shimflaagen
Shimflaagen

I really didn't like EE II because it had provinces/ states. Also, there should be a territory system resembling Rise of Nations.

LastManOnEarth
LastManOnEarth

This is what happens whenever EA has a good franchise. They strip it down from anything that resembles unique and package it for the masses for a quick buck.

r3351925
r3351925

well not so bad, altho the graphics arent that much.

cfett199
cfett199

Reading that they really simplified the game with going from 10 resources down to 2 and only 3 races is really turning me away from this game. EE1 was the greatest one, EE2 continued with improved visuals and more subtle intricacy, like the epoch based resources (tin,salt peter, oil...) but oversimplifying for a wider demographic just seems like a bad move to me...

snaggleoooo
snaggleoooo

The first game was so good! Nothing will top it. I wasn't a great fan of the second but I'm willing to give this one a go.

Blade8Aus
Blade8Aus

one of my favuorite series empire earth III kinda sounds dumb but i will buy this one

leop4rd
leop4rd

i liked the first one...i never knew why they got rid of the future units in the second one...having massive robots was sweet...i wonder why they didnt go for "races" like in the first one.

uberjannie
uberjannie

I love to take over the world, its my profecy! MOAHAHAHAH

maximus_2
maximus_2

looks pretty... I wonder what specs you need to play this gmae...

AnarchyRising
AnarchyRising

as long as they dont go turn-based, its all good... sooooo tired of turn based games ... if i wanted to do something and wait for the computer to do something while i wait, i'd play blackjack or something

ollbom
ollbom

Well EE2 was indeed good and a fun play, but it got a little bit too complicated for me after a couple of ages, hopefully this one still keeps the depth and get rid of the most tendious micro management while still keeping it's strategic value, I will however wait for a review of the title before purchasing it.

LuckyPierre1441
LuckyPierre1441

wow... i loved EE2. I've dumped hours upon hours into it. i was really looking forward to this game but despite their marketing speak, this game does NOT appeal to me as a veteran. The depth of the previous games are why it was a success, not because it was "accessible" to any newb who buys random games at best buy.

mikeakaekim
mikeakaekim

Nothing they do will ever make it even close to the greatness of the first installment

Mohamed_h
Mohamed_h

Good idea , looking forward to it !

Redhunt_86
Redhunt_86

like we all know. they had cashed out the franchise. Diluting its identity to make something more shallow and marketable., With the graphics they have, it can;t be the case that they are low on resources to create a larger vision/ at least we still have the total war series...phew!

jgon_9
jgon_9

5 Epochs? What happened to the good old days of EE1 and EE2? Stone age to the future? While the whole world map thing sounds fun, it just sounds like a copy of the Total War series. I guess we'll see how this turns out. However, I'm glad I still have my EE1 and EE2. I'm still playing EE2, awesome game.

Drekey
Drekey

so what i'm reading here is that the empire earth series have been abandoned and have been transformed into an Age of Empires just for profits sake... (not beeing a pruud here, i know its all about the profit, just a hint... the last AOE, well... didn't make that much profit...) So if you guys are going to "simplify" the game by trowing away its identity, why not calling it something else dudes? What's that "great" niches in the market? its just like any other Turn-based/RTS now. The thing that made it diferent was exactly the "hugeness" of it all. Well.. the world map might be kewl and all but.. 5 epocs? 3 races?... 2 resources?.... sounds like starcraft to me(big fan by the way)... but why would i buy EE then?...with SC2 coming out... doesn't feel like home.. doesn't feel like home at all... i miss the pre-historic dudes building things with rocks back in the EE 1... i miss them... they were funny... ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Funky, i've just read some of the other coments and it seems that most of the people here agree that EE1 was amazing and should be rediscovered... that's kewl lol

amirtheonly
amirtheonly

I'm not sure I'll want to play this, but it's early to say so. Back to Total War now...

bodylotion
bodylotion

Looking forward to this game, i just hope they will put a dutch faction in it :P

sal_gado
sal_gado

To be honest, I just hated the game as I read this preview, thinking "Oh, it's just another Age of Empires then". But then I remembered: There are three TYPES of civilizations, as stated on an earlier preview on Gamespot, like Asian, European and Middle-Eastern (I think). Each one with it's own artwork, units and philosophy, but each one has lots of diferent civilizations that use the same theme but differ in some points, like the chinese/japanese/mongol/etc are asian with some differences. THAT makes it better :) Just one thing left me thinking: I hope five epochs means there will be LOTS of technology improvements on each one, to encompass the entire human history. Like a Middle Ages epoch, going from the roman empire and ending on renaiscance, which is another epoch. If it's like that, then the game is still the same, just simpler to understand.

afaulborn
afaulborn

I thought that the first one was the best. The second one was an attempt to make it better and it was quite frankly in vain. Hopefully this one will be at least a bit better.

tonka_92
tonka_92

They're making a complete hash of the series. I agree with drim_vells, bring back EE1 with world domination THAT would be a brilliant step

Lycen
Lycen

Only complex strategy games I have played where Earth 2150 and 2160 this game is quit simple compared to those 2.

drim_vells
drim_vells

If only they remade the first one with the World Domination multiplayer feature added to it. That would be amazing. But we will see how this turns out. =/

INoX-AiC
INoX-AiC

I have always been a big fan of the "Empire Earth" series so i hope this version is as good as the previous one.

Armalite1016
Armalite1016

"To begin with, Empire Earth III now features only two resources on the battle map (not including the special "tech" resource), five epochs, and only three races. While most of the gameplay is intact, these differences will definitely help the game feel less intimidating to a wider variety of real-time strategy players." Wow I stopped reading right there. This is an insult to Empire Earth. I loved the first game, not so much the second game, and now this, which is not even Empire Earth. 5 epochs? 3 Factions? Blow me, Mad Doc.

Strife8
Strife8

I think this game will prove to be extremely disappointing for veteran Empire Earth players. As an old Empire Earth player I appreciated the complexities of the game. Although, I can see that this may not be a very good money maker for the game developers. A complex game only caters to a select crowd of people who like to figure out how to play before enjoying. Most people these days like to start enjoying while learning. Even so, reducing to two resources, 3 factions, and, disappointingly, 5 epochs, this game sounds like it will be yet another big flop along with many other unsuccessful RTS genre games of its type. However, I really hope Gamespot is able to obtain some more information on this game soon. Like what are the two resources? Who are the factions? (don't quite understand how you can have only 3 factions that encompass planet earth through the ages) and which epochs? I will be keeping an eye on this one to satisfy my curiosity.

Edrifen
Edrifen

I hope the game will still be as fun as EE 1 and 2. Better graphics never do state "better game". Patiently waiting for it!

pbking13
pbking13

It sounds awesome. At first I was skeptical but now I'm sold.

riseagainst1
riseagainst1

I just hope this game doesn't suck. I loved the first two.

ppau08223
ppau08223

the new artwork is looking nice and i have to say im really excited about this game although im disappointed that some of the features that made it empire earth are missing