E3 06: Heroes of Annihilated Empires Impressions

Tanks and jet fighters battle elves and the undead in this interesting new strategy game that can also be played as a role-playing game.

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LOS ANGELES--It has a strange name, but Heroes of Annihilated Empires certainly wins points for being one of the crazier games at E3. And we mean "crazy" in a good way. Upon first look, this seems like your standard fantasy-based real-time strategy game. Indeed, the opening cutscene shows a battle between elves and the undead that seems directly inspired by the battle of Helms Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. But then, the tanks and jet fighters show up, and now you realize that you're in for something completely different.

Heroes is the first of what is planned to be a trilogy of games, and it's set in a magical realm that is tied to our plane of existence. This is explained in an early cutscene, when a formation of jet fighters intercepts a large bogey only to discover a huge floating city in the skies. From there, you'll control one of four factions as they battle to control this fantasy world.

The other really interesting thing about the game is that it's cast as the first "real-time strategy versus role-playing" game. In other words, you can play the game as a traditional real-time strategy game, in which you build up a base and an army and swarm the enemy, or you can play it more like a Diablo-style action role-playing game, in which you control a hero and go around the countryside slaying monsters, collecting new weapons and armor, and becoming even more powerful.

As you can expect, there are a huge variety of units in the game, from spearmen and regular grunts to fantastic units, such as huge dragons and Ents. The game itself feels inspired by Heroes of Might and Magic (only in real-time), and it has a very bright and colorful look to it. Throw in the interesting real-time versus role-playing game style, as well as the fact that you can have jet fighters battling dragons, and there's definitely some potential here. We'll find out when the game ships later this year.

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