This game has all the makings of a good Roman city builder, yet not quite...

User Rating: 4.5 | Grand Ages: Rome PC
When I launched the game I was astonished by the nearly flawless graphics of this game, though my expectations were indeed high from the beginning.

At the main menu you are presented with several choices; Campaign, Battle Tutorial, Tutorial, Free Build etc. The game's menu interface are really great and easy to navigate, and when you're prepared to launch a game in, let's say, Free Build, you're presented with a basic selection of governors.

There are five families to choose from, each with their own assets, as well as the option to play as a female. The name of the governor/governess is up to, while the family name is preset.

Next up is the scenario selection where you can choose from a wide variety of cities/regions in the Roman Empire. Here too, the graphics are A+. When you finally enter the beautifully textured map with with native villages spread across the map, you feel the urge to start building your city. That when you run into your first problem; the camera!

Everything about the camera is extremely annoying. For example the zoom is pretty much no use with slow reactions and only three or four available zooms; "I can see through the textures", "I can only see one building", "I can't see the big picture" and "I can see everything, but can't build". When it zooms out and in it does so in steps, not a smooth scroll kind of zoom. When you turn the camera, you might find that you see the INSIDE of a mountain and not your settlement.

The construction browser is innovative, simple and logical. Under production you'll find e.g. lumber shed and flax farm, while you find wheat farm and fishing hut under food. This menu is accessed by right-clicking anywhere on the map, which is really wonderful. Other menus are public, military, religion etc. Bear in mind that when you construct a building it has to be in close proximity to another building, otherwise in can't be constructed.

When you constructed a couple of building you'll soon bump into your second problem; FIRE! When I started playing my first game 2 out 5 of my building burnt down while it was raining! There's nothing you can do about either, other than destroying your building to avoid the fire spreading.

Natural disaster are actually unnaturally frequent and your citizens, apparently, love to riot. All in all this game has much of what you'd expect from a top flight Roman city builder, yet not quite, because the good doesn't make up for the bad...