A perfect strategy game, where strategy in combat is the key to victory.

User Rating: 9.4 | Praetorians PC
Praetorians is a unique strategy game. You don’t create an army with resources, but you have a village with a certain amount of people, and you can recruit them. That’s how you build up your army. Of course, there are several villages, which you can capture, so you can recruit more people. And this is just the basic. In this game, the game is not focused on the certain amount of resources, but on the army itself. And that is unique, since many strategy games are focused on food, wood, et cetera.
But that doesn’t mean that the maps aren’t important, since your strategy is based on which map you are in. The map can include forests, mountains, rivers and more, which you can use to your advantage. Another realistic thing added in this game, are the weather effects, such as rain and snow. You also have grassy areas, in which you can hide, but be careful: since archers can let the grassy areas burn, with their fire arrows, so you have to choose your strategy careful.

Your troops can have soldiers up to 30 men. The Romans are in an organized formation, while the barbarians and Egyptians are in an unorganized formation. For the more advanced players, there is even more strategy, like dividing your armies, or combining two armies into one.
You can select an army by left clicking on a soldier, which will automatically select the whole army. Some armies have their own strong points. Some can put up a stationary formation, which is very effective against horses, such as equites, and some have poison in their arrows, which are effective against fast units. You have many different units, from scouts, who play a big part in the strategy, to gladiators, who can easily capture an army by throwing a net. It’s very important to use the map wisely, and to your advantage. Since trees and higher platforms can help you a lot. The enemy units, will not see you, unless they are at the same height as your units are. And they can only see you hiding in the forests, if they enter the forest, and if they are near your units. So you can kill many enemy units, without losing many of your own. There is also a campaign, which will help you learn the basics and how to achieve certain goals. Of course the campaign isn’t only basic training, there’s also an interesting story behind it. You will be doing various things, from capturing certain villages to defending or attacking fortresses. You can’t just rush in, since you’ll never be able to win the battle then. You have to choose your strategy carefully, because that’s the only key to victory. Even if you’re outnumbered you can still win a fight, without losing too many soldiers.

What also makes this game very good is the AI. They’re using strategy, just like real human players. They could use a unit as a decoy, or shoot from forests or higher platforms. But the one thing that completely changes the game is that you cannot flee from a fight, while fighting. If you’re battling with another army, you cannot retreat, unless you win or lose the fight, but luckily this is only in direct combat. Another thing that makes the game great, is the music in the game; smooth, instrumental music when you’re marching and hard music when you’re attacking or engaging an enemy. There’s not much music in it, but it is quite good, since it fits in the game. Too bad, the dialogues aren't flawless. It would be a nice addition if the strategy game contained mouth movements when talking and emotions and gestures when e.g. shouting or giving a speech, but luckily it doesn't really harm the gameplay or story. The graphics are reasonable; you can see the sharp edges of the units when zoomed in, though it doesn't bother you much, since zooming in isn;t something you do when fighting a battle or moving a unit from one place to another. What they did well was the movement of e.g. the trees, which actually moved when a unit or two tries to take cover in the woods. Birds come flying out, indicating that you have set foot into that particular area. Very useful as an opponent tries to flee. The conclusion: A perfect strategy game, which can steal the hearts out of many strategy gamers, and can be a challenge for all gamers.