Glory of the Roman Empire Review (PC)

Ave Prefect! Gather your scrolls together and your best toga as itís time to serve the most impressionable civilization the World has ever endured Ė the Roman Empire.

Aqueducts are for crucial for inland settlements
Towns start sparse and humble

I couldnít wait to get the full game in front of me ever since I had to pleasure of playing a preview version not so long ago. For those of have never heard of Glory of the Roman Empire, youíre bestowed one of the greatest honours a Roman could hope to achieve Ė the position of Governor. Instead of tasked with Rome or some outlying town for your whole career, you have the choice to jump in and out assuming control where you please.

So if you fancy a change of scenery, pace or general challenges you can up and go to another province. If you get sick of the grasslands in Florence then go for an ambitious city based in the desert. There are many possibilities with each, of course a desert many not be the best place for farming and many builds could catch fire but it could have strengths in raw material deposits.

Towns can trade with each other so for those that canít stay self sufficient, sending wood in return for meat is a crucial exchange. As a town expands it may be necessary to trade in order to secure a flow of gold, after all how are you going to pay the slave masters for a new stock of cost effective labourers?

The engine is a fantastic choice; it comes with all the bells and whistles in settings. The buildings look attractive especially as the day and night cycle plays out. There are so many rich textures that as you keep on developing youíll be overseeing a beautiful array of colours as they blend about town.

Slaves are the crux of your career, without them absolutely nothing would get built, transported or maintained. As you build more and with the increase in population it is paramount you secure as many new slave orders as you can. The reason for this is because each citizen has needs, so if suddenly the bakery runs out of flour then thereís no more bread. No more bread means a deficit of a basic need, which will lead to disillusion and could eventually cause a rebellion.

Keeping the whole system running like clockwork is all that matters, as Governor that is your job after all. Once youíve settled the town you can then fill your rota with more indulging projects such as placing gardens, ornaments and mighty trees. The tutorial easily explains all this and does so piece by piece, it slowly activates the citizensí needs also to better manage your Roman education.

Okay so build some houses then shove in farms and a couple of shops Ė is that it? No of course not, in between all the shoving and placing youíll be doing thereís another twist. Each building has a radius, now for houses this indicates how far they are willing to travel for work. For something like a butcher shop it is how far it serves customers. Altars and other public buildings have another ring which helps increase the prestige of an area. If a house falls under this prestige for example it can be upgraded as you now provide a high quality amenity.

Easy to use build menu
Small fishing quay

Unlike other titles such as the great and classic Caesar series, homes donít degrade if certain commodities arenít continually supplied. Many might criticize this saying itís too easy to have a top-notch looking city, well youíd be right and wrong. As I said earlier if needs go unfulfilled you could be looking at a full revolt on your hands, so things might look pretty but it could get very ugly.

Fortunately there are ways to combat this bold, treasonous mob and thatís by putting them to the sword! Of course first you must have access to a Prefecture which is mainly tasked with keeping accidental fires in check. However if a few rough types decide youíre not good enough for the toga, then they can help quall unrest. You can also build a barracks and produce three different types of soldier for those looking to serve their Emperor. Remember combat is a minor mechanic as this game prefers to focus on city building than any battlefield.

Sounds are great too; itís very calming to hear water streaming along next to your fledgling town. Birds cheep in the woods and the day to day street traffic of your Roman people keep you company well. As an option you can even have Latin, for those looking for the more hardcore Empire experience.

Another thing to watch and oversee is the job vacancies themselves as some jobs are only suited to male or female. This is one slight draw back which could have been coded better perhaps as it can be an annoyance. Say if you have two unemployed women and a stone quarry has two free jobs, the game doesnít automatically prioritise gender assignments. Two men could be working in the bakery which can be taken up by women, so in order to resolve this you can temporarily shut down the bakery so the men will go work at the quarry. Reopen the bakery and then the women will take their place, you have to keep watch on this or you could build more houses than you need.

Once youíve taken over or built your own thriving city it can become hard to manage, luckily Glory of the Roman Empire comes with easy to understand statistical overviews which help you gather a quick overall glance at the ins and outs. Youíll be concerned with balancing resources of all kinds; there is no worry about taxation. The only time you need to deal in any form of currency would be gathering gold for one off payments for more slaves.

Structures themselves come with a maintenance resource so it would be a sad mistake to destroy clay pits just because you think you wonít be building anymore. Theyíll collapse after a while so always make sure youíre in the positive. All those resource materials about can be a burden to get from point A to B, until you build the handy warehouse. Once built the resources are placed inside, but why they are so great is because that same resource can then be accessed at any other warehouse even if itís across the other end of the map. Thatís Roman slave material distribution for you!

Youíll come to rely on the towns many taverns; their immediate role is a relaxing environment for the hard working. They also must be constructed to expand; otherwise you can forget all those new housing projects you had in mind. The other is gossip, which serves as perhaps the best information gathering tool in the game. Here you can learn all about the troubles in the immediate neighbourhood and act on it.

To actually build structures is very easy, right click the ground and a radial menu appears. From there you select which category, the menu shifts and gives another array of options for the actual structure you would like to place. Fast and easy access to the builds you want which for a city builder is everything.

You can choose to follow the campaign which at first will lead you through the tutorial and eventually onto challenging missions. You could also opt to follow your own destiny and choose Free-build mode which will let you select various destinations unhindered.

Easy to follow tutorial
Keep on top of citizens' needs

Glory of the Roman Empire is a great game for those looking to create a functional and beautiful Roman legacy. It has a gorgeous engine which lets you create stunning scenes with your towns and cities. Anyone with a flare for simpler Latin times or who really enjoy city builders Ė you donít want to miss out on this for your collection. I said last time to keep your Imperial eye on this one, well now itís time to get your hands on it!

Top Game Moment:
Seeing my new stock of sturdy slaves enter the town under my Arch of Triumph.