Empire Earth III
The Empire Earth-series has managed to keep me busy already for countless hours and so I was really looking forward to part three. Unfortunately, it seems three isn’t a sharm this time.
A short tutorial shows you around in the wondrous world of Empire Earth III. However, it quickly becomes clear this world isn’t so wondrous but more resembles Dantes Inferno.
Trees but no resources
Making certain things simpler can bring some advantages but there are limits. In EEIII the entire resources system has been thrown overboard in order to make room for only three: rough ores, wealth and research. The ores are in fact traditional resources put together on a pile; whether you collect wood or rocks, it all gets put in the same group and is used for building any building and training any soldier.
West VS East
Food apparently isn’t necessary in this world. On top of that you can only find resources in certain “deposits” and not every forest is a source for wood which means your income is strongly limited. You can speed things up by using more collectors but also that amount is limited.
Limitations is all there is in this game it seems as also the civilizations suffer from this with only three being available: the Western, the Eastern and the Far Eastern ones. Those don’t differ too much from each other and also don’t show too much depth. It’s difficult to make a choice if all options are equally bad.
Time travel does exist?
Although this Empire Earth is situated on Earth and is supposed to play during its history, there’s little to show for it. The five parts in time (ancient, medieval, colonial, modern, future) are again an illustration of simplification gone too far. Where before you at least had the feeling of working with “history” you now get the impression you’ve arrived on a dumb alien planet that accidentally looks like Earth. Also, with the right resources (or provinces in World Domination), you can go through the time periods before even beginning with building a world empire.
Another absolute disaster is the absence of anything original. The World Domination mode is just about the only new element but that world sphere isn’t so new anymore ever since Rise of Nations was released. On top of that they forgot to take over the good things about such a world map. You can assign different functions to provinces (like military province for additional armies), but this ends up being an empty box as certain parameters already in advance point which province is best suited for what. Giving one another function is meaningless as it would result in a reduced efficiency.
Nope, rather stupid fellows
At certain moments I experienced a couple of tough bugs. Most of the time it’s CTDs that randomly seem to pop up and although patching did partially resolve that problem, they still keep happening.
The A.I. of both friends and foes is ridiculously stupid for a RTS game of this time. Enemies usually go for a full frontal attack with everything and everyone they got, which makes them an easy prey. Your troops on the other hand aren’t much smarter. Chevaliers will go head on without waiting for the rest to follow and explorers seem to be more interested in the already known territory than terra incognita.
On a number of areas you get on one side beautiful graphical details (especially the buildings) while other parts are plain ugly (grass, trees, units). So, also on the image quality this game doesn’t do all too great. The music is alright but the sound effects drop the ball now and then. There are some really irritating sentences your units will shout every time you click on them and these could have easily been left out.
In short: a huge smear on the image of the entire Empire Earth series.