Sunday, April 18, 2010

Zeus and Prince of Persia

Yesterday I installed two games. The first one, Prince of Persia I hadn’t played ever, while the second one, Zeus: Master of Olympus, I hadn’t played in a very long time.

Prince of Persia is the newest game in the Prince of Persia series. This one takes a break from the Sands of Time story and introduces a new prince and a new setting. Personally, I like this game a lot more than any of the others I played. I played Sands of Time and while I was never very good, I really like the setting and the style and tone of the game. It was a light, somewhat happy story about a young guy out to save the world. I got stuck and never returned to the game (I do that a lot, actually) but I really enjoyed what I remember of the game. My brother won it, so that kinda made up for me not doing so, I felt.

However, I did not like Warrior Within, the second game in the Sands of Time series. The game was, in short, too dark. It had the cool factor going for it, I admit. But, in hindsight, it wasn’t nearly as strong as Sands of Time. The third game in this series, Two Thrones, I never even played, but my brother did and he liked it enough. He said it was better than Warrior Within, but it still seemed to operate on the same premise and just didn’t really didn’t make me want to play it.

However, this new Prince of Persia is just up my alley. First of all, it’s a whole lot easier. Now, take that for what you will, but I personally prefer a game that’s a bit easier. One of my frustrations with older Prince of Persia games was the fact that you could die rather easily if you messed up badly enough and it relied on a checkpoint system versus a “save whenever” system. This new game has a “save whenever” system. There are other things that make the game easier, perhaps too easy, I admit, but I’m really happy the designers chose this method for the newest Prince of Persia.

Also, combat has been increased a hundred fold. Combos are now nice and easy to pull off and look properly cool. Instead of fighting multiple enemies at once and having to use a boring combination of mashing a dozen buttons to get a super attack, you fight one enemy at a time. Combos are also a lot simpler and make a lot more sense.

I haven’t played the game much, but it seems like a very solid game, and I hope more Prince of Persia games like it are released.

The other game I installed is called “Zeus: Master of Olympus.” A sequel, of sorts, to the game Caesar III, Zeus puts you in charge of an Ancient Greek city. The game features several large campaigns, mostly loosely based off Greek myths. The game has an awesome sense of humor and a very solid design at its root and makes for hours and hours of amazing gameplay.

Like other City Management games Zeus gives you the tools to construct a powerful city. The base of the game involves creating a powerful core city that can be expanded upon as the city grows. Build a small housing area, and then provide the houses with the essential services: food, water, security, health, etc. As more services are provided the houses will improve and demand more services such as culture, appeal, fleece, and olive oil. Improved houses pay more taxes and house more people, allowing you to further improve the city.

Anyways, while the game may sound really complicated, the designers have simplified it to allow players to quickly and easily manage their city. I think perhaps the most entertaining thing about the game is how carefully everything must balance in order to have a successful city.

One scenario I recently played requires me to create a colony for my primary city and then provide my primary city with tribute in the form of wine and lumber. I set up my basic city: farms for food, fountain, granary, agora (marketplace) and housing. However, I made a mistake and the worker shortage I had early game (not a problem, I thought because I would get more workers once my houses improved) meant my farms collapsed before harvest! This meant I had a food shortage for several game years and it took me some fancy doing to finally work through the food shortage, which lead to a labor shortage, which meant I couldn’t harvest lumber or tend my grapes, to finally win the level.

I think that is ultimately why I love Zeus. The game is a very simple, but solving the problems can really be hard. I move back to my old city and find I need 100 more workers (in a city of 2800 that’s really a small amount) but to do so I need to build more houses, which means a new agora, but this agora is too far away from my old granary and old warehouse that stores all my food, fleece and olive oil. So I build new ones. Then I run out of fleece, so I stop exporting fleece, but then I run out of money, so I stop importing wine, because I get enough in tribute, and slowly, slowly, I fix my cities infrastructure back to where it should be. Meanwhile I slowly build up to my current goal: summon Jason to slay the Talos and rid my city of the foul beast! (Doing so is not easy: Jason wants you to have quite the army! 2 companies of horsemen and 2 triremes, not to mention a LOT of food and some wine).

Anyways, I should get back to school now. Maybe if I work hard I’ll have time to play more Zeus! ^_^


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DexterSeibe2178 said...
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