Date of publish: 19/11/2020 18:14 CET
Just in case you weren’t already in “Alexander overload”, you can play a real-time strategy game based on the Hollywood flop. With a tag line of “Fortune Favors the Bold” one might have expected some sort of innovative new take on the genre, but don’t expect anything “bold” from Alexander. This rehash of generic RTS concepts should learn that “Obscurity Favors the Mediocre”.
The game follows the “adventures” of one of history’s most notable figures. (Perhaps “notorious” is more appropriate depending on your point of view.) The story starts with Alexander assuming the throne after his father’s assassination and setting out to fulfill his father’s dream: invading Persia.
Unfortunately, the game takes a story that was probably too long as a three hour movie and drags it out even more, forcing players to endure one contrived excuse after another for Alexander to be marching his unstoppable army around some generic countryside. There really doesn’t seem to be a point to much of the game other than to increase the total playing time.
Frankly, the story failed to captivate me at all. The poor translation is partly to blame, as is the voice acting, which ranged from bland to over-the-top. The soundtrack amounts to a handful of tracks from the movie, which repeat frequently enough to become annoying. Combined, these factors pretty well eliminated any possibility of immersion.
The game has a few things going for it, however. For one, the sheer number of units that can be on screen at once is impressive. Most other RTS games give you a unit cap of around one or two hundred. In Alexander, you’ll command literally thousands. The game’s claim of 8,000 units on screen at once isn’t fooling.
It doesn’t even make my PC cry for mercy, which is a technical marvel in itself. Thanks to a clever combination of 3D terrain and lots of nicely-detailed (but apparently 2D) sprites, the end result looks as good as a full 3D game while managing to avoid bogging down when the number of units gets huge. These things, combined with some really nice visual effects such as the water and fog of war, make Alexander beautiful.
Massive battles such as those possible in Alexander are impressive to watch, but somewhat less fun to conduct. First off, the units are tiny and visually distinguishing them is quite a challenge. Also, the going gets tough when it comes time to command the army into battle. Despite a few helpful features, such as squad-like unit grouping, tactics and strategy go right out the window. There are just too darn many units spread over a huge area for you to have any luck keeping track of what’s going on.
These control issues are only a problem, though, if you demand tactical strategy. Such micromanagement of warfare is hardly necessary in Alexander. The armies are so powerful as to reduce most battles to jumbled masses of tiny thrashing figures from which you’re almost guaranteed to emerge victorious. The game is easy on the normal difficulty setting. This is great news if you’re new to RTS games, but just about anyone else with previous experience will be disappointed.
Skirmish and Multiplayer options include random or pre-built maps. Multiplayer supports up to seven players in a game. Players can cooperate against computer AI enemies or compete with one-another.
Okay, so we have a bad translation of a bland story, poorly voiced and accompanying a mediocre gaming experience that’s almost devoid of challenge. Can I recommend it? Unfortunately…no. Sure, the game’s relative lack of challenge might appeal to folks who are new to RTS games, but frankly there are much better games available to ease such players into the genre.
Written by Snapper
Original date of publish: 26.03.2005