Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Mobile Gaming: Rise of Lost Empires

Rise of Lost Empires

Rise of Lost Empires

Journalism professors tell you something along these lines: your job is to inform, to educate, to entertain, and… something else that I can’t really remember. Presumably, reviewing products falls loosely within those parameters. I’m informing you of a new game, and hopefully entertaining you a little along the way. I maintain an impartial stance toward the creators of the products I review, so as not to taint my report with inaccuracies or favoritism. Part of that is telling it like it is when you come across something that’s really, really bad. This is one of those times.

Big Bad Angry Orc

Big Bad Angry Orc

Rise of Lost Empires is the game I’m referring to; it’s a RTS of sorts, presumably designed to work well with a touch screen. In all truthfulness, the logo is really what snagged me – an angry orc, eyes all red and beady, with sharp pointy teeth and green skin. It’s what an orc should look like. It made the game look hardcore. Made it look like a Serious Title for Serious Gamers.

Lost Empires is by Gameloft. They’re one of the better-known and most-respected developers for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Most of their products are top-notch – games like Assassin’s Creed, Terminator Salvation, and Asphalt 4 have come out of that studio. Those are all good, and I’ve enjoyed them. This… not so much.

I bought this game because it got great reviews and because the screenshots and description implied something like Warcraft for the iPhone. That was complete crap. The game offers two single-player campaigns – one as humans, the other as orcs. The human campaign’s Chapter IV was one of the worst-designed levels I’ve played on the platform – in any major title, not just strategy – and Chapter V wasn’t much better. Controls feel gimmicky, the camera is a twitchy mess, and while touch-screen controls (in theory) should have worked well for an RTS, I was unimpressed. Difficulty went from quickly went from easy, boring, tutorial-type levels to OMFG they’re killing me so fast! Learning curves like that shouldn’t even be called learning curves. They should be called death curves.

Ugh.

Ugh.

There might be some good material if you slog through to the end. Maybe. I didn’t play that far, because I wasn’t interested in putting myself through torture. Theoretically, as a reviewer I should have played through the whole game, if only to let you  know that all of it sucked, not just some of it. Sorry – you’ll have to make do with my initial disgust instead of a full-blown, verbally abusive rampage. That’s life, kid.

Who knows – maybe you’ll enjoy the game. Maybe you’ll think the $4.99 price was totally worth it, instead of the biggest waste of money I’ve ever dropped in the App Store. Maybe. That being said, don’t get this game if you value your sanity. It sucks.

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July 10, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming, iPhone/iPod Touch | , , , , , ,

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