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Posted on May 31, 2008 in Electronic Games

Imperium Romanum – PC Game Review

Jim H. Moreno

In Caesar IV, missions begin with an open area, and allow players to begin constructing their city anywhere within that area. I find this to often be as much a bother as it is a benefit, as I sit and mentally struggle about where exactly on the map would be the best place to start my city, taking into account the geography and any available resources. In IR, missions come with a pre-built Forum that may be used as a starting location. I say may, because with the addition of the Warehouse, which can be placed almost anywhere on the map as long as the resources are at hand, a player does not have to start building at the Forum. Indeed, the Forum can almost be ignored as a building site entirely, if a player finds a much better location to build the city. I did not come upon any limit to the number of Warehouses that may be placed, either.  It is very possible that, with the use of Warehouses, a player could build a single megalopolis that spans the entire width and breadth of the map much easier than can be done in Caesar IV.


Of course, no perfect game exists, Imperium Romanum included.  I did encounter a couple of items that are not up to par with the rest of the excellent gameplay, items which could be easily repaired, and I am in hopes they will be.  Concerning employment, I found two items that I have yet to fully understand: 

I often get a message from a disgruntled citizen complaining about a lack of this or that, and just as often I see that citizen is unemployed. At the same time, I know there is an open job well within the area of effect of that sim-citizen’s home. Why have they not taken that position? Selecting a citizen brings up an information panel, and on this window is the option to have the citizen attempt to fulfill his or her current need. What is also needed is a "hire me" option, or some other way to match an individual directly with an open job.

I am also wondering if the game is rather sexist when it comes to the division of labor. Selecting the Forum opens an information panel that gives an overview of the status of your city, including the number of open jobs and how many men and women are unemployed. I have yet to have every female in my populace employed, yet the same panel is telling me there are a number of open jobs. Are those male-only positions? If so, what exactly are those positions, and what are the female-only jobs? The manual fails to document this, as do the official forums. Lack of knowing does not halt gameplay or conflict with the fun of it, but knowing would surely allow me to build much more efficient cities.

The IR forum at the Kalypso Media website also lists more than a few bugs with gameplay. I didn’t read every single post, but a skimming them has me thinking many of those bugs were present before the North American release or perhaps were only present in the beta version. So far, I’ve only found a couple of things that I would consider as bugs. There is a bit of lag in gameplay when there’s a storm. Also, it is quite difficult to precisely place buildings where wanted, as the cursor has the tendency to jump about. Zooming the camera all the way in helps somewhat, but it is still a pain when trying to place a monument or garden just so among a group of other buildings.

The official IR Web site has an update for the game, along with a downloadable tech tree diagram and game demo.  According to the Web site, the "Conquest of Britannia’"value pack, with four new missions, new tablets, and improved art and game designs, was scheduled to be released May 30 for a price of £ 3.99 / € 4.99.

Imperium Romanum is an entertaining and very enjoyable game, worthy to wear a crown of laurels and claim the Roman city-building RTS throne, at least until the release of Caesar V, of which there is no word yet. It is well-suited for original and inspired gameplay for PC gamers.  Hail Imperium Romanum!

Armchair General Score 88%



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