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Uprising Empires review

Uprising Empires review


Free-to-play / browser based MMO

Publisher: Targa Limited

Released: 2011

Uprising Empires

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Uprising Empires is the very first game I’ve played in the MMORTS genre that doesn’t confuse me as to why anybody.... has managed to move the genre on a little bit.... is still one of the few that I’d actually recommend somebody play.

Over the past few weeks I’ve decided there is no genre in the gaming world that has as many titles but with as little variety as the MMORTS. The game begins with a stupidly long tutorial and then you find yourself sitting and waiting for something to happen as you build up a city that has more or less the same characteristics as every other city in the game and then, when you’re finished playing as much as you can stand, the developer dangles the carrot that is “speed up your game with this cheap diamond pack” in front of your face. I didn’t expect Uprising Empires to be any different because, let’s face it, we’ve all been stung by the hype.

Uprising Empires review Uprising Empires is a new MMORTS game


Choose your side

At the sign up screen you get to choose which empire to represent; the Mongols, the Byzantine empire, the Turks and Jerusalem are all selectable although the differences are mainly aesthetic. Still, it’s nice to have a choice to make so early in the game and to have any choice at all in an MMORTS. Each kingdom has its own advantages and disadvantages, some are more powerful, others have higher defence and others can collect resources faster. For somebody just beginning the game, you’ll want to choose the more balanced Mongols, but for long term players, it’ll be nice to have different options. You can also choose from male or female characters, but you only get one of each for each race.

Uprising Empires review Uprising Empires is a new MMORTS game

Skip the tutorial, oh yeah!

Within moments of actually getting into Uprising Empires, my opinion was changed. For the first time ever we’ve reviewed an MMORTS game that allows you to skip the tutorial. I wouldn’t suggest doing so though because, as tempting as it is to use a feature that you’ve never seen before, the tutorial itself is rather short and just talks you through the basics, rather than the usual multiple-hour tutorial in which you see everything the game has to offer. If I can’t say anything else for the game, at least the developers understand the frustration of being guided for too long. By the end of the tutorial you’ll have everything you need to get on in the game, enough to build armies and crush enemies. Uprising Empires did in ten minutes what it takes most other games in the genre hours to accomplish.

And now you're on your own

Within 11 easy steps you’ll have built resource stations, invaded an enemy and learnt about premium items. That’s not bad for ten minutes work. After that you’re completely and utterly on your own and at first it’s difficult to know exactly what to do. You’ve been told to build your empire and told how to do it but the rest is up to you. It’s frightening and enjoyable at the same time because, for the first time, strategy actually seems to be involved in playing a real time strategy MMO. As such I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to people new to the genre because there comes to a point where you just stop and think “well, what the hell should I do now?” and that’s never good if you don’t know where to go from there.

Uprising Empires review Uprising Empires is a new MMORTS game

Quests and more quests

That’s not to say that there aren’t quests to do. You can earn extra resources by doing certain things but, in all honesty, I didn’t even realize it was there until the amount I’d accidentally done caught my attention and I clicked to see what that rapidly growing number was. When I checked, there were 13 or so quests and I’d finished 12 of them by accident. The next set offered me another five quests. Not having to worry too much about constantly doing what I was told or losing out on resources is very freeing and makes the game feel that much less linear when compared with similar games. The addition of daily quests also means you’re not always going to be the same sorts of things.

Battle is also a little more complicated than usual, although not by a great deal. Instead of just training a certain amount of soldiers (which is the equivalent of waiting 20 seconds per soldier and spending some resources) you must also choose people to lead the charge. You can hire a hero from a tavern, the hero you choose will have positive effects on your army as a whole. Not only that, but you can also acquire defensive and offensive extras to equip your heroes with, further boosting the threat your army poses. Setting up armies and hiring heroes is easy to do but gives you something to do other than just sitting and waiting, although that still forms part of what you’ll need to do to raise and army. It’s not perfect, but it’s far closer than most.

Graphics and sound

Graphically, it’s rather static but not terrible. Little people work in your fields and in your mines and that’s about all the movement you can expect. Still, it seems hand drawn and that’s always a nice style to see, especially when mixed with quite a bit of colour. The maps are also different enough that you never feel you’re drudging through the same old rubbish, a problem that many games in the genre suffer quite badly from. There’s no sound, which is disappointing because, frankly, as much as I tend to turn off music while playing a browser game it’s always nice to have a choice.

Typical faults

And, as much as Uprising Empires has rapidly grown on me, it still shares the same faults as almost any game in the genre. You still find yourself waiting for things to happen, you still find yourself moving between the same three or four screens and, once you’ve finished moving from screen to screen, waiting some more. It’s a game for people who don’t want to play a game, but want to fill their time on their dinner break or when they think nobody is looking during a meeting and, despite being slightly more open than the average MMO, it still suffers from having you stop playing for far too long.

Uprising Empires review Uprising Empires is a new MMORTS game

And, being free-to-play, you can be sure that you’ll be reminded of how much faster the game could be if you just handed over a little cash. Every battle you enter into, every building you being to construct and every action you choose to take will be delayed by the reminder that you’re playing something for which you haven’t paid a penny. Not only that, but you can pay for the ability to build more items at once or to see without damage whether you’d win a battle or not. If you choose to pay in Uprising Empires, you’re going to be dominating your local area in absolutely no time at all.

I'll share it, alright!

On top of that, Facebook advertisements are left, right and centre, constantly on display and always in your face. It’s a shame really, because I absolutely feel like sharing this game with people I know will enjoy it but when I consider just how much time and effort has gone into making me want to put everything I do onto my Facebook wall, it completely puts me off. This is actually one of the first games I’ve seen in a while that offers bonus items in return for a referred friend, so that should give you some idea of what to expect when playing.

Uprising Empires review


Uprising Empires Despite some pretty harsh attempts at marketing, Uprising Empires is the very first game I’ve played in the MMORTS genre that doesn’t confuse me as to why anybody would want to play it for any length of time. I don’t enjoy the feeling of being babied by a game and, while you don’t have to go completely without aid, the developers have given you the option to go it alone. Uprising Empires has managed to move the genre on a little bit and that’s something that it desperately needs. And though it still suffers from certain things – waiting way too long for things to build and trying to make me spend my hard earned cash in return for an easier life – it is still one of the few that I’d actually recommend somebody play.

© 2012
M. Growcott

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