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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Black Hole Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

 

- Decent WarCraft / Starcraft clone

- Great cinematics

 

 

- Still a WarCraft / Starcraft clone

- Sluggish loading and (occasionally) gameplay

- Lacks anything that stands out

 

 

Review: WarCraft III (PC)

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Review: Codename Panzers, Phase 1 (PC)

 

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Armies of Exigo

Score: 7.4 / 10

 

When you first take a look at Armies of Exigo, it's pretty clear what the developers had in mind - this is a Warcarft clone through and through. Which makes sense the developers, Black Hole Entertainment, is a small formation of hardcore real time strategy geeks from Hungary. Not that this is a bad thing by any means, as Blizzard has been too enamored in MMORPGs to care much about their real time strategy fans, and WarCraft 3 left some disappointed. Armies of Exigo is unashamed of its roots, and mimcs Blizzard's classics to the point of near-copyright infringement.

 

armies of exigo review          armies of exigo review

 

There are three races in Exigo: The Empire (humans), the Beasts (orcs) and the Fallen. All of these are blatantly familiar, except for the Fallen, a race of alien insects that clearly take some inspiration from the Zerg in Starcraft. Like WarCraft 3, you have to play the scenarios in order, and cannot jump into different campaigns for the start. For the most part, veterans should know the drill when it comes to these types of games - many simply revolve around careful resource management to create an army that carefully balances offense and defense, although some revolve around a bit of scouting and questing. Again, it's pretty typical - the only real addition to the maps are underground tunnels, effectively doubling the size of the playing field. It can get even more confusing trying to keep track of everything, but those looking for more gigantic, epic battles will surely find it.

 

These features don't add up to a whole lot, unfortunately. While WarCraft's storyline was pretty clearly ripped off from Lords of the Rings and other fantasy staples, Armies of Exigo doesn't even come close to the extraordinary depth that Blizzard put into their titles. Similarly, much of the trademark Blizzard humor is nowhere to be found. I don't necessarily expect that clicking repeatedly on my characters will elicit humorous responses, but games like this really, REALLY need personality to stand out, and there's none of that Exigo. The game as a whole feels rather unrefined too, as the naggling AI little flaws from the older games are still apparent. You scratch your head and wonder why units stand picking their noses while their friends not two inches away are engaging in brutal combat. Even the interface is out of the olden days.

 

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The visuals are crisp, with detailed, nicely textured characters models. Although, like the rest of the game, their designs are a bit lacking in imagination, with the exception of the twisted, multi-legged Fallen. The gigantic portraits of each of the characters are well animated, but without any variety or anything interesting to say, they lack the personality that the designers were obviously attempting. It also seems to eat up too many resources.  On my machine, the game ran smoothly until any semblance of combat, at 

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which is stuttered and spurred. More aggravating is switching between the ground and cavern sections, which is usually accompanied by a few seconds of choppy loading. And despite having 512 MB of RAM, load times were atrocious, often taking several minutes just to reload a save game. Furthermore, the game requires a a GEForce or Nvidia card, which is a little strange, given that there really aren't any special effects going on.

 

armies of exigo review          armies of exigo review

 

Its the details, or rather, the lack thereof, that ultimately prove Armies of Exigo to be just another RTS clone, albeit a well done one. Still, the developers knew what they were going for, and they accomplished it. Fans who got tired of the formula back in the late 90s will be filled with yawns; however, they certainly knows their audience. Newcomers may also want to stay away. Not only is the game pretty unforgiving - even the "Easy" difficulty setting on the Skirmish mode is likely to crush newbies - but the likes of WarCraft 3 have advanced the genre so that this feels just a little antiquated.  This game is cleary made by fans for fans, for those that still spend their early mornings raising Zerglings. And those are the ones that will take the greatest enjoyment out of Armies of Exigo.

 

- Kurt Kalata

(April 20, 2005)

 

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