Dragon Throne: Battle of Red Cliffs
|a game by||Object Software Limited|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
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There was a time when the words 'Made in China' meant the toy you held was a shoddy, often dangerous copy of a Western product. Teddy bears with ill-sown beady eyes that could choke a child. Plastic soldiers that would go up like a Roman candle if you even lit a cigarette in the same room. But standards rose, and before long, everything from Barbie to Action Man was being manufactured in that most populous country, and to the highest of standards.
Well, it looks like that same trend has begun, only this time, in the realm of computer games. First came Three Kingdoms: Fate Of The Dragon (which proved to be a fairly solid RTS on its release two years ago), and now, from the same Chinese developer, comes Dragon Throne: Battle Of Red Cliffs, a historical RTS and almost identical game. The engine has aged so badly that Dragon Throne now plays like a tacky, ill-conceived simulacrum. Though, as far as we know, it’s in no way hazardous.
Unleash The Dragon
The game follows a civil war fought in medieval China. The three campaigns allow you to assume the roles of one of three warlords, and your commanders gain experience and acquire new powers and extra health as the story goes on.
Before the carnage is unleashed, though, the familiar rigmarole of setting up an economy awaits. As in strategy games such as Age Of Empires or Stronghold, this should be a pleasure. Here it is an all too familiar chore that any RTS fan could accomplish in their sleep, compounded by an ugly interface. Chop down trees, harvest grain, mine stone - it’s all so mundane that even the odd twist such as having to breed the horses, which you then use as steeds for cavalry, can’t redeem it. Other interesting touches, such as natural disasters and a sacrifice system to appease the gods, similarly get buried in the tedium of the building malarkey.
As in Earth 2150, missions here can take place on interrelating maps. One map may represent the wilderness, and another the city, with a gateway allowing units to cross between the two. Visually, it’s weak, with tiny, ill-animated troops, and basic, repetitive geography. Your guys get lost behind trees, they can’t be organised into formations, and they mill about with all the intelligence of a group of clock-work toys in the tactic-less battles.
Your heroes’ special powers such as summoning ghostly warriors and unleashing thunderous attacks are vital in a fight, but finding the right buttons to click or bizarrely placed hotkey to hit at the right moment can be a brutally frustrating task.
Attempts to introduce cutscenes using the game engine are disastrous, leaving you wondering who is saying what? No doubt they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future, but for now this is one Chinese developer that needs to go back to the drawing board and have a drastic rethink.
Download Dragon Throne: Battle of Red Cliffs
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP