May 31, 2016

Centurion - Ranking

Story & World

It's sorta ironic that in a lot of RPGs, I'm the hero trying to stop some guy from taking over the world, but here I'm attempting to do that very thing.  Normally, when I reach a new village or town, I'm greeted with open arms and/or accosted with requests to do something heroic.  Here, every new nation visited regarded Rome with either open hostility or barely restrained hostility.  It's kinda fun to play the villain for once and I played it with all the arrogance and douchebaggery of a real Roman.  Since the game is based on real life and not fantasy, the villains can (and often will) win, regardless of whether or not some plucky teenager has quested for some magic sword.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail went into the diplomacy of each nation.  Each had its own distinct picture and its own set of branching dialogue.  The bonus scene with Cleopatra wins the award in the category of Most Engaging Female NPC in a Strategy or Simulation Game.  However, these are merely a few gems lying amidst the lack of engaging story and explorable world that would expect from a not-RPG.  8/20

Character Development

As one rises in rank, they are able to command more legions as well as larger.  Having only two unit types (infantry and cavalry) is embarrassing enough as is, but is made even worse in that the ratio of the two types is static, with cavalry being about 10% the size of infantry.  So, no pure cavalry units are available to Rome, even though enemy nations managed to do it.  And yes, I'm still pretty pissed that I was denied war elephants after getting myself super stoked for them.  Individual legions can gain experience but I'm not exactly sure what that does for them and, more importantly, I don't fucking care.  I just wanted to witness a legion of my own battle 'phants stamping some hapless barbarians into a bloody paste or throw them up into the air in a comedic fashion.  Instead, what I got was bupkis, so that's exactly what you get, game.  Taste it.  0/20

Combat & Monsters

After finishing the game, I went back and re-ran a few battles, trying out each of the tactics and just letting the idiot computer do its thing.  None of the tactics seemed to make a huge difference except for Scipio's Defense, which is sweet because that's what I used most of the time since I couldn't be bothered trying to command troops directly due to the retarded shouting ranges the generals had.  The ship battle mini-"game" is just as clunky as it is stupid and pointless (and ugly).  The chariot race is the one saving grace of the whole game.  Don't get me wrong, it's a little unwieldy and awkward as well (though not as bad as the other two), but I can't be upset with something that still makes me smile whenever I think of that poor centurion bleeding out in front of hundreds of his fellow Romans.  To be clear, all the points in this category are solely due to the chariot race.  5/20

Graphics & Sound

The graphics get the job done, I suppose, but there's not a whole lot of graphics going on either.  The only two outstanding examples are the splash screens just before a chariot race or naval battle begins.  Okay, okay, I'll admit the war elephants are super cute too.

C:DoR kicks off with an epic, period-appropriate piece of music that so impressed me the first time that I didn't start the game until giving it a thorough listening to.  Once in the game proper, a less bombastic version of the song permeates the world map only to be replaced by dead silence when entering any territory to do actual game stuff.  10/20

Gameplay

Normally, a strategy game can make up for points lost from the first three categories, since the nebulous term gameplay can be applied to any game.  I love me muh strategy games and would have done a whole blog about them except for the fact that RPGs are far more suitable for the light-hearted tone of Inconsolable.  Plus, RPGs have a set start and finish whilst strategy games heavily encourage multiple replays and never really end, so the decision for blogging RPGs was also a matter of reasonable pacing as well.

Centurion's failing is that its strategy components is too simplistic and lacks depth.  The previous Koei strategy games I've done are simple as well, but they have some depth to them, at least enough to make me want to replay them.  Centurion didn't hit that switch for me.  Perhaps it should have spent more of its resources on actual strategy instead of crappy mini-games and trying to be funny.  Or perhaps I'm just jealous that some obscure Genesis game managed to be more humorous than my entire blog.  Either way, I can't recommend Centurion: Defender of Rome for anything other than the chariot race, which I highly recommend.  3/20

Final Ranking:  26/100