52 of 55 people (95%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
15.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2014
I am completely smitten by the game. Never did I expect to stumble on this gem in 2014 and enjoy it as much as I did. I always liked RTS genre with a twist, and what a twist RPG addition is! This is simple, yet brilliantly executed game gives you full creative freedom of an RTS game, but throws in a Hero who can level up and equip items. Seems simple enough, until you get your hero to level 80, who singlehandedly can shift the balance of the battlefield, unless you bring a significant army against him, or shut him down early on. This is an amazing little strategy game which brings novelty and freshness to its gameplay. Campaign is really cheesy and cringy, but varied and extremely entertaining. Some magnificent easter eggs to be had there that make you beg developers for a Sequel.
44 of 56 people (79%) found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
30.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2014
What do you need to know about Russian-made strategies? They are awesome and epic. If you like Warcraft, Age of Empires and Spellforce - you can forget about them. If only creaters of HAE could had more possibilities to continiue developing of this series, the game would become the only and the greatest of all fantasy strategies. Nice graphics, video and comics, decent story, epic battels - This is Heroes of Annihilated Empires. Also easter eggs.
27 of 28 people (96%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 18, 2015
After 14+ hours with this game's campaign (and still more to go), and a few more hours with it's Skirmish mode vs AI, I can say that this game truly is a hidden gem of the RTS genre. Though the campaign story writing is cheesy and corny to an extreme, it is at least voiced by somewhat professional English-speaking actors. And though the writing is silly, the actual mechanics of the campaign were designed by an obviously smart and thoughtful team of people (even if English wasn't their first language...).
I've honestly never had as much drive in an RTS campaign to finish each mission as I've had in this game. The scenarios are very challenging and may require some reloads, but none of them (so far) are broken or impossible. The game rewards micromanaging but also overall strategy, and the units, damage types, spells, and technologies are very well thought out and designed. The game had bad PR, a questionable name, a foreign developer, and some strange design choices, but it was clearly made by hardcore gamers with a deep understanding of RTS mechanics and an exceedingly creative spirit. This is the last (and probably the best) game in the strange and exotic Cossacks series from long ago.
Add to this the fact that this game's graphics are easily some of the best ever from the mid 2000's era, and I was very impressed with the look and feel and how well it aged, even though I tend to be a graphics snob. The sheer wealth of fantasy creatures, all of which look pretty awesome even by Windows 7, 2015 standards, is amazing for a game this old.
The game has flaws for sure and a few bugs occured during the campaign, but basically, it's a ridiculously good buy for the content you get (expect about 20 h for the solo campaign), and is a great blast from the past if you're in a nostalgic mood. It is a tragedy the game's developers are now mostly defunct, though I do believe there is a community out there who still appreciates this game.
Please message or friend me if you are interested in doing some multiplayer skirmish games. I'm trying to put together a group that is willing to play on the occasional evening, because, even though the AI seems somewhat competent even on Normal, the sheer wealth of this game's units and spell strategies are best suited for the discerning mind of a human player.
22 of 23 people (96%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
188.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2014
I love the game. Don't let my hours fool you, I've played this since release. I saw it here and I wanted it on my Steam for a computer that the original disk won't work with so I bought it again here. I literally probably easily have 300-400 hours in this one, if not more, as I've played it at least weekly since 2006.
The campaign is ok, can be difficult but it is good for teaching you about the heroes and the units. I play the skirmishes. I never get tired of it. Sometimes I'll give myself an AI teammate and go against 3-5 AI teamed together or any of a million set ups I've tried over the years. There's still a couple of bugs but they aren't bugs so much as exploits which you'll probably never find anyway. Some AI pathing issues mainly with the dwarf constructs and the frost guys mammoth. I love that there are npc monster huts that you can hire and they auto send groups of troops out fighting. I was so disappointed that they never made a Part 2 or added more to this one but I still play it at least once a week, it's a nice break from my intense longer games.
I hope they sell a few copies here and decide it's worth doing another.
Its a really great game! The problem though, is that its dead. I haven't tried the singleplayer and I heard its pretty bad, but the multiplayer is amazing. Only get it if you are thinking of throwing a LAN party and have other people to play with. Its worth it!
27 of 37 people (73%) found this review helpful 3 people found this review funny
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 5, 2015
I initially thought to review this game perhaps after a dozen hours of gameplay at least, but I later found myself with a list of pros and cons written down in my head and felt it was right and reasonable to do it now. (at the moment I've played as little as 130 minutes). The reasons why I'm spending time to write this review are:
1. There are only 95 reviews, not enough. The community looks small and I'd never heard of this game myself despite loving RTS games with all my heart 2. As mentioned, I'm an RTS vidya aficionado. I have a lot of experience with such games and I love to be able to post a semi-technical review for once in my life, comparing everything that was done in the past to this 'modern' game.
First off, let me tell you my background with RTS games and similar genres mostly comes from countless nights playing Age of Empires II - so when I think of any real-time strategic game that's my anchor. If you don't like the whole base-building sub-genre (i.e. you strongly prefer RTS's like Warhammer or Company of Heroes where the focus is on point-capturing etc) don't consider the rest of this review at all; thanks God HOAE is a base-building RTS.
Back to the point, I can list several more RTS's I've played:
-The aforementioned Warhammer and Company of Heroes series (respectively dawn of war and the first title) -All age of empires titles (including AoM), but the first game. I was too young at that time and never found the classical age inspiring anyway -Warcraft III -The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II -Grey Goo (very recent, few may know it) -Command and Conquers III -Imperivm (European game, not known at all)
Non-RTS but still strategic games that have inspired me, and of which features were often present in many RTS games too:
-Total War series -Heroes of Might and Magic III -Others I can't think of
I know this whole wall of text might seem pointless or that I may sound like I'm bragging about my collection of strategic games, but it's quite the opposite, I'm simply trying to give a reference to anyone reading so that he or she can understand my point of view and pros/cons. Enough, let's start:
+Nice unit design in general -- Many units are well drawn, a handful are somewhat original. +Good classic base-building -- Again, this is my POV. I've played so many annoying RTS's that focused on capturing resource points and lacked the building side to the point of forcing everyone to play in what we all call 'rushing'. You can't turtle in, you ♥♥♥♥ing can't in games like Company of Heroes. If you pick just 2 or 3 points you're doomed. +Diversity between factions -- As with most 3/4-factions modern RTS's, all buildings and units are designed differently for each faction. I think however that GSC did a good job because most units have no real counterpart in the other races' respective armies. (e.g. a race having a few and expensive elite infantry units whilst its opponent has massed and cheap ones with relatively identical stats, and thus taking the same niche) +Nice soundtrack, not as good as the OST found in many old RTS games, but very much decent and above average +Excellent damage/defence system -- I liked this one quite a lot. Most games, even Age of Empires to an extent, ignore altogether technical mechanics like the type of damage a unit does. For instance, in AoE we get only 3 types: melee, missile and siege damage. Here, there's crushing, piercing and chopping or something, as well as magic damage. Every unit has its own damage type and natural resistance to a few other types. This detail makes battles much more strategic, as you have to consider what type of damage is most used by your enemy's forces and so on... +Many unit specific upgrades -- Every unit has several improvements pertaining its damage and defence, some upgrades related to all faction units are present too
-No Age-up --Basically, the most common of all features, one that usually makes RTS games last ages, was totally ignored. Here the only thing that limits your civilisation/race's progress are a few locked end-game buildings that require you to build unrelated and cheaper ones in order to be able to construct them too. Pretty disappointing, even the aforementioned Grey Goo lacked this wonderful feature. -No huge unit diversity WITHIN the faction --yeah you heard that right, I have applauded the developers/designers for making diverse unit sets between each faction, and now I whine because there's no diversity within the races themselves. I'm afraid I have to. If what I said above was indeed true, on the other hand they went too extreme with this originality, and forgot to implement a handful of units I would say are a must regardless how original a faction may be. Example: I've played almost exclusively as the Cryo race (some reclusive northmen with a taste for ice magic and many ancient alliances with beings who inhabit the tundras of all fantasy and mythologic settings), and they lack any kind of cavalry AND missile unit. All they have is a diverse array of slow uberbeings (yetis, giants, golems, mammoths) who deal melee -and almost exclusively of crushing type- damage. I understand it could of been for the sake of originality, but to this point? All I have for a ranged unit is either a spellcaster or a ballista. Seeing as all peons use bows, it is implied this society of northmen has a tradition of bow hunting of some sort, which is already implied by the mere fact of living in a ♥♥♥♥ing frozen land in the far north. -Lame lack of unit-voicing --It bothers me so much that they don't say anything when clicked, dragged, ordered to attack, etc. Any RTS I've played had it, even Grey Goo... So why the ♥♥♥♥ not GSC? -No unit-specific evolution-like upgrade --I'm so used to unit transformation and evolution too, and I can't feel satisfied with a bunch of armour and weapon upgrades. Like, even in HOMM there are unit upgrades, people love to see their 'whatever' transformed into 'lord whatever elite' with its stats multiplied by 3 for a nasty sum of resources. Again, a very common feature seen even in RTS games like Company of Heroes (the veteran upgrade or something), overlooked by GSC. -Bad pathing of certain units --no further explanation is needed, you'll see it. -Some elite units are too much limited in numbers --Most high power units can only be trained once per building type. It's like if you build some barracks the construction houses 10 pikemen and that's the maximum you can have. To train more, you're forced to set up a row of identical buildings. I understand the building limit per se, but perhaps some upgrades or an 'expand building' feature also present in other stuff would of been more reasonable... One ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ mammoth per building is too much to bear... -Odd design choices in a few things --Like the Cryo heroes being all human but of different ethnicity. Others might think it's fine, but to me it makes no sense to have the Mage look like some caucasian bearded all man, the Warrior like an average Inuit fisherman and the Ranger a female east asian teenager. On the other hand, whilst this faction has weirdly designed heroes, and is somewhat original per se, typical faction/races present in all fantasy games, novels, films whatever are totally absent (e.g. humans, orcs, gnomes, trolls). Many neutral races are indeed present but only work as a source of income and artifacts (slaughter them) or as mercenaries; most of those would have actually been a wonderful addition to the small list of playable civilisations. -Unit healing, lastly --yeah I don't know for other factions, but to heal my units with the Cryo I have to cast a spell repeteadly from my Temple or something, and that heals some 10% of all of my units... Pretty crappy and relatively expensive. Also, non-living units seem unrepairable, some have stated. Certain elementals like Ice golems and spirits self-regenerate.
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 12, 2016
It's cossacks in a generic fantasy world. If you enjoyed the cossacks formula but instead of pikemen and dragoons wanted to amass armies of werewolves, wizards and centaurs, then this is your best bet.
Don't expect anything extremely original, it's the same generic fantasy tropes: elves, undead, dwarves and "cryo" (humans/ice people). And in those races, the unit types are pretty standard: for the elves there's griffins, ents & unicorns, for the undead there's zombies, mummies & liches and so on and so forth.
While the setting doesn't really break any barriers, the gameplay makes up for it with a certain massiveness and "realism", for lack of better terms. You can, and you will, (literally!) trample over helpless elf archers with your dwarven machinery. Beign a gsg game it's not uncommon to see hundreds of units on the battlefield, and theres a certain satisfaction in destroying them, having their ranks break down, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women.
Graphics are top notch, for a 2d game, they're amazing, and even all those years they still look like a fairytale, couldn't say the same if it was 3d.
Multiplayer still works after all those years, with gamespy being down, it's a privilege to be able to get multiplayer to work wihtout having to tinker with hamachi, tunngle or gamespy.
There's a hero RPG system "borrowed" from warcraft 3, it takes 20 minutes until the cooldown ends and you can use him, they're really weak early on, but when you get them rolling? They become small superweapons. There isn't an 18 lvl cap like in, say, wc3, so you can get real high with the hero and wreak total havoc, especially with the proper skills & an army (that you got rolling while he was out of it) worthy of the title.
All in all, pretty good, worth trying out, at least because it's one of a kind (despite the generic setting).
Heroes of Annihilated Empires. This game is good in my eyes thanks to playing it when I was younger and having slogged through the campaign. In reality, not as good.
The gameplay of HoAE is very reminiscent of the cossacks 1 games and even the same engine. The major exceptions to this is that there are four factions instead of dozens, The game is fantasy based instead of european, and the developers didn't have a clue what made a good campaign or difficulty scale if it bit their♥♥♥♥♥♥ I literally had difficulty getting past the first mission on hard, because you save civilians that constantly appear from the top of the map, and walk straight past enemy skeletons. Once you get past that the next couple missions differ between a slog and an armed waltz through a park.
I cannot recommend this game if you want to try and beat the campaign, I did that already and not only is the ending lackluster, it's just rubbish. You control the elven faction throughout the entire campaign, and can only mess around with the other three in skirmish, where the game truly shines. That is where I get my money's worth every time I play this game, and I recommend it just for that. Don't get me wrong, attempt the campaign, just don't do it on hard. It's stupidly and pointlessly difficult on hard, and the last couple missions of the campaign are pointlessly difficult and lackluster.
Final score: 5/10 Reason: Pretty fun skirmish, Four unique factions, Crap campaign (it ends for me when you get to the second demo level) and general feeling of unfinished and clunkiness to it. Buy it for the skirmish and fantasy.
i enjoyed this game a whole lot. it was an easy going rts with rpg that you cant find in many games. the storyline was a bit corny and not well developed but overall i find myself reinstalling it time and time again to replay it.