Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots

May 3, 2006

[i]Rise of Nations[/i] was one of the best RTS games ever put out on the market, and earned the best game of 2003 from magazines and websites alike. So it’s only natural that the makers of the game would want to profit on an expansion pack. As many people have found out throughout the years though, expansions are merely simple add-ons that do little from placing in a few new maps, units, and possibly fixing any major bugs still in the original game. Amazingly enough though, Big Huge Games have outdone themselves with [i]Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots[/i], which is, in my opinion, one of the best and most comprehensive expansion packs ever made.

[i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] does what you’d expect an expansion pack to do, which is add in new units and other content. In most games, this would translate into a few new units or vehicles, which may even be cheap knockoffs of previous units in the original release. [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] adds in its fair share of this kind of content, but each new addition is fresh and a nice addition to the original game itself. Of course, [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] also adds in new game play features, and in the end, almost seems like a completely new game instead of an expansion.

The first thing [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] does is add in new nations into the already current 18 nations. Additions include the Persians, the Native American Lakota tribes, and the superpowered Americans, as well as the Dutch, Indians, and Iroquois. Like the previous nations, the new nations all have their own special powers. Some of these powers are actually fresh ideas in the [i]Rise of Nations[/i] formula, like the Lakota who receive food for every citizen they have, and the Persians who can have two capitals at once. Of course, you still have the usual powers, such as economy boosts, cheaper unit upgrade, and the rest most [i]Rise of Nations[/i] players have come to know.

There are also a couple new units in the game, mainly unique units put into the new nations. The Americans have Marines at the barracks, while the Indians and Persians have War Elephants. The nations also have powers that apply to historical terms, such as government research being completely free for the Americans, due to their declaring independence in the 1700’s. There are also three new wonders to build, like the Hanging Gardens, the Forbidden City, and the Red Fort. Like the nations, the new wonders also have their host of unique powers not seen in the original RoN. Another new feature introduced in [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] is the Senate, which lets you research two different paths of government; the Democratic path which consists of a Republic, Democratic, and Capitalist society, and the more frowned upon governments, like Despot, Monarch, and Socialist governments. Each form of government has different advantages, and even if you become a Capitalist government from a Monarchy, you can still keep the powers from your previous government.

Now for most people, this may seem like enough to warrant a purchase, as it is the common content you usually see in an expansion. But if that isn’t enough, [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] goes even farther by adding in new Conquer the World campaigns that expand the Conquer the World feature from the original [i]Rise of Nations[/i]. You still have the original Conquer the World campaign that has you competing against every other nation for world dominance, with some tweaks to include the new nations introduced by Throne and Patriots of course. Throne and Patriots adds in four new campaigns, each with new goals. You have Alexander the Great’s campaign, and Napoleon’s campaign to defeat other monarch nations. Then you have The New World, which is one of the most interesting campaigns. Here, you have the European and American nations competing with one another and the Native Americans to control all of the newly discovered North America and South America. There is also the Cold War, which has you playing as the Americans or Soviets in an attempt to defeat the other and rule the free world. The most interesting thing about the Cold War is that you can choose any path, either going peaceful against the Soviet menace, or completely decimating the United States with nuclear missiles.

[i]Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots[/i] is one of the best and comprehensive expansions I have ever played. It goes far beyond what the usual expansion does by adding in enough content to make it almost like a completely new game. The deal is even sweeter thanks to the fact that [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i] costs the same amount as your average expansion pack. If you’re an avid player of the original [i]Rise of Nations[/i], then there is every reason for you to purchase [i]Thrones and Patriots[/i]. With its great updates and new features, it is possibly one of the most quality expansion packs ever made.

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.