Similar in essential concept to games like Rise of Venice
and The Patrician
, this is a large-scale historical strategy experience which is interesting but not necessarily a real grabber of a game. The focus here is on the period from 1350-1650, with gameplay following a fairly traditional approach. You start by picking one of over twenty factions to play as and then your goal is to build up your empire. The action unfolds in real-time but can be paused to allow for thinking and other such vital activities. The usual elements make an appearance, with most things unfolding on the map screen and with things like resource gathering, trade, research and so on all making an appearance. You can build various structures, hire characters with their own unique skills and engage in combat. However, this last aspect is a fairly abstract affair, being largely handled by the computer, with the player issuing orders only and with little in the way of visual interest. The main mode is the campaign which offers specific mission objectives as well as side quests and random events to deal with. Reign is certainly a meaty game which a decent amount to get your teeth into but it does lack a little something, making it hard to wholeheartedly recommend. There's nothing overly original here to discover but the various elements are handled well enough and integrated into the overall game well enough. The interface is occasionally needlessly complex and there's a distinct lack of presentational flair but if this doesn't bother you, there's a bit of serious entertainment to be had here.