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Excellent pure combat-based strategy sim
Praetorians offers strategy fans the chance to go back to the time of Julius Caesar and try their hand at defeating the barbarian hordes. It differs from other similar games, like the Total War series, in that there is no requirement to manage resources, instead focussing solely on combat and is therefore a good choice for those seeking something a little different from the average strategy sim. There are two modes on display here, a campaign where you engage in battles of varying sizes against the barbarian tribes, and a multiplayer skirmish mode featuring Egyptian troops alongside those of the barbarians and Romans. The single player game is particularly successful in that it features a great variety of mission types, from typical assaults to withstanding attacks for a defined period or defending besieged allies and this provides some interesting opportunities for tactics which will test even hardened veterans. The number of troop types is slightly smaller than might be expected, but the way the environment interacts with their special abilities means that there is no loss of strategic depth, while the inclusion of formations also lends the game some flavour. Graphically the game is fairly standard for the genre but suffers from limited camera options, while the music and voice acting are also somewhat disappointing. On the whole however, this is an excellent strategy game for gamers interested only in combat, not resource management, and provides some highly challenging and complex gameplay.