Empire Earth III Review

Gamers have a love or hate relationship with strategy games since they tend to cater towards a different demographic than traditional titles. Sierra’s Empire Earth series has been met with decent acclaim, but its punishing difficulty led to a community division and a relative seclusion from mainstream gamers.

So to attract new gamers, Sierra and series developer Mad Doc Software implemented a few changes to Empire Earth III, such as an easier difficulty and a more dinky/kid-like visual appeal. Unfortunately, Empire Earth III fails as a capable RTS game and is a perfect example of when mainstream RTS goes wrong.

The first two Empire Earth games featured distinct civilizations, which were very similar to Rise of Nations and Age of Empires. But in EE3, you choose very broad and generic empires, such as the Western, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern empires. Looks like relying on stereotypes is still strong in games.

The fundamental RTS gameplay aspects are still here: gather resources, amass units and destroy your enemy. Much like Total War and Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, EE3 also features your typical ‘dominate the globe’ campaign. But this is where the game blows it. Since you’re running your escapade across the world, you’ll be fighting plenty of filler battles when you’re in-between trying to take over one of the primary empires.

One of the things that separated a good global campaign, like Dark Crusade’s, from EE3 is the ability to skip or auto-resolve all of these filler battles. But in EE3, you can’t! In Dark Crusade, your buildings also persist, but in EE3, they don’t. That means for every single filler battle, you’ll have to spend loads of time to build the same base and units and then march them to eradicate the same enemies you’ve been fighting over and over.

While the above sounds pretty dreary, the whole situation could have been just alright if the enemy AI wasn’t stupid. Sure, enemies will scrap together an enemy base but once it comes to developing its army, it feels like the enemy AI just said ‘screw it’ and gave up. They sent enemy units to my base with the same excitement as filing my taxes. This isn’t my idea of a fun RTS game. Its 2007, guys. I thought developing a decent AI pathfinding system was the norm.

I don’t know if it was Mad Doc’s idea or Sierra’, but I find the game’s somewhat distinct look and humor to be rather unnecessary, especially for a historic and time-era expanding game like EE3. Many units and buildings are just overly bright and colorful and the voice-acting is pretty terrible.

In an attempt to reach the masses, Empire Earth III fails. Nearly everything is dumbed down, the voiceover work is horrendous, the globe-spanning campaign is missing several necessary components and performance is a real hog. It’s a shame for the series as a whole since EE3 may be the nail in EE’s coffin.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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