Rise of Prussia Review

There are many different permutations of the PC strategy genre. Turn based or real time, empire building or action focused, and most recently, the RPG/RTS hybrid that has popped up thanks to games like Dawn of War 2. While there are many different types, the one thing they all have in common is that modern PC strategy games have evolved to the point where intense micromanagement has been swept under the rug in favor of system UIs and gameplay systems that either manage for you or deliver the information in an easier to digest format. Automating the worker unit in the Civilization series is one example of this that comes to mind.

With that said, Rise of Prussia, a turn-based strategy game that chronicles Prussian history, is very much stuck in an age before these innovations. Whatever fun this game manages to muster is flatly destroyed by useless micromanagement and a game that is as bare bones as you can get.

The game chronicles the Seven Years’ War and has you take control of one of two sides: Prussia or Austria and their allies. As you play through each single-player scenario, you’ll be tasked with different objectives, which usually boil down to capturing certain important regions. Each scenario is played on the same map, which is an impressive one that consists of all of Germany and surrounding areas, with about 1,000 regions. The game definitely delivers on the grand strategy genre. You’ll be commanding massive armies with hundreds of unique units, each with their own defining traits and bonuses. This makes your army highly customizeable, allowing you to bring certain leaders and armies with you on each part of your conquest.

The game can also be qualified as an edutainment title, sometimes to the point where the fun takes a back seat to historical accuracies and text blocks about the Seven Years’ War. I’m all for historical accuracy, but a game needs to entertain first.


Rise of Prussia would be in a great position to fulfill military nerds’ dreams if it wasn’t put together so poorly. Micromanagement takes center stage here and rules everything you have to do. In order to take advantage of those leader abilities, you have to actually build a chain of command in your armies. If you don’t, your armies’ combat effectiveness lowers and you are at a disadvantage. Instead of just merging an army or placing a leader in the platoon, you have to click them, click a button that is hidden by a confusing interface, and then attach to the army. If you want to continue this, you have to attach each leader to the platoon. The micromanagement doesn’t stop here. Each army has to be assigned a supply truck to keep them in fighting form. Armies won’t attack unless you put them in an attack state. Laying siege to a town is only activated in certain conditions. None of this makes sense when in other turn-based games you can just move your unit onto an enemy or town and it will commence the attack.

The game’s interface boggles the mind. At times it effectively communicates the information you need, but other times it keeps useful commands hidden behind countless buttons and screens. Commands that could easily be mapped to a context action like dragging an army to attack require a button push. It’s just not designed well and is needlessly complicated.

The game’s presentation won’t win any awards, either. The map of Germany is bland and looks like a grade school depiction of the country. Units are represented by the general or leader you have assigned and have no animation. They look like inanimate pieces on a board. Towns all look indistinguishable from the next. Battles are played out on a pop-up screen that displays the word “Battle!” and features numbers representing the troops in each army. The middle then beings to flash red and the numbers countdown to show how many units each side is losing. There’s no animation or any graphical flare. It’s a very sterile way to depict what should be a somewhat exciting part of the game and each battle comes down to how many more units you have than your enemy.

Other grand strategy games like Napoleon: Total War or even Empire: Total War do what Rise of Prussia does, but better, so it makes you wonder why this game sticks to antiquated gameplay features and complex micromanagement that just isn’t very much fun to play.


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Author: Matt Erazo View all posts by

One Comment on "Rise of Prussia Review"

  1. commenter February 17, 2012 at 11:44 am -

    I feel like this review is just missing the point entirely. RoP is not a perfect game, but making a direct comparison to the Total War series and claiming that they are better is like claiming that Thief is worse than Quake. Entirely different games, that sets out to do entirely different things, so a comparison should absolutely not be made.

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