Among the few (physical) things I did get for Christmas this year, I got a package from my Dad containing the computer game Empire Earth. He often gives me games that he bought and didn’t care much for, knowing my tastes are somewhat broader than his. Usually I find them more comprehensible than he did, if not much more enjoyable. -_^ I seem to remember him mentioning getting Empire Earth in email and being disappointed, and that I wasn’t surprised.

After playing it myself, I can say that this really isn’t a game for my Dad. Or me, actually. I just read the GameSpot review, and they pretty well agree with me. Empire Earth is a fairly good game, but it is only really enjoyable for the hard-core RTS crowd. My Dad doesn’t get RTS at all. I like RTS on occasion as a simple, short thing to blow off steam. This game is neither simple, nor short. Then again, it is trying to cover from the Stone Age to the 22nd Century. It’s ambitious, and I’m impressed by how well they did with it, but it has too many things to do at once (my usual problem with RTS), and too many things I can’t do.

For those familiar with the Age of Empires series, it is similar to those (same designer), but it tries to tackle all of history, instead of just pieces of it. This ‘Civ-like’ quality is what attracted my Dad to the game. And it’s a neat idea. Also, a very large and involved one. For me Empire Earth partially collapses under the weight of fifteen different epochs, and frankly each one is simplified down to the point of being pretty generic. I don’t think there’s anyone watching this who is seriously dedicated to the RTS genre, but if there is, I do recommend it (or better yet, the sequel, Empire Earth II), for you. The game has a lot in it, it does capture at least the basic flavor of the ages (I just had my first game that included the modern eras, and you can really feel the difference as you transition out of the 19th Century), and the AI is certainly better than I’m used to out of these games.