The diplomatic relations, being such an integral part of the game, are also a bit cluttered. Finding that friendly nation among the nest of enemies requires players to systematically click through a small screen of various coats-of-arms, and then trying to hunt that province down on the map. As far as I could tell, there was no way to sort these screens by hostility, or filter the maps in terribly useful ways. Diplomacy itself is quite convoluted, but I believe that I just hadn't delved deep enough to tease out the proper strategies needed here. As it stands, I was repeatedly and resoundingly crushed.
Reign is not an easy game for beginners, and it's not an overly friendly one to veteran strategy fans. The tutorial is a bit of cruel humor--sure, it held my hand as I learned, step by step the main points of playing the game. But once the tutorial ends, players are thrust straight into the game from that point on. This means players have been taking baby steps with their single city while their neighbors have been tearing forward as if this were a real game. Three times I replayed the tutorial, and three times I was ruthlessly crushed. It wasn't until I ditched the tutorial entirely and began frantically building from the get-to that I even had a chance to hold on for a century or two.
All in all, I think there may be a decent game in Reign: Conflict of Nations, but I just didn't find it terribly compelling. Perhaps after a patch or two to bring in a few more filters and tweak the interface, and possibly work out a few of the kinks from the questionable AI, I could find enjoyment. But right now, given the plethora of other titles vying for my attention, Reign: Conflict of Nations is soon to be forgotten.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
A clunky and complex historical RTS that shows some glimmers of promise. This one is not for the casual gamer.
Page 2 of 2