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Spartan Review - PC

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Spartan takes you over two-thousand years back in time to relive the constant war between Greece, Rome and Persia as each territory fights for land and glory. The game's focus is obviously on the Spartans, residents of a city named Sparta who fought bravely to defend Greece from its attackers. Utilising a mix of diplomatic power, trade routes, research and military structuring, you'll fight across the lands in an attempt to rise to power, constantly defending yourself against the waves of attacks coming from Roman and Persian infantry.

Gameplay

Rather than leave you out in the open with little to no idea of how to play the game like most other Strategy games do, Spartan features three very detailed and comprehensive tutorials that take you through everything you need to know step by step. This is great as you feel very confident going into a real mission for the first time, and you'll be amazed at how well you are able to control each aspect of your empire, organising trade deals with your allies, distributing your diplomats and, of course, recruiting and sending out squads of infantry.

As I touched on above, Spartan is a Strategy game. Fortunately, developer Slitherine has implemented a few new ideas that set the game apart from Real-Time Strategy games and some other Strategy games. Rather than build and organise your city on a zoomed-in map as you do in most Real-Time and standard Strategy games, most of the game is played out on a zoomed-out map, although still from the classic birds-eye view. On this map, all you can see is yours and your enemies' cities' main building, yours and your enemies squads (represented by one figure) and the environment - much like some kind of board game. Click on the building representing your city, however, and you'll enter a close-up view of everything in your city, from the workers scattering about completing their tasks to the trees bordering your buildings. From this view you can manage everything to do with your city, while the map view is used to move your squads towards their enemies. The game's heads-up display is nice and clean and features large buttons that are easy to click and memorise - useful in times of desperation.

Being a Strategy game and not a Real-Time Strategy game, Spartan is turn-based. This means that once you've done what you want to do, you must click the 'End Turn' button and let your opponent take their turn (which is, fortunately, completed in a matter of seconds in the case of a computer-controlled opponent). There's a lot of freedom to be had in taking your turn; you can do whatever you want, from moving your squads around to trading resources with allies. There are some slight restrictions, however, in the sense that you can't move your squads too far in one turn, and that some events occur only after a number of turns, encouraging you to end your turn.

During the game you're able to own more than ... (continued next page)