Ancient Wars: Sparta Review

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Stategy game with few innovations.


Cunningly timed to coincide with the cinema release of Zack Snyder’s thrilling 300, Ancient Wars: Sparta focuses on the brutal battles between the Persian, Spartan and Egyptian armies around 480BC. But while Sparta has all the makings of a compelling and bloodthirsty smash, this tedious strategy game follows a well-worn template that will be achingly familiar to seasoned desktop generals.

Despite how recent RTS titles have toyed with the traditional formula to offer something fresh and unique, Sparta doggedly sticks with the time-honoured ‘establish a base-build an army-attack your enemy’ routine, forcing players onto a predictable treadmill where nothing surprising or memorable ever happens. Even worse, while most players will already be familiar with Sparta’s uninspiring drill, the pace of the action is painfully slow, meaning it takes an age to build a decent army and tempting rookies to rush headlong into battle with undercooked forces.

The fact your soldiers can use different primary and secondary weapons in battle brings a little variety to the action, and a considered use of ranged and melee weapons can make the difference between victory and defeat on the chaotic battlefields. But with shoddy presentation, ham-fisted acting and frustratingly linear levels that force players down a narrow route, Ancient Wars: Sparta is another failed attempt to bring these fierce ancient battles to life.