by Rook, reviewed on
"They are returning, awakening from a slumber beyond comprehension to mortals. Awakening to a world they once tried to claim. They promise much to their followers, and to their enemies, they will deliver blood, fire and death." This is the world of Dominions 3: The Awakening.
Dominions 3: The Awakening is brought to you by Ill Winter Games and Shrapnel games, which is also responsible for other strategy titles such as Space Empires. Dominions 3 is a turn based strategy game where you assume the role of a "Pretender God" who has returned to the world after lying dormant for eons. As you emerge from your deep slumber, you begin to spread your influence over the world province by province. As a Pretender God, you are responsible for raising armies, building up your controlled areas and of course driving any friendly competition into oblivion. The biggest question the Pretender God is confronted with is where to begin.
Mythology of the world
From the very beginning, you are given choices. Everything about this title will offer choices on how to build your empire. After selecting the basics, such as map size, number of players and what era you wish to play in, you are hit with a list of playable Pretender Gods. The list, with its 20+ entries reflects each of the Pretender Gods and a certain real life mythology on which it is based off of. Mythology plays an enormous part in the background and theme of Dominions 3 and is reflected in the playable game itself, not simply in name. The mythos of the Pretender Gods range from everything from an Arthurian style Empire with knights, high priests and shining armor, to the Egyptian based C?tis to the Oceanic empire of the Tritons and merfolk. The flavor of each mythos brings a certain feel to the game that is hard to capture by any other means. If you are an enthusiast of different mythologies from across time and cultures, this major facet of Dominions will be sure to please.
Once you make your way through the list of possible Pretender Gods, you are asked to customize your God in a few simple ways. You can customize yourself by selecting different avatars or physical forms, spheres of magical influence as well as influence over Domains such as Law or Chaos, Hot and Cold. Each selection will modify the abilities of both your Pretender God and your empire. Physical forms come with certain abilities, often playing a direct role in combat as do magical selections. Tipping the scales between different domains will influence your empire in a variety of ways. At the beginning of this customization process, you are allotted only a limited number of points which you buy these advantages with, so spend them wisely.
Divine war machine
Gameplay itself, when you actually get to it, is pretty straightforward. You need to build armies using several "commander" units, including your Pretender God, and rout your enemies on the battlefield. All this while you are maintaining a balance between province defense, research and resources as well as being subject to a series of random events that may bestow a boon, or a curse upon a certain territory. Oh sure, it may sound simple enough, but try doing it.
Dominions 3 is all about strategy. Gameplay is slow and methodical and you often find yourself micromanaging commanders and their armies, defensive formations and movements. The level of micro management is so fine that while you are assembling your troops under any given commander, you may issue standing orders with each division in that army. One commander may be capable of leading anywhere from 10 to 100+ troops which can be split into divisions. These divisions can be issued orders to attack a certain enemy type, such as archers, or to charge past troops to challenge the rearmost rank of the opposing army. Orders can also be issued to the commander himself to charge in with his troops, stay back and cast spells from afar, or simple to stay back behind a handful of troops ordered to protect him.
No Pros and Cons at this time