reviewed on PC
Divine war machine (cont.)
The positioning of your troops within the army will also play a role. Each division can be moved to a starting position set by the player. This allows the hulking brute to be in front, followed by the defensive spearman and then archers behind them. The flexibility and options offered to your troops is impressive. To truly master the military deployment will certainly take a long time.
As your armies advance across the countryside, you will be required to fortify and build up newly conquered territories. Commanders will be able to recruit units from a given territory to replace fallen troops. They can also be given additional orders of building improvements, patrolling for bandits causing unrest in that territory, or they can be given more specialized orders depending on the nature of your commanders. Never let your guard down however: your enemy is never far off and if left unattended, you will find that the small 10 unit army that moved in next door now boasts 60 units with special command units.
The only real problem with commanding your armies is that you really have no direct control once the battle begins. Orders can be issued, but troop movement and attacks are left to the game. The combat model is vast and very deep in detail. So many different factors weigh into actual combat that players would be easily overwhelmed with details. The battles can be micro-analyzed, so to speak. A combatant can be targeted and his status checked with a click. The units aren't just a nameless units that act as cannon fodder. He may not have a name, but his role in the army is brought to a new level of detail when you see that he has his own status bar of bonuses and injuries. Troops can sustain injuries that may or may not heal up and which will affect the unit's performance. It's an interesting aspect to a strategy game when an average light infantryman walks out of a battle with a chest wound and a limp, but has gained experience in battle, which will grant him benefits over time. Every unit in the game has a very unique build to them. Many may be similar in ways, but they all have something that will separate it from the next.
Retro? That's an understatement
It is difficult to express how disappointing the graphics in Dominions 3 are. The opening scenes of scrolling countryside looked promising enough, but once unit selection icons begin appearing, you will raise an eyebrow. Though most of the environmental graphics of the battlefield is acceptable, the combatants are nothing more then small pixellated men with sticks. 'Retro' as a description would be an understatement in this case. The detail in the combatants can only be truly appreciated if you zoom in as close as possible. The map and interface graphics are clear and easy to read but are still devoid of any defining detail resulting in an average no frills playing environment. It just seems that more attention was paid to the tree and grass rendering animations then the actual combatants or map indicators. The only real advantage that can be seen with such basic graphics is that massive battles will not result in computer strain and that Dominions 3 will play smoothly on the most humble of computers. Though the graphics of Dominions 3 was a disappointment, it has been proved several times in the past, that you do not need groundbreaking graphics in order to make an enjoyable game... though it does help.
Medieval European music and you
The audio in Dominions 3 is nothing out of the ordinary. It is functional and appropriate to what is going on in combat. The musical score however is another matter altogether. The soundtrack that accompanies the game and menu screens is breathtaking. The music fits the period of the game perfectly. The selection of musical tracks seems limited, so it may become repetitive during long play sessions. However, it does nothing to lessen the enormous impact the soundtrack has on the title. It is very easy to simply let the game run a few extra minutes to let a song finish playing.
No Pros and Cons at this time