Grepolis – Review
Grepolis is the latest free online multiplayer strategy game from InnoGames, publishers of successful browser-based titles such as Tribal Wars and The West. Grepolis combines many of the much loved features from the browser-based RTS genre, and delivers them using a unique Greek theme, surrounded by hundreds of years of detailed lore and myth. As is expected in today’s MMO games, once you first start your journey in Grepolis you’re greeted with a new player tutorial. The tutorial explains some of the more basic aspects of the game such as advancing your city, managing troops and harvesting resources. It’s very simple and can be completed in under 10 minutes, but you can also skip it completely if you’re familiar with the RTS genre.
Constructing and advancing your city works in a similar way to other online strategy games. You must ensure you have a sufficient amount of resources to continuously upgraded and improve your city, constructing new buildings that offer various benefits and effects. At first you’ll want to focus on constructing your resource harvesting buildings such as your Farms and Quarries, these will allow you to improve your income of vital resources needed to expand your city and hire your troops. A slightly more interesting way of gathering resources comes from Farm Villages. Each player starts on an island inhabited by a few other players, but there’s also a large amount of Farm Villages owned by NPC’s. If you’re able to conquer a Farm Village you’re able to demand resources from them at regular intervals. You also have the option of looting the Farm Village for even more resources, but this can upset the inhabitants and eventually lead to a revolt, removing your control over the villages and opening them up to enemy players.
Combat also uses a variety of familiar RTS mechanics, players must train a number of different units to conquer opposing players and Farm Villages. Each unit is strong against certain units and weak against others, forcing players to train a well balanced army that can adapt to any situation. Combat is automated so players can launch an attack while offline but the travel times for combat are really long. This is one of the most negative aspects of the game and applies to both construction and combat. Even at the beginning, traveling to the nearest Farm Village or building a level 1 Farm, both take at least 10 minutes which leaves new players just staring into the abyss until something happens.
Overall Grepolis does boast a number of interesting features and mechanics but they’re overshadowed by a complete dependance on the item mall. Players that invest into the game can conquer entire islands with a simple click, construct buildings much faster and train troops easily. It’s a good game and offers strategy players enough new features to separate it from the competition, but it doesn’t do itself any favors with such an overpowered item mall.
by Blaine Smith