Available from Matrix Games at www.Matrixgames.com
This game, designed in cooperation with Slitherine Games places you in the role of the Commanding General of a force of Roman Era troops. Dependent upon your victories you can amass an army ranging from Peasant levies to Roman Praetorians and Legion veterans (Triari). You begin your adventure playing a Princeling of the Latin tribes, this is the Tutorial Campaign. After a couple of battles against the Roman “forces”, you are informed that your Uncle has killed your father and gone over to the Romans and you have been handed over to the Romans as a prisoner. The Romans see prospects in you and put you in charge of a Roman force consisting of some Scout cavalry, Skirmishers and Militia. You are sent out to fight battles in the name of Rome. As you complete scenarios (win) you accumulate experience and money. The experience is used to upgrade your troops, and the money is used to recruit more units.
The game starts out with you playing the Latins, you then move on to a Roman Campaign as a Roman Legate or a Celtic Campaign as a Celtic tribal general. You move through scenarios with tougher opponents and some that are timed, in which you have to complete Victory conditions within that time period. As you progress your forces become stronger and you are able to recruit more units to grow your army. Tactics are also important; you have the options of headlong charges, or waiting for your opponent to come to you. Formations offensive, defensive and balanced are also options for each unit. As your unit experience increases more formation options appear at the bottom of the screen.
Missile units, archers and javelin-armed skirmishers, will advance toward the enemy as directed. When they reach the range of their missile weapons they will pause and discharge their weapons at the enemy before closing if so directed. They can also be directed to close directly without firing.
In the Army Camp screen, you are not only able to recruit new units, but you can also heal the casualties incurred in battle. You can also change the equipment that your units are carrying. These upgrades cost money, same as recruiting new units, so you as the general must balance increases in armor and weapons with the proliferation of your units. As with all aspects of the game, your decisions impact your ultimate ability to wage war.
On the battlefield, you can change your formations to reflect the terrain involved, as well as to wait for your opponent to make the first move. This can sometimes backfire on you giving the computer opponent, or your live enemy if playing a Multiplayer or network game, the advantage of momentum and position, while placing your own army at a great disadvantage. Should you be defeated in combat, the game sends you back to the Army Camp screen, to give you a chance to upgrade equipment and re-think your strategy before venturing onto the battlefield again.
Legion Arena concentrates its efforts on the battles rather than the efforts to build an empire as in Rome Total War. The combat system is much the same in both games, but the emphasis is on different aspects. If your passion is to re-fight the battles of the ancients, then this is the game for you. Being a General in Legion Arena is your prime concern and the strength and welfare of your troops is paramount in your world, political considerations are of a secondary nature.
The game is a real-time strategy game conducted at the battalion level using the strengths and weaknesses of the actual units. Things such as Cavalry being weaker in woods and rough or soggy ground, light infantry being vulnerable in open ground. As you accumulate more and varied units you can use skirmishers to screen your infantry units until necessary. During the battle you can keep track of what is happening to your unit by looking at the panel at the bottom of the screen. In this panel each unit is represented by an icon, as casualties are taken these icons will begin to fill up with a red hue. At the bottom of each icon is the morale symbol; this symbol indicates the current morale level of the unit being monitored. A green arrow indicates the unit is ready to fight, a yellow triangle indicates the unit is becoming disordered, due to casualties or loss of cohesion in combat. An orange arrow shows the unit is just about at the breaking point, a red arrow indicates they have lost all cohesion and control and are ready to rout.
A few additional buttons appear at the bottom of the battle screen. These buttons will affect the general progress of the battle, they include Pause, Retreat, Break Off and Rally. The use of these buttons affects your entire army. Pushing the Rally button at the exactly correct moment may snatch Victory from the jaws of defeat or it may just hasten your defeat. Retreat and Break Off are pretty self-explanatory.
Legion Arena Gold also contains the Cult of Mithras expansion that adds additional battles and unit to the system. You must complete the entire Roman or Celtic campaign to access the corresponding Cult of Mithras expansion.
I found this game to be very intriguing and feel it will the gamer hours and hours of pleasure trying to defeat the opposition, whether they be the AI or a human opponent. I wish you much success in your conquests and may the Gods look down upon you with favor. Ave!