Caesar Retrospective

According to the programmer David Lester; the team had a love for Ancient Rome and the Mediaeval era. Because of this, they created one series for each setting; Caesar and Lords of the Realm. Assembling armies and fighting wars were a part of the enthusiasm, but with the former, the crew at Impressions Games wanted to incorporate a focus on creating civilisations and revolutionary buildings that made people’s lives easier, such as aqueducts. Furthermore, culture and trading were also significant aspects of this mindset, as the developers wished to expand the concept of managing a city and making it grow into an empire.

Rome rising to glory!

Similar to the historical epoch it is based on, this franchise continuously evolved with improved mechanics and new ideas. While I have my problems with the third entry, it is hard to deny its effect on the genre with inhabitants walking around and doing their daily chores for stronger immersion. Additionally, the combat was experimented with in each instalment, trying to pay respect to the advanced military planning from this period without overshadowing the core gameplay.

However, one cannot forget how marvellously the studio captured this era of Rome. Not just in terms of visuals like using marbles or mosaics as status screens, but also concepts like waterways, trading routes, cultural influences, and much more made this series a wonderful take on micromanaging your town. Yet, due to its straightforward menus and helpful tutorials, it was never overbearing. Thanks to this, Caesar was able to stand on its own while still being able to invite newcomers and veterans alike.

The fall of an empire

It is difficult to say that the original holds up adequately, due to its limitations and awkward controls. Even as a product of its time, it says something when SimCity on SNES is a much better choice that has comparably aged like fine wine. Although, despite being a fan favourite, I find the third game to be the most baffling of them all. By containing unforgiving gods, the necessity of making circle houses for best outcomes, automated administrations, and a mission structure that creates a repetitive 30-hour campaign, it is a slog to get through.

Unfortunately, the fourth instalment is where people lost interest due to the lack of similar charm in the presentation. I cannot argue against it being visually a step down in terms of textures, but I also admire the ability to rotate the camera at every angle and it fixing issues I had with the previous entry, making it an engaging RTS. Frankly, I believe its hate comes from blinded nostalgia or those too concentrated on graphics.

Who will lead us?

Personally, I think Caesar 2 is the best one, as it has everything it needs for making an engaging management game where every aspect is beautifully executed and not too overwhelming to comprehend. Yet, I also believe the fourth one really deserves more credit since it did try to make the poor implementations of its predecessor work, and I still find myself easily going back to both and even being the ones I recommend to a general audience. 

Truth be told, I would love to see a comeback of this franchise, but it seems like my prayers have already been somewhat answered with Romans: Age of Caesar. While I do not know what to expect, the thought of it being a cooperative MMORTS has me nervous, even with Simon Bradbury on board. Admittedly, I would like another title similar to the original series and seeing as SimCity got a great contender in the form of Cities: Skylines, I hope someone takes upon this task.

Published by slionr

A guy who likes to talk about video games and loves tabletop gaming. Writer for, you can always follow me on twitter @GSlionr if you ever want the latest article from me :)

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