Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
Buy On
  1. Game Informer
    Everything about this title is simply executed on a level that we rarely see outside a few elite development studios. [July 2006, p.108]
  2. 94
    Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is one of those games that you can sit down, have fun then look at the clock and realize two hours have gone by, it’s just that addictive.
  3. By taking all that's best from the real-time build-and-conquer template, mixing it with elements of Civilization and Total War, and wrapping it up in an impressive (though not quite eye-popping) engine, Big Huge Games have taken the genre in a bold and exciting new direction.
  4. It's obvious a lot of thought went into every aspect of the game, from the unique look and functionality of each race to the incredible balancing that ensures each of them are on equal footing.
  5. The three races, even though there could have been some more differences between them, are really fun to play with and bring a nice breath of fresh air into the genre.
  6. PC Format
    Intense strategy monster that almost lives up to its predecessor's legend. [June 2006, p.94]
  7. The setting itself and the very unique factions in the game are enough to make the game stand out from the crowd. Back this up with some solid RTS gameplay and you have a winner in Rise of Legends.
  8. Visually, the game is spectacular, but the 3D engine demands a fairly powerful PC - the bigger the battle, the slower the performance. Thankfully there are plenty of graphics options to fiddle with.
  9. 90
    It's generous, detailed, and brainy. If you want cheap thrills, there are some great real-time strategy games out there -- this isn't one of them. But if you want something from the other end of the spectrum that plays unlike anything else, this is the game for you.
  10. Bottom line, if you liked Rise of Nations (and there were few who didn’t), Rise of Legends will be right up your ally.
  11. 90
    Steampunk and fantasy mesh in a way that's thrilling and engaging, and perilously addictive. It's hard to find a comparison to any RTS you've experienced before; this masterpiece just may become a Legend in its own right.
  12. This is a solid game, nice graphics, great controls, but most importantly, immersive engaging gameplay that makes you forget to sleep and eat.
  13. PC Gamer
    Given Bug Huge Game's big huge ambition level when crafting Rise of Legends, some dents in the genie lamp are to be expected. But they don't come close to spoiling Legend's fabulous magic carpet ride. [July 2006, p.65]
  14. Games Master UK
    A game of non-stop action that spits in the face of its boring real-time strategy rivals. [July 2006, p.80]
  15. A pretty engaging and challenging strategy, offering a lengthy single-player campaign in a captivating fantasy setting.
  16. It is always risky to take something popular and approachable and change it up. That alone is well worth the price of admission. Factor in the enjoyable single player campaign and excellent art design, and I think you certainly have a game worth your hard earned cash.
  17. Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends features the best balance I’ve seen in an RTS – ever.
  18. Pelit (Finland)
    The second game from Big Huge Game designer Brian Reynolds takes careful steps to renew real-time strategy gaming, but does not dare step far enough. The game is beautiful and has lots of great ideas, but lacks in feeling, mostly due to bad sound effects. [June 2006]
  19. PC Gamer UK
    Despite providing three well-balanced, distinctive races, a host of spectacular units and powers, and some novel play factors like national borders and peaceful expansion, away from the rationale of the story of RoL can feel a tad generic. [June 2006, p.76]
  20. This game ties together many of the great aspects of earlier titles (national borders, heroes, mega-units) seamlessly. The new fantasy setting, with its grand theme of magic versus technology, is a welcome change from orcs versus elves.
  21. Although it was more complex and more ambitious in scope than Rise of Nations, Rise of Legends has proven to be another hit for Big Huge Games and as such is a serious contender for the title of “Best real-time strategy game of the year” award. The only negative thing that can be said about it is the singleplayer campaign, which oddly enough should have been one of its strong points. Fortunately, the multiplayer modes, the three different but very well balanced factions, lots of strategies and the art design recommend it to all RTS lovers.
  22. When push comes to shove, Rise of Legends is a lateral step for the Nations franchise. The game is sound mechanically and brilliant visually, but it lacks the staying power that kept Rise of Nations in players’ disc drives for so long.
  23. Taking the best interface cues from genre stalwarts like Command and Conquer, Warcraft III and Age of Empires, the player will become immersed in a global conflict pitting two well-balanced yet different powers against an unimaginable foe.
  24. Rise of Legends may not break new ground, but it certainly adds to what has gone before and presses all the right buttons along the way to becoming one of the more entertaining RTS games out there.
  25. 82
    The introduction of the new unique races and their distinctive abilities and art styles helps give the game a much needed fantasy flavor.
  26. It doesn't tamper too much with the underlying engine that made the first game so great but adds just enough novelty to justify a second iteration.
  27. Whether you think Rise of Legends is a masterpiece or whether you think it is a hard to swallow piece of fiction with a great strategy game underneath is dependent on how much you admire the backdrop that the creators have fleshed out.
  28. Very much worth your time and money if you can't get enough RTS gaming, it's just a shame it wasn’t more than yet another solid RTS.
  29. 80
    Rise of Legends is a very different sort of RTS game that genre fans will be able to pick up and play but yet will find themselves drawn into thanks to its very different look and feel.
  30. When it’s all said and done Rise of Legends is a solid RTS. The single player skirmishes with the computer are much better than playing the campaign and the multiplayer option is an absolute blast.
  31. I need to stress that even when it abstractly fails - like the campaign mode - it falls comfortably above the vast majority of its peers. When it excels it excels in the same way as an aged whiskey or a finely made leather sofa does: it exudes quality and craftsmanship. Rise of Legends is an extremely-good-to-great game. Give it time and you'll love it.
  32. Computer Games Magazine
    Following up a grand slam nuclear blast like "Nations" with a bottle rocket may seem like an odd choice. But in many ways, the smaller fiddle plays the sweeter music. [Sept. 2006, p.54]
  33. An original, attractive world full of interesting beings to kill. Just oozes interesting ideas we’ll see more of in the future. Path-finding and networking bugs add a fly to the ointment.
  34. I think this game could have used a few more months in development to tighten up the campaign and make it more fun, but at the very least I've found the multiplayer to be very entertaining.
  35. Exactly what anyone craving an eclectic director's cut of Rise of Nations could want, and just as playable, thanks in part to three well-balanced antagonists. If it's not terribly inventive, well, there's always "Rise of Nations 2," right?
  36. Edge Magazine
    Big Huge Games has dressed the RTS in its finest coat-tails, sent it on the most captivating of journeys and transformed its communication skills. There's no question it has become a creature with broader horizons and more refined taste, but there's also no question it's still a familiar figure. [June 2006, p.84]
  37. Multiplayer is the tarnished jewel in the crown.
  38. With a less slapdash campaign and tighter AI, it could have been great, but even now, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is worth playing—just not legendary.
  39. Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is an atypical real-time strategy game that manages to draw attention with its unique style, but ultimately plays like any other game in the genre.
  40. Rise of Legends is a bit flat in comparison to Rise of Nations, but quirky races and units provide a lot of off-the-wall appeal.
  41. This is yet another Reynolds strategy game that aims to please the hardcore gamer while being accessible enough for new players to learn the ropes if they are willing to put the time in thanks to the amazingly intuitive interface and striking game balance.
  42. The turn based combined with RTF is unique and fun, providing a little time for thinking and not so much twitchy trigger finger.
  43. A playable piece of art, Rise of Legends is a very pretty painting even if it is on a very standard canvas. Leonardo would probably approve.
  44. 70
    The gameplay is solid, but there are far too many mistakes and flaws that really hurt what could’ve been a solid sequel.
  45. 70
    Elegant and beautiful and quirky, and shows (in multiplayer at least) flashes of undeniable brilliance. Unfortunately, also like Leonardo's gadgets, Rise of Legends never quite gets off the ground.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 109 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. Oct 5, 2013
    Rise of Legends is everything the psuedo sequel to Rise of Nations needed to be. It was sharper, the visuals were better, the soundtrack wasRise of Legends is everything the psuedo sequel to Rise of Nations needed to be. It was sharper, the visuals were better, the soundtrack was better, the art design is still gorgeous to this day and it trimmed the fat of the bloated resource system that bogged down its predecessor. The hero units were really implemented and the entire game is so startling different that I'm amazed at the number of people who haven't heard of it. It was a rough year for Big Huge Games, as I expect they had trouble presenting it as any sort of "sequel" to Rise of Nations. Take one look at the box for the original PC release and you'll see the problem, "Rise Of Nations: Rise of Legends." Why on earth they featured this bizarre half-attempt at connecting it to their novice first title I still don't know. It doomed the game effectively, as I'm sure many who bought it were not clear how different the game was structured compared to the ridiculously popular "Rise of Nations" and "Rise of Nations: Patriots and thrones." The three factions in the game are all beautifully designed, though equally similar in terms of how they play. Their are only two resources now, which works out just perfectly for a such a fast paced real time strategy game of this kind. This is a game where matches can last just twenty minutes, so I'm sure the change-up from the lengthy Rise of Nations confused many new players. The Cuotl, the Vinci, and the Alin are all so enormously realized, that many should give it kudos for taking something entirely new and fresh for once. The combat system is much tighter this time around, the hero abilities and powers are the chief focus in most battles, which takes a lot of heat off the player constantly activating unit abilities alongside. Yet, what happened? The game had everything to offer to new players and still fell short. Who knows really. It was a bad year for Big Huge Games, but its been many great years since of falling in love with this wonderful world they've created set apart from the scourge of their beginnings. If you haven't played this game, you really aren't a fan of RTS games I'm afraid. It still has so much to offer and though lacking in a solid single player campaign, the skirmish mode is incredibly fun and their is no doubt in my mind- you will have a great time with this game should you play it. Full Review »
  2. TJ
    Sep 22, 2007
    A wonderful game! Amazing graphics, good story, fun campaigns, very unique factions and units, and some nice UI features. I highly recommend A wonderful game! Amazing graphics, good story, fun campaigns, very unique factions and units, and some nice UI features. I highly recommend this game to any RTS afficionado. Full Review »
  3. Jul 13, 2015
    Great game that has very distinctive factions and some excellent multiplayer. The campaign is also pretty good as well. Overall I'd highlyGreat game that has very distinctive factions and some excellent multiplayer. The campaign is also pretty good as well. Overall I'd highly recommend it. Full Review »