This game, is balls. In a good way.
I had this game since it came out, about 2003 or 2004, and if it wasn't because the CD ended up useless after using it too much, I would probably still play the original version, and have not bought this one. But dude, at THIS price, how to say "no"? Less than 1€ for this? But you probably don't know crap about it, do you? I won't judge for that, actually!
Praetorians is an Spanish strategy game, from the old, old times. Because it was made ONLY in Spanish, the English version was kind of rushed, that being one of the biggest problems of the game: Holy ♥♥♥♥, the English voices suck so hard, I rather call GG and ragequit from life. If you're Spanish, you can just install a patch to put the good Spanish voices, but if you're not...Learn Spanish, or get ear-♥♥♥♥♥, I guess. The other main issue with this game, is the fact that was build to work on Windows XP, back when it was mainstream. That means you will have some problems, unless you check in the game files, and set the .exe file of the game to run as it was on Windows XP. Not a big deal, but unless you do it, your game will look corrupted as ♥♥♥♥, with black textures, and stuff like that. The last bad thing about this game, is that the original servers are loooooooong gone. Fear not, though. Lan still works just fine, and there are ways to play online, one of them, and probably the best one, being GameRanger...Or whatever that thing is called, haven't tested it yet, but I will (if I find anything wrong with it, I will edit this part of the Review). Now that the bad stuff of the game, I can just go along and tell you about the rest.
But hey, is the actual game any good? Holy ♥♥♥♥, it is. Have you played other strategy games? Warcraft III? Age of Empires? Starcraft? In most strategy games, you spend an awful lot of time getting resources: Wood, gold, food, all kinds of stuff, right? WELL F#CK THAT, WE ARE GOING REALISTIC HERE. Praetorians was one of those games that decided to f#ck da police, and do something diferent, and on this case, it works quite well!
There's only two resources here: First, people. How do you get people? Capture a town. You DON'T build the towns, they already exist out there. Find one, force them to work with you by building some pointless-looking tower, and send your Captain on it. If the town has, for example, 300 recluits, you will be able to build 300 soldiers. Most troops go in sets of 12, 16 or 30, though. And what's the other resource? Honor. You get honor by killing enemy units, doesn't matter if they're scouts, simple soldiers, or their captains. With honor, you can build stronger units, like cavalry.
There are 3 races: Romans (Hey cousin, let's go bolling!), Barbarians, and Egypcians. It's not too much, I know, but just like the 4 races of Warcraft 3, they all feel different: Romans mainly use their formations, and rely on the player to think before doing anything stupid, using the terrain to it's favor. Barbarians have less troops, but can work together, setting up powerful traps (for example, their main warriors can immobilize an enemy troop long enough for you to aim your siege units, and annihilate them), and the Egypcians...Well, they're not used much, mainly because their troops are weaker, but faster to build. It turns into a Zerg-rush quite quick. That doesn't mean they're not good to play as, just not as fun. Their Special units (remember, you build them with honor) are quite powerful, though.
When it comes to how to navigate the map, and how gameplay works into it, it feels like Warcraft III, but more tactical:
Troops that are not spear-mans and cavalry can go into forests. Inside them, they're invisible for the enemies outside.
The tall-grass works in a similar way, but spear-mans are allowed to go in. The bad part of it, is that archers can set the tall-grass on fire, making it hard to go across, and pretty much instantly killing any soldiers hidden on it.
Only your main soldiers (like the Roman legionnaires), and I think Siege units as well, won't be able to cross rivers.
Troops that are in high-grounds will get vision of anything bellow, and will get extra-range of they're ranged units. Units bellow won't see from where the attacks are comming, and won't see the enemies as well.
You get the idea. It doesn't matter that you build yourself a huge army with 500 soldiers, you go in without exploring first, and you're probably getting your ♥♥♥ whopped. Because that's another thing, exploration units! There are two, ground and sky exploration:
With the ground scout, you can check forests and tall-grass. And incase you think the enemy might be near, you can send your wolf instead. Don't worry, the wolf won't get killed, but they can chase it and find the scout!
The sky scout works like the ground one while you don't use his companion, an eagle. You can send it to any nearby places, and see from the sky what's up there. It scouts way quicker than the ground one, but won't get any vision on woods, and any enemy range unit will scare it off with an attack.
You get the main idea, this game is Warcraft III, set in the Ancient Rome, and serious as hell. If you're a filthy casual, you can indeed have fun with the single player and the bots, though. The story mode is actually quite long, with like 30 or more chapters, all of them with voices and it's own story, all of it, based on real battles. The bots play well, and come in 3 different settings of difficulty, and the maps are quite good as well. And incase you get bored of the game, or want more stuff, there's one mod called "Imperial Mod 5.0", or something like that, that adds a bunch more races, a ♥♥♥♥-load of maps, more music, and better textures. Of course, the game looks dated at these times...But I don't mind, it was pretty before, and it's kind of pretty today, still.
If you love real-time strategy games, and don't like to set up bases to farm like a ♥♥♥♥♥ for half the match, you should look into this game. Specially with the price drops. Right now, as I write this, it's at less than 1€, and I can tell you, for that price YOU SHOULD TOTALLY BUY IT. At full price it's something like 4-5€, and even though it's still a good price, you might want to wait for a better deal. Just let yourself go, and enjoy old games that where actually good, without ripping off all your money.