by Tracy Whitelaw
author awarded score: 60/100

Alexander Review
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: In-house
Format Reviewed: PC
Review by: Tracy Whitelaw

The upcoming release of Oliver Stones Alexander starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie is bound to be a fairly big movie as a lot of guys are going to want to go see all the fight scenes I imagine. Even though the reviews of it have been mediocre (and trust me this is hard for me to say as a die-hard Angelina fan), it’s sure to grab the attention of certain sections of the population, much the same as the accompanying game from UbiSoft for PC. The game seems to have been released at this moment with two aims in mind, primarily selling some extra copies due to the Christmas buying frenzy and of course tying in with the release of the film. The problem I’ve found with this however is that the game seems to have been rushed a little and the gameplay suffers because of this. Let me explain in more detail.

Alexander the Game - Ubisoft

The premise of Alexander is to thrust you into the role of the historical figure in a real time strategy game where you can follow and retrace Alexander The Greats conquests. You have the option of playing single player or multi player and you can choose missions which show you different perspectives on the battles at hand, Macedonia, Persia, India and Egypt. These aren’t that bad in themselves and they’ll keep you occupied because there is a lot of content in this game but I found that overall there were too many fiddly problems with the controls to really allow the game to be absorbing. Even though its easy to work out your goals and tasks due to the handy minimap, there just seems to be an overall feel of… well… to be blunt, cheapness. I noticed a ton of spelling mistakes which is just downright not acceptable, lots of confusing historical facts which seem to differ from any other version of events I’ve heard of and controls which don’t respond the way they’re meant to.

Alexander the Game - Ubisoft

When you’re creating your armies and constructing buildings etc, the beauty is that it works fast and efficiently and because there are so many available units you can become absorbed by this aspect of the game. You expect this smoothness to carry on into the battles and unfortunately it doesn’t. At times I found myself yelling at the PC screen, “NO, I didn’t say to go forward!”, as yet another brigade runs head first into battle only to be defeated. The problem with this is that if you send in your lovely heroes and they die, you have to start over again. It is very frustrating when you command your brigade to do something and they just don’t move, equally as frustrating as when they do the opposite. This is one of the main problems with this game and it should really be the tightest part of the game since it’s strategy based and options like this really can be the difference between winning and losing.

It’s such a pity that these basic controls aren’t as sharp as they should be because I found the graphics on the game pretty good. You won’t be wowed by them but you should be happy enough and be pleased that they’re doing a good job. As with a lot of RTS games, you’re not right on top of the battles anyway and tend to be watching things from afar where everything is a lot smaller. This all looks good. I only noticed a few problems with frame rate slowdown and this was during extremely large battles. To be honest though it isn’t anything that detracts immensely for me from the game. The sound is also pretty standard. There aren’t many bells and whistles but again it does an ok job of conveying the feel of the game and the sound effects are fine. I wasn’t really overly impressed with the voice acting and I’m hoping the movie is a lot better!

Alexander the Game - Ubisoft

This isn’t that likely to appeal to female gamers unless you are a true fan of RTS games. There just wasn’t anything here to welcome a female gamer which of course is probably representative of the time anyway but it would have been nice to see something there for girls.

Overall, this is an ok game that delivers ok gameplay. That’s about as honest as I can be. It looks fine and it sounds fine but the problem with non-responsive armies etc really puts a dampener on the game overall. I think it could have been so much better and the strategy aspects of it could have been developed more thoughtfully. It will no doubt appeal to those who fancy slipping into Alexanders shoes however other than that it really is equal to or slightly worse than a lot of other games out there of the same genre.
I really wanted to like this because I want the movie to be good as well, but I didn’t find myself whooping for joy at all throughout. I’d say it doesn’t live up to its namesake unfortunately, it’s simply not that great.