Dominions 3: The Awakening

Moby ID: 27234
Windows Specs
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Description

For time untold, the Pantokrator ruled over the known worlds as a god and was the most powerful force known. He slew other creatures who strived to make themselves gods, denounced as pretenders, and asserted his will over all. Those that survived the Pantokrator's hunt either hid themselves among the worlds, or vanished into a deep sleep, to rise once more when safe. Finally, after hundreds of years the Pantokrator has fallen and a power vacuum is left in his wake. The world has fallen into chaos and kingdom clashes against kingdom as spheres of power expand. The pretenders reawaken into the world. Allying themselves and being worshipped by specific civilizations and races, they know that they must fight one another... for obstacles must be defeated in order to obtain godhood.

Dominions 3: The Awakening is a 4X turn-based strategy game that's primarily played on a world map. Starting from a randomly generated or assembled map, players choose from among 20 civilizations and an avatar creature with which to conquer all others. From this new kingdom, players manage resources in their provinces and assemble armies (a commander, and any additional units) who are able to move between the provinces, conquer new lands and perform other tasks. Each province produces its own amount of taxes (gold), resources, supplies and special bonuses, which are used to construct fortifications, churches, hire mercenaries, buy new units and manage the empire.

As Dominions 3 is a fantasy game, commanders may also be proficient in one of six different kinds of magic spells. Players must assign commanders to research in order to discover and learn new spells before they can be used in battle. There also exists "field spells" which can be cast outside of battle, but which consume magical gems as their cost. Magical Gems can be found from magical events or by discovering the magical sites that may or may not exist in any given province.

Game rules can be customized to make any game easier or harder. Multiplayer functions allow players to compete against one another in empire building online. A variety of victory conditions can be set to determine the winner.

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Credits (Windows version)

36 People (15 developers, 21 thanks) · View all

Created by
  • Illwinter Game Design
Publishing
  • Shrapnel Games
Game Design
Programming
Graphics
Music
  • Falsobordone - www.kulturkometen.com
  • Dråm - www.kulturkometen.com
Manual
Maps
Example Mod
Additional Sound Effects
  • Michael Huang Productions - www.michaelhuang.com
Thanks to everyone who participated in Shrapnel Games' beta test of Dominions 3
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 12 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 8 ratings with 1 reviews)

Doesn't deserve all the praise.

The Good
It's not that Dom3 hasn't good ideas. If we're to mention one, that's precisely the Dominion: power from your pretending god that spreads through the land, changing and influencing it. For example, a Death Dominion spreads decay, lowering population growth; a nice touch adding flavor to your character and possibly determining an overall strategy.

The Bad
For sure the game is deep, and for sure it has detail. The number of options you have during a turn is astonishing... Really?

Well, I wouldn't say so. The managerial part of the game is almost non-existent: there is gold, and there are resources to feed your armies, but that's all. The only improvements you can build are the fortresses and a temple to spread your Dominion. The terrain plays a little part by modifying the amount of both, but that's all. Things your commanders (and your character) can do... I haven't really found that astonishing list mentioned in their site.

We're so to think that this title is focused as a wargame, but also falls short in this aspect. The tactical part is somewhat (and intentionally) neglected, charging you with decisions about general orders and deployment. However, once the battle starts there's no decision for you to make. I wasn't expecting a full tactical control akin to Master of Magic (an inevitable comparison), but at least issue orders to my formations, and decide what spell is cast, when, and the target. Even worse, you cannot set the deployment of units at the start of a battle, something that hurts more when you're defending. Since orders to give are so generic (attack closest enemy, attack cavalry, attack archers) you also cannot launch an attack against a specific enemy formation or unit; if the order is "attack archers", the target can be any enemy with missile weapons. If it's "attack largest enemies"... well, the same. But the thing that annoyed me the most was that terrain is of no consequence in battle. Attack a plain, attack a forest, attack a mountain peak, attack crossing a river: doesn't mean anything.

There is a frightening amount of monsters that reaches 1500+, but doesn't is as impressive as it sounds. Since there are lots, they're also similar to each other; they're even similar when pictured at the interface, making very hard to distinguish between them.

And there's also an impressive list of more than 600 spells. But again, a large part of them are summonings, of monsters that resemble each other. Battle spells, as you have wondered, aren't under your control, except through an order that tells a spellcasting commander to cast a specific one, where and when he likes. As with units, doesn't is as impressive as it sounds.

The Bottom Line
I tried Dom3 when released, and didn't convince me. Recently, I tried it again, with more or less the same result.

Deep and detailed, but leaving little room for player input. Given the strategic scope of the game, one would expect (at least me) a more important management component, which is not present. Instead, one can expect a more detailed strategic combat model, but there is also not present (no terrain effects, no weather effects, no attrition, no timed movement between provinces...). Lacking those, the only remaining is the tactical part, but you cannot do much save issuing a few generic orders prior to battle. What's there left, then? A game that isn't as good as they claim.

All reviews I've read about Dom3 say the opposite, though. But, after delving and playing the game, I can only think that blaming independent titles is viewed as thing of casual gamers and FPS devourers, so cause of the high scores Dom3 obtained. Not the case, I assure you. If a game is lacking, is lacking no matter where it came from.

Windows · by Technocrat (193) · 2007

Trivia

Awards

  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2007 - #7 Game of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Shoddyan.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 26, 2007. Last modified January 17, 2024.