|Al_Kharn the Great
Constantinople, 1453 A.D.
||Age of Empires II: DE
||Build and Destroy
Witness the ultimate battle between East and West as you defend the last bastion of the Roman Empire against impossible odds.
Defend Constantinople inch by inch to re-write the city's tragic history
Fully voice acted scenario brings the siege and fall of Constantinople to life
Challenge yourself on three difficulty levels and complete optional challenge objectives
About the Author:
Filthydelphia (xbox: PhillySouljah) is the award-winning designer of historical custom campaigns and official content for the Age of Empires franchise. Part of the Forgotten Empires campaign team, his works include the Portuguese, Burmese, Bulgarian, Italian, and Indian campaigns featured in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition as well as several campaigns in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. Outside of Age of Empires, he is a captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Step into the sandals of Emperor Constantine XII and defend the fabled city of Constantinople from the Turks! This is a wonderful scenario with a strong Historical element and enough varied gameplay elements to make it stand out from the crowd.
The only downsides for me were that in my game, the unique research opportunities at the Hagia Sophia disappeared mid-game. As far as I could tell, there was no warning that this would happen, so it felt like a bit of an unfair disappointment. I don't feel like this was worth taking a star off, however.
I had to replay a few times until I came out victorious, which is exactly how I like my Defend The Spot scenarios. If things go wrong, they can quickly snowball into disaster, but although the situation felt thematically hopeless, I never felt like it was unfair gameplay-wise. The player will need to balance tight micro-control with an awareness of what is going on at a larger macro scale in order to maintain the defense on multiple fronts.
There is a lot of creativity evident in this scenario. Instead of simply defending the spot endlessly, there are a number of side objectives to be pursued, and multiple ways to achieve them. The Byzantines now have some unique technologies to aid them in their defense.
Map Design: 5
The city is a very faithful representation of Medieval Constantinople, with all of the walls, gates, monuments and harbors in their proper place. The city is aesthetically pleasing and due to its large size, is difficult to adequately defend, even with large numbers of troops.
In addition to the layout of the city, the battle itself proceeds according to the historical account, while giving the player the opportunity to change the outcome. The scenario features a cast of historical heroes to aid in the defense, and it also delivers fine voice acting. The numerous side-objectives that the player can pursue are clearly delivered and easy to understand (although not always as easy to execute).
All in all, this was a really great experience!
It is the year 1453 and the fate of Byzantium rests in your hands as legions of Ottoman Turks approach the walls of Constantinople! The Last Romans places the player in command of the massive walled Byzantine capital, with the task of building up its defenses and repelling the besieging forces. After a short period of preparation time during which the player can array the garrison, research technologies, put civilians to work, and strengthen the position, the onslaught begins as droves of Turks come pouring towards the gates of the city. The task: to resist until the summer heat and the threat of relief forces compel the Turks to abandon the siege. Each section of the city has its own unique features that make it strong or vulnerable and give the player various means of defense: expect to constantly (re)allocate troops to hold the gates while cavalry sally out to destroy siege engines and cut down Janissaries. As the scenario text states, there is a natural rhythm to a siege: each assault is followed in turn by a period of respite during which the player can heal, redistribute, and upgrade defenders, repair fortifications, and attempt secondary objectives in order to cripple the enemy or increase the morale of the defenders. Well-paced, appropriately challenging, action-packed, and enjoyable to play, this entry is more than worthy of a perfect score in this category.
In a scenario like this, pacing and balance go hand in hand, and this entry excelled in both. Assaults come from multiple directions in varying forms, requiring the player to adopt a versatile approach: both land and sea must be safeguarded, the latter not just due to its situation as an avenue of attack, but also as it will soon become the city’s only source of food. Side objectives are appropriately challenging and rewarding, but the sense of urgency climbs over time as the strength of the enemy assaults increases. With a quick start, it is possible to complete most side objectives quite rapidly as well as focus on clearing the sea of threats while the land assaults are fairly feeble, and it is refreshing to see a setup that rewards such swift and decisive action. If one critique were to be levied here, it would be that the playing experience becomes somewhat predictable as the experience goes on; threats from the sea are quite feeble and are easily dispatched by a handful of ships or the garrisoned Leander’s tower, and the flow and composition of enemy attacks was fairly consistent, and, while increasingly challenging, capable of being parried through the same sets of tactics.
Another firm strength of the scenario. As aforementioned, this entry pushed boundaries in its scale, but otherwise was fairly standard and accessible in its structure. The author did an excellent job of incorporating historically accurate and justified aspects of a siege into gameplay in a seamless fashion, and the economic setup combined with the ability to access several unique upgrades at the Hagia Sophia was also something new. To enumerate some other things that added to the experience: the method of quantifying assaults by digital time but the overall siege in days was both realistic and accessible and added to the immersion, furthermore, the side objectives and challenge quests present players with the additional factors of replayability and the ambition of completionism. Overall, the entry is not groundbreaking in this sphere, but it is more than well above average, and worthy of a high score here.
Map Design: 5
Aesthetically, the map is utterly brilliant. Players can expect to encounter a vast, diverse city whose detail is matched by that of the surrounding land and sea. The product as a whole was appealing to look at, fun to play, and made with a keen eye for historical detail. In its visual value it was barely surpassed only by one other entry, but what truly sets it apart is its ambition and the high level of quality that is maintained regardless. The city of Constantinople is depicted in worthily massive fashion, and players will delight in regarding the well-represented and detailed variety of the city’s districts and the surrounding regions, which make adept and judicious use of the Definitive Edition features and assets for a believable and enjoyable result. The entry’s ambition might be its sole weakness; Constantinople is so massive that players might feel overwhelmed by the task of defending a city of such sheer size and the practical issue of remembering the location of production buildings (control-group hotkeys are a must), but that is an intended part of the challenge. One minor quip: the sea gates forming the Golden Horn chain had a dreadful effect on the pathfinding of ships, and I was compelled to delete them. Regardless, I daresay that a DtS entry of such scale has never been executed so well, and it goes without saying that in this category it excelled.
Perhaps the strongest aspect of the scenario behind the gameplay, the narrative seizes the player’s attention from the start, with a well written and voiced introduction complete with music and sound effects that contextualizes the situation with flying colors. Instructions are clear and direct, and in typical fashion the author prefers to let the player take control of the narrative through the gameplay. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is maintained through the shrewd usage of dialogues for the occasional instruction or flavor, each with excellent voice acting of the author’s own recording. One can sense the emotion and passion in each line and feel inspired to continue with vigor. The concluding narrative slides pick up right where the introduction left off, taking a firmly historical but nevertheless impassioned and entertaining tone, complete with the atmospheric qualities of the introduction. There is nothing here to criticize, and everything to praise.
The Last Romans is the author's finest custom work to date and a worthy winner of the 2020 Defend the Spot Competition. In short, it is a must-download.