Day 4. Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
It’s not an easy job to develop a really exciting real-time strategy because you have to balance the graphical, strategic and narrative aspects of the game. Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is an excellent example of a modern RTS. The game offers an original approach to the plot, history and technological achievements of the warring nations, features superb animation of war units and buildings, employs an advanced physics model (support of PhysX is to be added in the future) and spectacular visual effects with changing weather, but the plot is given little attention and there’s lack of briefings that would introduce you to the intricacies of the game universe. In any case, if you do like real-time strategies, the product from Big Huge Games won’t leave you indifferent.
After 3D graphics came to the real-time strategy genre, the system requirements of such games grew manifold. The computer should yield at least 25fps for you to play Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends normally, and all the multi-GPU subsystems included in this review can give you that much. Once again we see the premium-class solutions from ATI and Nvidia equal each other whereas the GeForce 7950 GX2 is a little behind the leaders due to its considerably lower frequencies.
The GeForce 7900 GTX and the Radeon X1900 XTX give out a comfortable frame rate even in 1920x1200. The single-chip solutions are equals again.
When full-screen antialiasing is in use, even high-end graphics cards have surprisingly low results in Rise of Legends. They barely reach 40fps in 1280x1024. We can see that the Radeon X1900 XT is somewhat better than the GeForce 7900 GTX in that resolution, but both have the same average performance of 28fps in 1920x1200.
It’s clear that the better performance of the Radeon X1900 XT is due to its having more pixel processors on board, which is confirmed by the comparison of the results of the less advanced products, the Radeon X1800 XT and the Radeon X1900 GT. The latter has fewer TMUs and a lower core clock rate, but beats the R520-based card that has only 16 pixel processors against the Radeon X1900 GT’s 36.
So what card is a better buy? The Radeon X1800 XT is not the best option because it has the lowest performance in the high-end category. Otherwise the choice is yours, but don’t forget that even such powerful products as the Radeon X1900 XT or GeForce 7900 GTX do not offer a high speed when you enable full-screen antialiasing, so if you want to use really high resolutions, you will probably have to play without FSAA.