Zeus: Master of Olympus is just like any of the real-time city games in the market today and this includes the Pharaoh series. This platform usually mixes together urban management with colonial and imperial management. And even if this is just like its predecessors in Impressions series, this has gone through a total overhaul which makes it better and more challenging.
For those who may not have made a connection yet, Zeus: Master of Olympus is set in ancient Greece although the gameplay is not affected by it at all. As a whole, playing Zeus is like playing Pharaoh but only on the surface. The goal is to manage the city as a whole. From the agricultural sector all the way up to the security of the city, the gamer has to make sure that there is enough going on for the citys populace to ensure a good economy and very, very low unemployment rating. Pretend to be Obama on this one and you get the gist.
As the gameplay goes on, the differences from the preceding games becomes more apparent. Somehow, Impressions managed to add in more fun into an already fun game. It all begins with building the city from the most basic foundation up. The aim is to make the city function and once that is achieved, this will put an end on the first mission. The following will put the gamer in charge but this time, instead of a builder, the role is more like a Greek superhero, think Hercules and Perseus. As the gameplay proceeds, of course the city gains in strength. Eventually, as the ruler of the city, the gamer has the chance to think of colonizing an area to increase the revenues. There will be a point where the surrounding cities and countries start realizing that there is a clear and present danger so they either invade the territory or defend theirs. The goal is to get as much territory and to make sure the city is strong and independent able to defend its walls.
As this is set in Greek mythology, all the gods are represented and their sanctuaries are a great help. The only downside to Zeus is the combat. There is a need for a lot of adjustments, maneuvering and such. The difficulties of a war is also apparent. The troops are civilians, if the army gets too large the other industries suffer for there are no workers, lowered production and the need to feed said army. If the wrong decision is made in the defense of the city, said city can get crippled economically.
Compared to other city building games, Zeus: Master of Olympus ups the levels considerably. No longer is there a mindless need to expand and build without consequence. This time the gamer has to actually think out how their actions and decisions can affect the rest of the city and the economy. This broadens the light a bit and can be disconcerting, but it is fun and challenging.