MOTHA. FUCKING. GUNS. wtf this has got to be my favourite aoe ever, i mean cannons, rockets, grenades? hell yes, first time i played it i practically jizzed all over the keyboard, BRING ON THE AGE OF EMPIRES MODERN WARFARE. not saying that i don't love the old ones, my whole childhood gaming was spent on the age of kings and the gold edition. i want the new aoe to be out this year, and i want to see tanks, rpgs, machine guns and wmds (not ones that take 5 hours to make a.k.a supreme commander style) AOE FOREVER.
Age of Empires III Review
Those looking for a complex and interesting real-time strategy game with fantastic good looks and some historical flavor will find just what they want in Age of Empires III.
Age III makes a number of other changes to the series, though these may seem less original if you've kept up with real-time strategy gaming. For example, new colonies start with an explorer, an unkillable hero character whom you should use to reveal the fog of war around your starting area and who can also collect treasures and earn you experience early on. You'll find bandit camps, wild critters, and more guarding various trinkets that can help give you an economic edge in the beginning. More importantly, the explorer gives you something to do besides waiting for your resources to add up in the early going. If your explorer loses all his hit points, he collapses and may either be ransomed back for some coin or recovered by friendly units. As mentioned, you may also ally yourself with various Native American tribes by building trading posts on their reservations. Perhaps in the spirit of political correctness, Native American buildings cannot be destroyed, but by crushing a foe's trading post, his ties with the tribe are severed. Native American tribes each have a handful of units and economic upgrades you may purchase if you like, diversifying your strategy. Trading posts may be used in other places.
In previous Age of Empires games, you could win a match by building and defending one of the wonders of the world, as opposed to just stomping all your opponents back to the Stone Age. For better or worse, in Age of Empires III, conquest is the only option...down to the very last man. Annoyingly, you need to completely decimate the enemy's side to win a match. The opponent is free to resign at any time, but when playing against sore losers on the Internet, matches might easily drag on for longer than necessary because some uppity person insists on scattering a handful of peasants behind trees and in the corners of the map. There are ways to reveal the enemy's position very late in the game, but why Age of Empires III matches don't end at the destruction of an enemy colony, as opposed to with genocide, isn't particularly clear. It's also somewhat frustrating that your home cities gain experience separately online and offline. Presumably this is to prevent cheating, but it still makes you feel like you're wasting your time playing skirmish matches offline when you could be gaining "real" experience playing against opponents online. It's actually possible to gain experience online playing against the computer, but only if there's at least one other player in the match.
Speaking of the computer opponents in Age of Empires III, they range from numbingly brain-dead at the "easy" setting to challenging at the "hard" and "expert" settings. In the Age of Empires tradition, the computer is incompetent in maps with a lot of naval warfare in them. However, on land-based maps, it can set up an economy very efficiently (at higher difficult settings), and it can harass you with greater numbers, both of which can more than compensate for the computer's lack of subtlety. Playing against the artificial intelligence is good for practice, but playing against real players definitely makes for a better experience. That applies to the game's campaign as well. Beginning with an adventure that takes you in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth, the fictitious campaign in Age of Empires III consists mainly of just the sort of missions you've come to expect, along with the less-than-stellar voice work and awkward cutscenes to move the story along. It would be unfair to dismiss the campaign outright, since it helps teach you the ropes and presents you with some unique situations, not to mention a high volume of different missions. But it's pretty standard for a real-time strategy game, and the swashbuckling high-adventure feel of the storyline seems better suited to Age of Mythology than to Age of Empires.
Were it not for the awkward unit behavior and frame rate issues, Age of Empires III would look truly amazing. Maps with water on them are especially dramatic, as you can see waves gently rocking massive warships, whose cannons make them shudder from side to side. Ships, as well as buildings, break apart in chunks, with lots of fire and smoke all around, making for a spectacular sight. There are plenty of subtle animations to appreciate among the other military units in the game, and there's a good amount of variety to the environments, from the lush jungles of South America on up to the frigid Yukon. The combat has some thrilling moments, such as when a cannonball sends infantry careening every which way, but until the big guns come in to the picture, it all looks pretty tame. It's worth noting that Age of Empires III does a good job of autodetecting the best graphical settings for your system, and despite all the visual wizardry going on, it runs reasonably well--even on fairly modest systems.
The game sounds great, too, though in real-time strategy tradition, you'll hear the same unit acknowledgments over and over (at least they're mostly spoken in their native languages). Cannon fire is particularly dramatic, and when one force or another wins a skirmish, it's exciting to see all the men stand and cheer. The game's musical score flits between the different cultures' sounds while sticking well to the overall theme.
Age of Empires III has some very big shoes to fill, and on top of that, the real-time strategy market has grown hugely competitive due in no small part to Ensemble Studios' previous accomplishments. This latest game offers a lot of what made Age II so great, and it's got plenty of depth and lasting appeal, despite how most matches tend to begin and ultimately pan out similarly. Age III does seem surprisingly rough around the edges in some respects, and those expecting the game to revolutionize or even refresh this style of gaming may come away disappointed that their high expectations weren't met. But those looking for a complex and interesting real-time strategy game with fantastic good looks and some historical flavor will find just what they want in Age of Empires III.
- Player Reviews: 747
- Game Universe:
- Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (PC, PS2),
- Age of Empires II: Gold Edition (MAC, PC),
- Age of Empires III (PC, MAC, BB),
- Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (PC, MAC),
- Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (PC, MAC),
- Age of Empires (PC, MAC, GIZ, MOBILE),
- Age of Empires: Mythologies (DS),
- Age of Empires III: Gold Edition (PC),
- Age of Empires: The Age of Kings (DS),
- Age of Empires: Collector's Edition (PC)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
8 Players Online