Yesterday, Ensemble Studios completed development on its official expansion to last year's hit real-time strategy game, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. Titled The Conquerors, the expansion introduces five new playable civilizations - the Aztecs, the Huns, the Koreans, the Mayans, and the Spanish - and several new campaigns. The expansion makes for a total of 18 different playable civilizations in Age of Empires II. The expansion also adds many subtler features that collectively enhance the game and help bring it up to date.
Fans familiar with Age of Kings will quickly notice that The Conquerors adds a few graphical features, such as distinctive interface designs for each of the different civilizations. Also available for each civilization are new units, like halberdiers and petards, and new technologies, such as theocracy and herbal medicine. Each civilization, both new and old, now has its own unique technology.
The expansion also makes various improvements to the game's interface and the artificial intelligence. For instance, villagers now automatically begin harvesting a resource after they construct the corresponding mine, and siege weapons won't automatically attack an enemy target in the midst of friendly troops. In addition, the expansion adds new arctic and tropical terrain tilesets and new Mezo-American building art for the Mayans and the Aztecs.
The Conquerors also includes a number of new multiplayer options and an enhanced scenario editor. The expansion is slated to ship to stores late this month. Look for GameSpot's full review in time for the game's release. Until then, take a look at these new shots featuring some of the new units in The Conquerors, such as the Spanish conquistadors and the Korean turtle boats.