Lacking reality, not recommended for AOE2 fans.
djynen wrote this review on .
Instead, Ensemble Studios, sensing that Stainless Steel and others had already trodden that path, decided to explore a more contained and eventful era - the exploration of the new world. The result is a game lacking in the scope and grandeur of AOE2, but surprisingly fun to play - providing you can get over or dismiss the lack of realism.
The most important issue to overlook is the more self-contained and utilitarian building choices in AOE3. For instance, Instead of 3 separate buildings for refinding your gold, metal and wood, you have a single market building in which you can research resource gathering refinements in all 3 areas. Or having your villagers gather resources without having to travel to a resource gathering point. This makes it easier to coordinate gameplay, but isn't as realistic. In fact, there are quite a few areas where the developers have sacrificed any sense of reality for gameplay convenience.
Another minor nitpick I have with AOE3 is the way the "City Cards" concept was presented. Instead of having a limited view of the City Harbor, I wish they had implemented a majestic view of the entire city instead.
In conclusion, it's obvious that Ensemble Studios have turned AOE3 into a much faster paced game, in order to compete with Dawn of War or Warcraft 3. Instead, the result is a game lacking in that sense of reality that made AOE2 such an in-depth and lengthy experience to play. I wouldn't call AOE3 a classic, but it has enough merits that it can stand on its own.