Classics never gets old

User Rating: 8 | Age of Mythology: Extended Edition PC

I am a big fan of RTS games, but people like me have been starving for a new decent game for ages. It is an underdeveloped genre these days, and all the big RTS titles seems to have wandered off to die after several poor releases. Age of Empires died with the Age of Empires online, and Command and Conquer was abused and messed up thoroughly by EA before it finally also found its resting place. The only survivor seems to be Starcraft, but the last version is already aging now. Some other attempts at the genre has been made recently, but I feel all of them has wandered too far from the classic path to give that RTS itch a proper scratch.

So, what does an avid RTS fan do when there is nothing new comes out? Look to the past of course. I still pull out my old Command & Conquer 3 sometimes, and it is still great fun. And Age of Mythology is another of my favorites, so naturally I caught this off steam on the day of its release.

I will assume you have already played the original, so I am not going to go into great depths about it here.

Then, what is new? Well, for once, the game works perfectly in a modern operating system without tweaking, and its on Steam, which is a good enough reason to get it in itself. I have since long lost my original game CDs.

Although some people in the forum has complained about some technical issues when playing on a modern version of Windows, I did not experience any of that. And after a recent patch, the game also runs much smoother than at first. So, thumbs up for coming out with updates fast.

The 3D engine has seen an overhaul, and you now have realtime shadows and day/night cycles. Textures has been improved somewhat to accommodate the new engine, and you can notice new normal maps which gives some more 3D feel to the terrain. These and other subtle improvements helps to shave some years off the age, but since the game is now more than a decade old it still struggles to look modern. The low polygon characters and low resolution textures are still giving off is age pretty well.

However, it does not really matter that much, as the graphical style is still really great. I also found there is a toggle that allows you to move the camera far out, which makes these resolution issues unimportant. I have a huge PC monitor, and two GTX 780 in SLI, so I could crank up the resolution to the max and add the best antialiasing to truly get the most out of it. In this zoomed out mode the game looks really great, bar a few glitches which I assume will be fixed soon.

A great addition is full integration with Steamworks, to make it very easy to install new mods. This makes it very easy and enjoyable to try out mods for the game, and there are already a good handful out there just days after the release. I hope this will attract more modders, as the game has a lot of potential for user created content. The built in map editor also makes it easy to upload your own contribution even with no coding knowledge.

There is also multiplayer, but I am not really into that, so I didnt try yet. But I am sure this re-release will breathe new life into the multiplayer community.

other than the above mentioned, there is not a lot new in this extended version. The campaign feels a bit aged, especially the cutscenes with close ups of super low polygon characters, but it is an enjoyable experience. I found I enjoy Skirmish quite a lot as it has many options that allows you to tailor the opponent to exactly suit your ability. A few more would not hurt though, like the ability to disable titans, or to more accurately adjust the difficulty settings.

All in all, a welcomed blast from the past, although I think they should have added some more things in there, such as a new campaign and high resolution textures.

I hope they will make a lot of money on this re release so they will understand this genre has a lot of fans starving for a proper new classic RTS game.