Review by Ofisil
"One of the best the RTS genre has to offer"
Age of Mythology is an RTS developed by Ensemble Studios and released by Microsoft Game Studios. It can be said that Age Of Mythology is another Age Of Empires game because not only it is another RTS of the same developing team, but it also has similar gameplay. The only difference is that instead of historical events, the game takes place in the world of myths and to be precise the mythologies presented by the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Norse
and believe me the result is quite good!!!
The main campaign tells us about the story of Arkantos, great admiral of Atlantis. Arkantos things that he has lost Poseidon's favor and sets on a quest to gain it back, (aided throughout the game by the goddess Athena). While the game progresses you find out that there is someone that tries to awaken a great evil from beneath the earth so you start hunting him down. There are many famous mythological events mixed with the story, like the siege of Troy, Odysseus capture from the sorceress Circe and many more that all rolled into one big story. Although there are three races there is actually only one main campaign. You start from Greece, then go to Egypt and end up in the Norselands. It is a typical epic story with a bit cheesy characters, dialogs and simple plot twits but it is actually quite good, especially if you like mythology and although quite predictable it makes you play in order to see what will happen.
The Age Of games had always simple and good looking graphics and now they are even better and for the first time 3D. All races look very good and have their unique structure and interface style, units are brightly colored and although lacking detail they are good to look at and animation very well. All landscapes from the grassy plains of Greece and the deserts of Egypt to the frozen lands of the Norse look great. Day\night cycle that looks very good, some weather effects and great terrain textures. Finally Excellent special effects like thunders, explosions and many more that all look great.
Surely the worst aspect of the game is its sound and by that I mean both sound effects and music. Nothing is irritating or with bad quality, but it also doesn't seem to help the game. Music themes are very boring and repetitive, when gathering recourses or building structures you hear a simple and soothing medieval\mythology-style theme that is ok, but when you fight this music is quite irrelevant. Sometimes when you attack a base or defending yours from larger armies a battle theme starts that is actually quite good, but you rarely get to hear it. Another thing that destroys the atmosphere of the game is its sounds. Again they have good quality but it lacks something and that is volume power. Battle sounds are a bit weak. Sword clanging sound more like tin fighting and arrows\spears sound like paper planes. Units have good voice acting I guess and all three races use their own language, (although as a Greek I must admit that the Greek units had very funny accents, I cant tell about the other races).
For starters the game is a typical Age of Empires. Gather resources, (gold, lumber, food and the new resource type favor), create structures that make upgrades and unit training available, create an army and defeat the opponents.
All Age of Empires games along with this one make use of the so-called ages, meaning that by giving an amount of resources and having built the required structures you have the opportunity to move into the next age with the click of a button. When progressing to the next stage you get even more upgrades available for all your buildings, like faster villagers, stronger units, harder structures and many more. Also you can create more units and structures, for example to create the very strong Egyptian elephants you have to create a Citadel and in order to do so you have to advance to the third age. A nice difference from Age Of Empires is that in Age Of Mythology when you choose to move on to the next age you get to select amongst two minor gods, (you start the game with a major god). Each god provides different upgrades and units, for example Apollo provides upgrades for archers while Dionysus improves cavalry and so on, (note that we have 3 races with 12 gods each). Finally each god gives you a certain god power that can be used only once, (earthquake, meteors and many more).
Another great addition is myth units, which are basically mythological creatures like Cyclops, mummies, Trolls and many more. When selecting a god he provides you with a certain myth unit, for example Zeus gives Pegasus and Hermes the centaur. In order to create myth units you have to use the new resource type called favor that each race gains in each own different way. Another small addition is hero units, which are basically elite units that are more powerful, have the ability to regenerate, can return from the dead and are especially strong against myth units.
The best aspect of the game is the difference between the three available races of the game. Greece, the first race is also the simplest one. Villagers gather resources from mines, trees, farms and animals and return them to the base or certain structures. Greek soldiers are the most expensive in the game and are also the most powerful. Finally they gain favor by praying in temples, (you just put some villagers in the temple). The Egyptians have cheaper units that are also weaker too. The gather resources the same way, except from favor, which is gained by creating monuments that steadily provide you with favor, (the more monuments the greater the favor gain rate is). Also they have the Pharaoh unit who can empower a structure in order for it to be built faster, or gain resources at higher rates. Finally the Norse gather resources with villagers or dwarfs. The difference is that dwarfs are better in mining gold but are bad at food and lumber. All resources instead of buildings are dropped in mobile ox carts. Another difference is that all buildings, except from farms can be built only by Norse infantry. Finally Norse gain favor by fighting! These differences make each race quite unique because they force you to follow a different strategy and although in some occasions the races are a bit unbalanced they are what make Age Of Mythology what it is.
Age Of Mythology has a large campaign that is very good and fun to play. Apart from that we have the simple skirmish battles where you select a race, a major god and the place and start fighting. There are many maps available and more can be made with the Editor that comes along with the game. All these along make Age Of Mythology a game that can keep you company for a long time.
-Three completely different races that require different strategy
-Select gods that can help you by providing different upgrades and units
-Weak battle sounds and mediocre music
Age Of Empires 2-3 (PC)
Following the same formula like Age Of Empires and by adding even more features, it can be said that Age Of Mythology is a great game. It doesn't have what it takes to be called a classic but it is nonetheless a game that is very entertaining and a must have for every RTS player in the world.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 10/09/07
Game Release: Age of Mythology (EU, 11/08/02)
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