Review by southside tlow
"The best "Age" yet"
I have been an avid ''Age'' player since playing the demo of ''Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome'' way back in '97. I went out a week after playing the demo and bought the full gold edition. After that, I got every Age within a week of it's U.S. release. I have to say that a this is the best RTS I have ever played.
Graphics - 9.5
First of all, this is the first Age of Empires with a fully 3D game engine as well as jumping units (Anubites, Amanra). The water is amazing for a game so large. You can see the ocean floor and the waves breaking. There are even pods of whales and orcas that move freely through their body of water. All of the units have a very smooth realistic feel.
Sound - 9.0
Ensemble Studios really did a good job with the sound in this game. The music changes when you do different things. If you attack a town center or a fort, there's a really fast-paced music that plays. During times of relative peace, the music is calming and enjoyable, but doesn't distract you in the least. You can hear the water and ships moving through the water and even wings flapping of the Norse dragon, Yggdrasil, the Pegasus and Thor's ravens.
Gameplay - 10
Truly awesome. There is very little micromanagement (Farms and fish are infinite, but farms are 70 wood or 70 gold to offset that) and gold mines last a long time. You learn a lot about what ancient peoples thought, by clicking a unit then clicking it's picture at the bottom. The campaign is one big story, but it covers all 3 main civilizations. It has to deal with the Trojan War (Real Greek war said to be over a Greek king's wife, Helen), the recovery and saving of Osiris (minor Egyptian god who Set killed and chopped into several pieces), and preventing the Ragnarok (Norse apocalypse). The interface is simple to use. It's set up so that if you want details on anything, just put your cursor over it and it explains some details. At first glance, it may seem that there are only 3 civilizations; Greek, Norse, and Egyptian. In reality, each is divided into a main god, a secondary god, and an evil god. This makes 9. Then multiply that by 3 (minor gods per main god, some are reused by other main gods) and you get 27 total technology paths! Then, as you progress from age to age, you choose a minor god. This really helps because if your opponent is really into say, naval units, you can choose one that has a naval mythic unit and make their navy obsolete. The relics don't just give you gold, as in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. Instead each has a specific purpose. Some give bonuses to calvary, some to infantry, some decrease costs, some give special units that respawn every time they are killed and so on. This is the second highest gameplay in a game I have ever seen (highest being GTA3).
Buy or rent!?
BUY! NOW! Get it NOW! Gr8 game, and if your PC can handle it, it's a MUST for all of you RTS fans!
Final verdict - 9.4
Few if any faults, but I have yet to try it online. Very good in every category, and I bought it 2 days after it was released and have not regretted it since!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/10/02, Updated 12/10/02
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