Review by Mad Monarch Gyl
"Yet again, another 'Age' for Ensemble."
From the Age of Empire series comes another Age title, The Age of Mythology. The first time I bought it the titles Poseidon/Zeus but with the Ensemble Studios in it I know it's completely different. Unlike the past settings of the Age Series the game is set in a fully develop new world a time where history is just about to unfold. It look completely like those mythology stories like Odysseus, Achilles and some others you can control other mythological creatures like Minotaur, Hydras and a lot more as well as the original Greek units like hoplites etc... Wouldn't it be boring to be seeing the same old' civilizations again? Yeah, Ensemble added two not so new civilizations, the Egyptians and the Norse. If you've ever played the Zeus game, Age of Mythology throws in the gods system, where you can choose from 3 major gods each with their pros and cons as well as minor gods/goddesses that gives different assistance depending on which is which.
AoM has a very similar gameplay to its past predecessors. Like Age of Empire games the game starts with its basic town and a number of villagers around it, it also has the four ages you could advance and at the same time take as your advantage over the other civilization. In short the game is extremely the same as the AoE games. The only thing AoM's gameplay out stands the AoE series is the gods system. The gods gives you power over the other civilization but of course they have their weaknesses some could boost your military power or be economically beneficial think of them as the same gods brought by Zeus games. The gods system makes the game even superb making more strategies and shocking results but of course wise rulers always stand out. The gods has 4 powers at hand that could only be used ones so you should use it wisely.
Another new system introduced is the favor system. Offering the gods with gifts will make lend you their pets(Myth creatures like minotaur and the likes) or even research new technologies. Each civilization has a different way of gaining favors e.i. the Greek acquires them through praying, Egyptians through building them structures and the Norse through battle. The favor system simply made the game even better and a whole new one. With a mythological unit at hand you can use their skills over your advantage like have a Medusa turn hulking creatures to stone, surely that's a whole new game isn't it?
Story-wise the game features your old RTS plot-theme style conquer etc... though a little twist the story is still somewhat good. The game is set on a world when god and goddesses ones walked over the mortal realms and set their pets loose :P. A time when those mythical figures and heroes exist and that's the time where you rule 3 different civilizations each has their own way of being the best. You then choose one and bring them to the top.
The game surpasses its predecessor with a whole new look at its graphics(Even warcraft 3 don't stand a chance). The game's graphic's wonderful, it's realistic looking and quite flawless. The surrounding environment is extremely super(try catching it most wouldn't mind the simplest wave of water). Each unit is crafted very well (You'll love seeing a Kraken throw a feeble villager off a distance :D) The game contains 3D cut scenes though it isn't something to watch out but it's made to be above average(I think War3's cut scene’s a little better). Hm... it's pretty hard but I think some cut scenes from AoM are pretty detailed though still I think some of War3's 3D cut scene’s better.
Sounds, I say its good. It's nice to hear your units talk their languages(Empire Earth?), I say it falls behind War3 and EEarth. The BGM is very similar to the past Age series that at times get so repetitive but you'll merely notice it for it's intense gameplay.
The game could last up to more than 50+ hours I say even 50 isn't supposedly the minimum(I'm guessing actually). The game is quite long and could get even longer depending on your game style. The game could be played with 3 different civilizations and playing each of them has their own different styles of winning. The gods and favor system also adds up to its replay value, trying out combinations or turning tides could be very fun and would even be better when played against a human opponent isn't it fun to see your opponent's field in brown while your bloom with the constant rain showers? The game is as fun as any RTS games out there.
I say you could never be wrong if you grab this title.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 12/30/02, Updated 12/30/02
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