Review by Braben

"Not the best, but the most beautiful real time strategy game ever made."

Microsoft achieved with Ensemble Studio’s Age of Empires something completely unimaginable, they created a game that not only is match for the best of the genre, the created a whole new classic.

Age of Empires was not just another WarCraft or Command & Conquer clone, that’s why it succeeded, AoE added a lot of great new ideas to a genre filled with crappy clones of the old classics. AoE reinvented the real time strategy.

More than anything I found AoE to be an extremely beautiful and pleasant game to play, the visuals are so nice that sometimes I just sit and start building a nice village like if I were playing SimCity or Caesar, the mission editor can pass as construction game by itself. Erecting mountains, placing trees here and there, rivers, huts…then watching your units fight, hunt, construct, and all the things they do just makes me fell happy for no reason. One of the things I like the most about this game is that it takes place entirely in the ancient times, I mean, you’ll get to the iron age in the end, but even in that age everything has a wonderful ancient look, what I didn’t liked about Age of Empires II was that everything evolved too much, with cannons and gun and such things, in AoE everything has a wonderful old feel, and that’s what I like the most, a nice rustic boat to go fishing, hunting with lance, little huts made of animal skin and straw…

The music is so good that I don’t know exactly how to express it’s greatness. I never thought I would say this but this game has one of the most memorable soundtracks ever made. Beautiful beyond words.

AoE is not perfect though, lacks a well developed plot and more variety and differences between races. If I’m not mistaken there are three different sets of building for all the civilizations, and then all of them have basically the same units. The objectives in every mission are the same, annihilate your enemy no matter what. The units never talk or do anything aside from waiting orders, also there is no real difference between them, they don’t have any special skill or anything worth mentioning, and the AI is very poor (they’ll get stuck on a tree in not time). These thing are very important on a strategy game, but in AoE they are just minor issues.

I hate Microsoft, I think Bill Gates is a nerd that deserves to buried alive, but I also think that everyone should play this game at least once, it is an experience, it is not the best one but it’s sure the nicest and most charming. A work of art.

””My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry.””


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/03


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