Age of Empires III
Review by FenderKills
"My favorite Real Time Strategy Of All Time."
The Age of Empires series has been one of the most popular Real Time Strategy series to date. AOE 1 to many people was revolutionary, and AOE 2 was even better than that. I however, played AOE 1 too many years after its release and found it dull and boring. I found AOE 2 to be a much better improvement, but the flaws in the game play turned me off of it quickly.
When I first saw the screen shots for AOE 3... I was blown away. The graphics were incredible. I saw pieces of buildings being blown up right where the cannon ball had hit it. I saw things I had never seen in a RTS before. I was always into Starcraft, and Red Alert 2, where the buildings just kind of have a fake flame on them when they are about to blow up, then they disappear... so coming from that to this, I was in awe.
But unfortunately, even after a year of being on the market, Age Of Empires 3 still does not have the fame or popularity it deserves. In fact many people hate this game. This review however, is my personal opinions, but I will try to relate it to other RTSs so that you can get the idea of if you will like it or not.
Graphics: 4/10 to 10/10
When I first played this game, I was using a crappy graphics card. It was integrated on my computer, and the game did not look anything like what I had been blown away by in the trailers. However, I tried to look past it, but I just couldn't. My video card just was not strong enough. So I took the computer back, and got a new one, with the same specs, except this had an ATI Radeon x300se in it. Now the game looked a tiny bit better. Still not close to what I saw in the trailers. The graphics for you will depend obviously on what type of set up you have. I currently have a Nvidia 7600gt, and I can run the game on full settings and this game is by far the best looking real time strategy to date (In case you are reading this review in 2008 or beyond and there are better looking games out by then) The good thing is, whether you can run it at its highest, or lowest setting, that isn't going to effect the gameplay of it... but I'll get into that later.
Wow... the sound in this game is outstanding. When those guns fire, you know damage is being done. If you have good speakers, and a subwoofer, you can feel your heart stop when cannons are being fired through buildings. These gun noises must be authentic. If not, the creators deserve an award for making the sound so realistic. If you've played Command and Conquerer: Generals, you will know what I am talking about when I say that game has the worst sound effects in the history of gaming. The guns in that game sound like water pistols... in AOE3, you will be blown away by the realism of the sound. The music is very good too, and the voice acting in the campaign is great.
Gameplay: 8/10 to 10/10
This is where the game shines. The gameplay is by far the most fun, and least complicated RTS to date. The learning curve was about 10-20 minutes, but coming up with your own unique strategies can take as long as you want! The ragdoll physics are great as usual. When a cannonball plows through a group of musketeers, they'll go flying and rolling back like realistic limp dead bodies would. Its not realistic in a sense where blood and body parts fly everywhere, but it does its job well. However, like I said eariler, no matter how high or low you have the graphics on, you will have pretty much the same experience. If you are running this game on a low end computer, you won't have as much fun as someone who is getting eye candy out of the same game, but the gameplay factors don't change dramatically. I had to play this game on a bad graphics card at first, and it still was my favorite RTS ever. Once I upgraded graphic cards however, thats when I got the full AOE 3 experience. The only downside is the campaign is just average. There isn't anything special about the campaign, other than the good voice acting. The pace of the game will seem really slow in the campaign once you have played some skirmishes, because most people like to have their skirmishes on fast, and once you become used to that speed... "Normal" feels like slowdown/lag/snails.
Should I get this game?
If you are considering buying it, I have to recommend you download the demo for it first. You can find it on the official website http://www.ageofempires.com or just "google it". If you liked or loved the demo, you will like or love this game. If you didn't like the demo, you won't like this game. The demo gives a fair representation for what you should expect from the game. My favorite RTSs until this game were Starcraft, Red Alert 2, Warcraft 3, and Age Of Mythology. If you like any of those games, I think you will like AOE3. The thing is, it all comes down to what you are used to. Someone who is used to only gathering 1 mineral for their economy for Red Alert 2, may find having to gather 3 a little weird at first. If you are used gathering 2 or more resources in a RTS, this game will be very simple, and quite possibly, the best RTS for people to start out on.
So if you like Real Time Strategies, and you like the games I mentioned, and you downloaded and liked the demo... this game truly deserves your attention.
Final Verdict: 9/10
If I could give it a 9.7 I would, but rounding the game up to the perfect score wouldn't be right either. The lack of a better campaign, and the slow and unchangeable speed of that campaign is pretty much all that brings it down. The other minor issue is that no matter what type of computer set up you have currently (in this year of 2006 and possibly 2007) you are going to have some slowdown when there are alot of units, or buildings being destroyed. Its not a big deal, but it is something I wish was fixed. The mouse scrolling is also a little jumpy instead of smooth, but you get used to it. All of the cons still don't take much away from this amazing RTS experience.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/18/06
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.