Review by Mechsaurian
"A fantastic expansion pack"
Ever since I bought Age of Empires 3 I've been a total nut about it. The civilizations were balanced but very different, the explorer/treasure system was fun (sort of like creeping in Warcraft 3) and the graphics were excellent, allowing me to have musket-tastic fun in beautiful 3D. I bought Warchiefs as soon as it came out, and I was fairly hyped about Asian Dynasties. Here's what I think now that I own it.
The engine is getting a little bit old, but the game still looks excellent. If you have a decent graphics card and can get the settings to about 2/3 or higher of maximum potential, AOE3 looks like a 360 game. Asian Dynasties adds new graphics for the Asian civs, as well as new terrain. All of the new material look FANTASTIC. The units, buildings, and terrain art all have a glimmering exotic sheen to them, and the new animations are quite good as well.
Music and sound effects have never been stellar in Age of Empires games, but in Age of Empires 3 everything sounds great. The perky and mysterious music perfectly fits exploring strange lands (whether they be Asia or America), and although no new music is added, the new Asian languages sound pretty good. The voice actors are, thankfully, a lot less annoying than some of the old ones (the Iroquois and Portuguese actors come to mind).
I'm amazed that they added so much new content with the new expansion packs and managed to keep everything so well balanced. None of the new Asian civilizations feel overpowered or underpowered (although India has a somewhat weak early game due to Wood-costing villagers). Honestly, the new Asian civilizations have been so well integrated that it feels like they were meant to be there in the first place.
And now for the campaign. Is it just me or were there other people who were pissed off that all the campaigns in the Vanilla and Warcheifs were fictional stories? Well, thank goodness, Ensemble has returned to its roots and provided three new nonfictional (or, in the Chinese case, based on a reasonable hypothesis) stories that are COMPLETELY UNRELATED to the annoying, unrealistically unlucky Black family. The campaigns are by far the most fun so far, with more varied objectives and some great scenarios to show off the new units, and its nice to see campaigns being based on real events and battles instead of poorly-written fiction that stupidly revolves around the fountain of youth for some reason.
The game can get boring, but playing online and growing your cities to level 99 will keep you occupied for a long, long time.
OVERALL: 8.6/10 (9)
This is THE expansion pack for Age of Empires 3. It has a number of excellent additions to an already great game, and I have almost no complaints about it. If you have Age of Empires 3, buy this. If you don't have Age of Empires 3, first buy AOE3, and then buy Asian Dynasties too.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/19/07
Game Release: Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (US, 10/23/07)
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