Review by Wist

"The classic series gets an upgrade!"

Age of Empires was one of the first real time strategy games I have ever played. It might of been my favorite real time strategy also. Age of Kings surpassed the first and I enjoyed it as much as I did the original. Now they have taken the series in a whole new direction. A 3D environment, mythical units, godly powers, and more defined civilizations help bring this game into one of the best real time strategy games ever made. It keeps the same concept and actually feels like the original, but so much more. Create an empire, make an army, command the army to seize more cities, expand to you control the entire map, and win. This is a very impressive game.

There are several new features that make this game so much better than the Age of Empire series. The game is now in a totally 3D environment. It looks great. You are able to zoom in and out and move the view side to side. Mythical units are fun, powerful, and very neat. Stone is no longer a resource, and has been replaced by Favor (worship points). The Egyptians get their favor by building monuments, the Greeks get theirs by worshipping at the temple, and the Norse get theirs by war. Each time you advance to the next age, you pick a minor god. Each grants a godly power, mythical units, and unique technologies. Some Myth units have special abilities. Some can jump high, evading enemies or catching up to them, some hit and send the enemy flying, some do extra damage to buildings. Each are helpful in their own way. Godly powers are also helpful. Some are temporarily, some are permanent. They can only be used once though. Some benefit economy by increasing farming, some are powerful attacks such as a cataclysmic meteor attack.

This is one of the best real time strategy games out. You have a Town Center which builds villagers who builds buildings which creates military units or technological upgrades. However, this is only for the Egyptians and Greeks. The Norse's military units build and repair buildings. Their villagers only gather and farm. Egyptians have a Pharaoh that speeds production and building times. He also acts as a strong defensive unit. What separates this real time strategy games from all the others, in my opinion, is the artificial intelligence. It has extremely easy A.I. which is almost too stupid, to an very challenging A.I. which will test your skills. It offers a foe for everyone which makes this game last. The gameplay is good and you will find yourself enjoying this game very much.

The story is good. Its not up to WarcraftIII caliber, because its a less personal game. However, its campaigns are more beefy than Age of Empires and Age of Kings. They are fun and alittle bit corny. Not deep at all. Basically just lets you battle it out in different situations.

The graphics are great, although they could be better. However, they are some of the best graphics I have ever seen in a real time strategy game. The god powers are especially good looking. Unit - Unit interaction is also awesome. The Bull Minotaur can send units flying after using his special power, and giant octopuses actually pick up and swing around units. Interaction like this is really the next step in real time strategy games.

Sound is decent. The sound of effects are great and lifelike. However, some sounds are repeated over and over again and sounds fake. Very small problem though. The music is my favorite part. It is really well done and the scores sound great. They fit the mood well also. When attacking an enemy fortress, the war cry of your army and the battle music that picks up really sets the mood.

The re-playability is long and fun. You might never get tired of this game and continue playing it until you grow old and die. This game is enough to keep me and you occupied for a long time.

On my last note, this is a very fun and great game. It doesn't get much better than this. This will be a classic and you better hurry up and get it. Don't think twice about it. Its as good as they come, well, at least until they make another sequel.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/03/02, Updated 11/12/02

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