Review by DouglasFett

"Once the honeymoon is over..."

AOE2 and it's expansion, to say the least, revolutionized RTS games for quite a long time. It garnered a huge following, and had enormous appeal due to it's historical nature. Having been a fanboy, I can now look back and criticize what really is an average RTS. If your looking for a second opinion next to all the hyped reviews, continue reading.

- Graphics 10/10: For a 2d game in it's age, it really was a good looking game. The pre-game narratives were very well done. This is really the game's only saving grace, but we all know that graphics are fluff if there's nothing special in the gameplay.

- Sound 7/10: In AOE2, the music was very good...tense, not nerve racking, but set the tone and the mood. With the expansion, it did away with the music from the main game, and added in it's own tracks. The latter wasn't very appealing.

- Gameplay 4/10: After the courtship, after the obsession with the graphics, after the countless number of death match games played, one finds out that the engine for AOE2 is pretty simplistic. The AI is not only predictable, but makes dumb, dumb, and dumber errors. However, the online play in the MSN gaming zone (especially custom made maps, that were real pieces of art done by some great players) really was the saving grace after the honeymoon...up until the point the game was discontinued there and transferred to gamespy.

- Story 1/10: Your asking yourself, "how could this guy give the story a 1, it's historical?" Yah, but it turns out the game is really just a romanticized historical soap opera. I love history. I have ever since 7th grade. I'm a history major about to graduate. I hate to see history tossed around like a dog's chew toy. That's exactly what the devs. did with this game...they ripped history apart. I have many gripes with the many historical inaccuracies in this game, but I believe the devs. could have made a truly good game and not have bastardized history to the extent they did. Because they butchered history in the way they did, I can't give them any credit for their work in that department.

- Replay value 3/10: Again, after the honeymoon is over, the game and the antics of the AI get old, really quick. The only reason I've replayed (the campaigns) it in the last two years is to create huge cities within the walls of the enemy fortresses. The death matches get old, but I do have to say that the single player campaign maps were very well made, and make for excellent scenarios to create your own beautiful cities.

My final score for AOE2 and it's expansion is 6/10. To be fair, there are many hours of fun that can be gotten out of this game. It can be played for a decent amount of time, but in the end it's just a pretty looking RTS with very little quality.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/04/09

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