Review by Mamsaac
"My favorite game of all time... what can I say of it?"
I had a very big social life for a 10 years old kid (when I was that age). I was a fan of Age of Empires and I had been playing Rise of Rome many times, but I never got really into it. Then, the age of kings (commonly named AoK) came out and my life changed... for ever. I started to play the game 15 hours per day, I just went to school and ate, I even stopped sleeping many days because I was way too addicted to the game. As experiences from other RTS games, I had played Red alert from Comand & Conquer series and Starcraft (plus some other games) and also became addicted to them. But Age of Kings (AoE2) was much more addicting for me. When I didn't have time or was too tired to play it, I still played at least 4-7 hours of it, and the AoK fever didn't stop there: I entered a clan and on a national tournament I got 3rd place (mexican tournament). On another tournament from the clan I was in, I got 2nd place. The fever lasted for 4 years and I still play it some times, but not as often. I calculated and between my brother and I, we have played AT LEAST 20 000 hours of age of empires during our lives, but the number could go to up to 40 thousand hours... we just tried not to exaggerate the number.
Now, let me tell you why I think I got so addicted to this game.
They run amazingly smoothly and they still look good. The images look pretty real for being sprites and the effects are not that bad for it's time. The frames per second are not good, but you really don't need them to enjoy the game. There are many details that look awesome and the environments are pretty well detailed. I like the colors chosen for the game since it looks kinda "medieval".
One of the best features from this game. There are many civilizations and you can use many soldier for it... the interesting is that as in StarCraft, they answer you when you command them, depending on what you order them to do. The special things on the sounds in here is that for each culture they use a different language. The british "talk" in english, the chinese in chinese, the japanese in japanese and it goes on. Also, the music is very good and you will notice that ever since you enter the main menu. I still "sing" the songs sometimes :).
Unlike StarCraft, Age of Empires is more based on real cultures from real times of our history. In that system, the most important thing on AoK are the ages and the things you will have to develop in order to make your things better.
StarCraft needs you to be fast, but you end up being really sistematic, something I actually dislike. If you are a zerg, you will do the same thing, always. It will be difficult to change the things you do, so battles start to depend on "what someone forgets to do". Here on AoK, you will have to change your strategy during the game many times and sometimes you will end up using things you never planned before starting to play. There are a really big number of units and each unit has pros and cons against other units, which forces you to use a big number of troops. If you are low on resources, which shouldn't happen if you are good, you still can manage to get good armies using "low profile" soldiers, which are usually very good against certain powerful and expensive units.
The gameplay requires of long studies, and the civilizations are very well balanced. In my humble opinion, using or not the "zone rules", the only bad civilization are the goths, but that was fixed on the expansion. Some people when they start have a preference from some civilizations to others, but after so many years of playing I discovered that if you learn what to use and do with each civilization, you will be able to give a great fight.
STORY: more than awesome... 10.
It isn't original! Nobody can deny that. But it is the real story of us! the story of this game is just.. the best possible story ever. You can play on the campaigns and see the coolest stories from that time (Genghis Khan rocks).
REPLAY VALUE: 10
If you don't have internet then you are one weird case. Anyone who has internet can easily play this game, tough you really need to have a highspeed connection to enjoy it. Even then, the online gaming is REALLY good and competitive.
I will regret not giving this game a 10, but it is not perfect. It is a must buy, I don't see why anyone would want to rent this. Buy this game and enjoy it!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/26/05
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