Review by pokemaniac1342

"A great game, but not a lot of changes since the original"

Well I'm an avid PC gamer, and most of my time is spent on this game, as well as 2002 FIFA World Cup. I wouldn't talk about the latter here, so let's hear the views on the game. Firstly, on to gameplay.

Gameplay: 10/10
This is simply RTS remade in a revolutionary manner. Instead of gathering one type of resource, we now have four. Making micromanaging of economy challenging. Strategies can be exploited, such as the Chariot Archer rush, the tool rush, or the armoured elephant rush and such. The controls are simply worked out, and require no hard work. The games can last for hours or minutes depending on your strategy, and the concept of random maps just means that a recipe for success in ROR does not exist. However, the gameplay is basically the same as the original Age of Empires. But new units, new technologies, and new maps offer some different and unique ways of finishing your war. Will you be on a island far from your enemy and have peace for a long time? Or will you get Horse Archers knocking at your gate before you can get those Fred Flintstones to learn about the meaning of Bronze? It's really up to you to choose. Plus, the missions offer a lot of different ways to accomplish those operations, such as ''bring object to area'', ''destroy specific object'' or even ''wood stockpile'', or ''kill ratio''. This means that winning missions just won't be as easy as massing 50 Heavy Catapults and mashing everything in your sight. No. Every unit has a weakness, making a ''single best dominant unit'' non-existant. Heavy Catapults are devastating to buildings, but their catapults can't match the Calvary's speed while the calvary reaches the catapult and hacks it open. Fire Galleys are capable of beating any unit one-on-one (almost), but need to get close to attack. The balance means that the game will last longer, and never be boring.
Plus, the addition of the scenario editor means that you aren't only able to play the game, but you can create the game as well! The master of scenario editing, Ingo van Thiel, has created some revolutionary masterpieces. The scenario editor even has some hidden features. You can create swamps, invisible barriers, burn people in the stakes, and even start the game with your character sleeping (in complete darkness), then the next moment, you ''wake up'' and is able to see again. many of these great tricks are discovered by Ingo, and let's see if you can find any more too! The game also has new units and improvements over the original, making this worth a buy.

Graphics: 9/10
The units are detailed to the very millimetre, and the terrain can be extremely realistic, especially when created by the hands of people like Ingo van Thiel. Watch fishes leaping around in the water, waterfalls on cliffs, very special apple trees (another great trick, although not discovered by Ingo), burning cities, and even laser-like stuff! Aided by cheat codes, you can even get modern robots, nuke troopers, laser troopers, and catapults that fire villagers in capes! The score isn't perfect because of certain flaws, like buildings in construction and the monotonous cliffs.

Audio: 8/10
Some catchy tunes and background music, with realistic noises made by weapons. The sound of fire burning when the Fire Galley unleashes its wrath, the sound of metals clashing when hand-to-hand units engage in heated combat, the sound of destruction when the catapult destroys yet another building, the sound of crumbling wood when a elite centurion fells a helepolis, and the sorrowful tune that sounds when you are defeated. All these are just a tiny part of the many varieties of sounds in the game. However, the musics can be repetitive at times, so the score's 8.

Story: 9/10
The missions all follow real historical happenings, and go systematically by the date and time. Plus, missions by great people like Ingo or Ty Freeborn have great storylines. I'll give a 9 because some missions are poor in the story part.

Replayability: 8/10
You can always try a harder difficulty, or use a completely different approach in the missions. Try new things. Explore. Innovate. You'll never get bored of this game that way.

Buy or rent?
Buy it if you liked the originals, because this game is very much the like. If you didn't like AOE, you probably would hate ROR too.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/29/02, Updated 11/29/02

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