Review by Ofisil

Reviewed: 10/15/07 | Updated: 01/05/11

The ancient world was more boring than i thought

Age Of Empires is a RTS developed by Ensemble Studios. Being the first of the popular game series you would expect it would be good, but frankly it isn’t a good game. When it first came out the features it introduced were good and fun for the time but Age Of Empires aged very bad since then.

Story: 3/10
Presentation: 1/10

The campaign for each race is divided between chapters that are not connected to each other, for example one chapter we have the Trojan War and in the other the conquests of Alexander the great. Also Before and after each chapter you see some history details about this mission but when actually playing you just do simple tasks like, destroy some towers, some farms and some towns, or build a base and kill everyone. The game simply doesn’t manage to get you “into” its world…

Gameplay: 3/10
Replay Value: 1/10

Age Of Empires = Gather food, wood, gold, stone and use them to build structures that serve as resource drop sites or army training. Upgrade your civilization’s technology and after meeting with certain requirements advance to the next Age meaning more updates and units available. Now the bad stuff: You can only train one unit at a time, forcing you to create multiple buildings to fasten the procedure but even so the population limit is only 50! Yeah right, the most powerful ancient civilizations were ruled by a bunch of villagers and soldiers. Units don’t make formations and when they move they are usually scattered around and very difficult to find. They have very poor AI, meaning that an enemy must come real close to them to start fighting him. Sometimes units can’t even think of a way to pass through a complex town of 5(!), buildings... very bad tracking some times. Fortunately you can make groups of units, so when you select a unit from a group you select the whole group. The campaign has very simple and boring missions, the races are all the same apart from 1 extra unit for each race and some advantages like faster training for a certain unit. The only thing that improves the gameplay a bit is that it is a bit challenging and has a map editor that can be used to create custom campaigns.

Graphics: 5/10
Design: 5.2/10
Sound: 4.5/10
Music: 5.4/10

There are only 2-3 terrain types, (grass, desert), 3 kinds of forests and not many details to enhance the maps of Age Of Empires, just some rocks and stuff. Although there are 8 races I think, there are no major differences between them apart from some buildings. Units are all the same apart from 1 extra unit for each race. Finally everything has very dull colors something that surely doesn’t flatter the game. Music has midi quality but fortunately each tune is quite good and gives the right ancient-like atmosphere to the game. Sound effects or the other hands are a bit bad. Apart from the voice acting, which seems like it was made from Neanderthals, battle sounds sound very bad, as if units are not fighting with weapons but buckets.

-Good for its time
-Map editor

-There is no actual campaign plot
-Becomes boring very soon
-Bad AI
-Very low population limit
-Bad sound effects and plain graphics

Also Play:
Age Of Empires 2-3
Medieval 2: Total War
Rise Of Nations (PC)
Starcraft (PC)
Warcraft 2-3 (PC)

Overall: 3.5/10

All in all, Age Of Empires is one of these situations where a game was good for its time and its time only. Just like the first Warcraft, it isn’t the worst game but it now looks like a very old test version of its modern counterpart…

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Product Release: Age of Empires (US, 10/26/97)

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