Review by TKDBoy1889

Reviewed: 08/27/12

It's time to start conquering.

The Conquerors expansion is an example of how to make an expansion pack. It doesn't completely change the experience, and it doesn't make it worse like some expansions do. No, The Conquerors took a game I loved and made the experience even better. It's what I expected it to be and added some great features to The Age of Kings, making it overall more fun.

First off, I like the newly included units a lot. A lot of them are upgraded versions of units from the regular game to make them more suitable for late game usage. These include upgrading pikemen to halberdiers and light cavalry to hussars. These upgraded units aren't super soldiers, they simply make these units more usable in the final stages of a game when every player has maxed out all their technologies. A couple completely new units fit the game well, like the petard which is a walking siege weapons that does one-time massive damage but is easily killed Then you have the new technologies. Only a few of them but they do enhance the feel of the game and are nicely implemented into appropriate tech trees for certain civs.

Speaking of civilizations. there are five new civilizations added, making for a total of 18 in the whole game. Two of the are Native-American, the Mayans and the Aztecs. These civilizations feature their own building architectural sprites and very unique tech trees to reflect their historical nature, such as no cavalry or gunpowder units. The other civs are also really good, with well designed tech trees and bonuses and their own unique units added.

The a total of three new campaigns added, for the Aztecs and Huns and Spanish. Each of them is as good in design as the original ones from Age of Kings. They are, however, quite a bit more challenging in book. However, since people no doubt have played Age of Kings already, it is simply to continue challenging previous players. In addition to these three new campaigns is a series single scenarios that revolve around famous battles like the battle of Hastings. Well made, pretty challenging, fun to play.

Speaking of maps, there are several new general map designs for random maps, and even a series of maps based on real locations. Also, icy and winter landscapes make their way to Age of Empires now. To go along with these new maps are new game types like King of the Hill where the goal is to control the monument in the middle from your opponents for a certain time period, and Wonder race where no combat is allowed and the goal is to build a wonder before anyone else does. And then there is the last man standing option, where allies that win together become enemies after winning a game and the game continues until only one is left.

Best of all, The Conquerors fixes some AI issues. Mainly, siege weapons won't attack on their own if it will hurt friendly units. Villagers also work smarter by doing things like building walls more intelligently (In narrow spots they could previously block themselves or their work off), and will immediately gather close resources when resource buildings are completed.

Overall, The Conquerors adds lots of new content and and most of it melds into the gameplay of the standard game really well, enhancing it and making it better. My only complaint is that for some reason it weakens certain bonuses for some civs, making them tougher to play. Developers might have thought this balanced them out but I found it to only weaken them. Examples include Teuton town centers no longer having extra range and the price decrease for Viking docks being less than before. These weaken the game. Other than that though, this is a fantastic expansion pack. The best part? You can still play all the original campaigns, unlike expansions for some more modern games. If you have The Age of Kings, you should most certainly look for this add-on.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion (US, 08/24/00)

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