Review by Snoop54

"The conquerors...a great expansion pack."

This game is the expansion pack to another great game by ensemble studios: Age of Kings.
It adds much depth to the original game and I will explain why.

Graphics: 7
Well, the graphics are pretty much the same as the original game, except that some neat sprites have been added or some new effects have been introduced. E.g. the snow effect, mountains, new unit graphics, etc. The animation looks a little bit more fluid (maybe my impression). Other than that the graphics remains the same as the original: multi-use of bright colors, good use of sprites, varied animation and others…

Sound, Audio: 8
Ensemble studios has added lots of new sound effects, generally because of the new civs and units (civs=civilizations btw), and some new songs have been added too. The songs aren't anything amazing, but they’re the right thing to give that atmosphere to play correctly, so they are just right.
The voice acting in the campaigns aren't excellent, the speaker could have used a more varied use of pitch, or tone. I’d say the voice is mediocre.

Gameplay: 9
Ah, the most important component in this game. The original game was already immensely tactical and varied, but with the added 5 civilizations, a unique tech for each civ (Goths have two), new units, new game modes, bunch of new maps, increased options for recording and replaying, the game just gets better. The new game is also more balanced and it will thus force you to create new tactics. The AI also got improved to make it more challenging: it will now be more aggressive, use better use of villagers and you can now give it orders when you’re on the same team.

Replay Value: 10
This is where the game shines.
Ensemble studios releases new maps and patches every now and then, so you can download new versions, since the game has some few civs which are unbalanced and ensemble studios fix them (although, even with 3 patches released the civs are not all balanced yet).
The most fun part of the game is playing on the Internet. Microsoft provided its online gaming community, which is easily accessible by clicking on zone in the age2 conquerors menu. If you have a good connection (at least 56k is highly advised), you can play decently against other human players, which is a good deal more fun and challenging than playing against your dumb computer.
If you’re good enough, which I’m not, you can participate in tournaments hosted by Microsoft or other sites.

Overall: 9
If you’re a fanatic of this game, and you have an unlimited online budget, you will be playing this game for a very long time, until Age of Mythology comes out.
Otherwise, you will probably play this game for a while, a few months if you’re into it, stop, and maybe restart playing it after a year or so.
Age of Empires 2: The Conquerors is a very deep game, and it takes a very long time to master and become a… pro, expert, whatever. It is a great game and I advise anyone to buy the game and its expansion pack.

Note: All grades are out of 10.
Note 2: I take in account that most of the people reading this have at least played the original game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/31/02, Updated 01/31/02

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