Review by ZaleIsBackAgain

"The Conquerors is a very excellent expansion pack to an already awesome game making it an even greater game"

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is one of the best RTS's of all time. The expansion pack, The Conquerors improves upon it to make it an ever greater game. 5 new civilizations are added adding more stragety to the game, and a couple of tweaks were added to make weaker civilizations in the original stronger in the expansion. Things to watch over the economy was added making battles more concentrated, a lot of new units, new triggers added to the map editor to make scenario making both fun and less frustrating. And lastly, the new campaigns. The game doesn't cocentrate a one story like other games does, but it rather decides to have several stories in one game. The campaigns are based off of true historical events. They tell the history of conquerors, emperors, heroes and heroines like Joan of Arc, Saladin, William the Conqueror, Attila the Hun and a ton more. Your empire starts here...

The gameplay is quite amazing. There's so much depth and a ton of strageties you can use. And with the expansion pack adding to The Age of Kings, it just gets greater with the new civilizations: The Aztec, Mayans, Koreans, Spanish and Huns. The Aztec and Mayans civilizations are an all new type of race which would be meso american. Historically, these races lack horse units so they heavily rely on their strong foot soldiers and their archers as their power units. The Koreans are a really strong civilization to use, and one of the best defensive race to use because of the fierce seige onagers, the bombard towers and the war wagons will almost make it impossible to penetrate a well defensive Korean player. The thing is, it takes time to build up such a defense, so its weak spot is its limited time it has. The Spanish are a good civ to waste gold on because their blacksmith upgrades don't require gold to research. They missionary is quite the unit because it's a mounted monk that cannot pick up relics. This could be a good stragety, and the Spanish's other unique unit the Conquistador can take down foot units pretty good. But they're so sloppy and inaccurate, they're only good when the units are up close! The Huns, the last civ in the game lives up to what they were, nomadic and barbaric. They're good at razing structures with their unique unit and Paladin, and without the need of creating houses adds a rushing stragety to the game.

With 18 different and very unique civs, this creates a lot of strageties. And there's tons of strageties to combine or use. Though the thing is, the races in the game are quite similar to each other because they all share the same units. But also every civ has a thing or more disabled to have all 18 civs balanced. And the unique technologies, units, advantages adds makes each civ different, but not completely different.

The expansion pack adds a lot of new features and tweaks to help out balance the original game. A new feature added is that you can queue up farms so that you don't have to revisit all your farms and fill them up again. Some tweaks added are that units are more balanced out now. Like foot soldiers can now garrison within the battering ram making it faster, adding stragety and more useable to counter the overused trebuchet. The overused Paladin is countered by the upgraded Pikemin, the halberdier. Elephants are faster! And mangonels doesn't automatically attack upon nearby enemy targets.

The new features added helps a lot to the game like the smarter AI villagers. When villagers have completed building a processing center, they automatically harvest the resource like if there's a farm and the villager is completed with the mill then they will farm the farmlands. Also, now farms can be queued. Before farms had to be manually planted again before farming again, and it was a pain in the ass for those veteran players of the Age of Kings to replant the farmlands again. But now you can replant them before they are depleted! You can queue them up in the mill, and hell it was a much easier job then.

The Conquerors also adds more modes like king of the hill and fast RM. The names basically explain themselves but the older modes can never be matched. Death Match has gotten better because of the new things Ensemble added and Random Map also got more interesting ever since.

The expansion basically critiqued the Age of Kings, turning one of the greatest RTS's of all time into one of the best. This game is a must buy for RTS fanatics and veterans of the Age of Empires series, because this is the best to date.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/18/04

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