Reviews

System Requirements 1.4GHz CPU 256MB RAM 2GB HDD Space 64MB 3D Video w/ hardware T&L Windows XP The new world waits to be discovered, explored and conquered. There are eight European powers you can play as, each having their own hero or explorer. Befriend Native Americans and establish trade routes to expand your empire. New weapons and technology will aid you on your conquest. Your home city will send you supplies as you gather more experience, and you can request cards or other supplies specifically for your era.

Who can I play as?

There are 8 empires you can play as. Each one has their own unique infantry and special abilities. For example the Ottomans and British spawn settlers with certain buildings, and the Portuguese get a free covered wagon (converts to a town center) with every Age advancement. The empires are:

  • Spanish
  • British
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Dutch
  • Russian
  • German
  • Ottoman

So what’s new in this game?

This takes place in a new time period well after The Age of Kings, the previous Age of Empires game. There are five ages to advance through, each offering the improved weapons and technologies from the last one. (Discovery Age, Colonial Age, Fortress Age, Industrial Age, Imperial Age). The weapons are pretty cool especially the mortars and rocket launchers; they replace the sweet trebuchet from AOE2. There are many new game play features worth mentioning. Home Cities are specific to a civilization and as you generate experience as playing that race you’ll unlock new cards you can play and use for future skirmishes. The single player campaign is really fun. This was the first campaign I’ve played all the way through. There are three acts to play as you follow the adventures of three generations of the Black family. There is an improved (Havoc) physics engine, which will let you see specific damage; for example you can watch ships get holes in their sails and buildings crumble and gradually fall apart when attacked.

Graphics

The graphics are much better than previous entries in the Age of Empires series. You can zoom in and see more detail. The cut-scenes are all rendered and the home cities are all 3D and highly detailed.

Sound

The voice acting is pretty good in this game, as each civilization has their own accents and voices. Some of the voice actors were re-used but it’s still pretty good. The background music is well done and adds a nice touch to the game. The unique weapon noises and soldier screams and cheers add realism.

Stability

There is a patch available for this game and it does take a while to apply it. However, the game ran very stable for me and I had no crashes or problems.

Controls/Interface

You can use both the mouse and keyboard, as well as assign keyboard shortcuts to make certain functions easier. There is a bit of a learning curve but it’s not too bad. It took me a little while to figure out how to un-pause the game when loading a save (reading the objectives will un-pause). The latest patch fixed this issue.

Multiplayer

This game has LAN and online play. When you first connect online it will patch your game for you if it’s needed. There are two online modes: death match and supremacy. Just like single player mode, you need to set up a hometown for each mode and you will gain experience and rank as you play more.

Appropriateness

This is a war strategy game so there is violence and war. There is no blood or gore though. Every civilization has a church you can build though the Ottomans have Mosques instead. No particular faith is practiced and the priests are used for healing purposes. The taunts are funny but a few may be offensive to some. The worst of them is: “Shut your pie hole!”

Final Thoughts

This is a great addition to the Age of Empires series. I’m glad I bought it and have spent lots of time playing this game. With the various difficulties and online play there’s lots of replay ability. From an appropriateness standpoint this game is pretty decent, even though there is war and battles it doesn’t have blood and guts everywhere. I highly recommend this game to any RTS gamer.

Final Ratings

Game Play 20/20 Graphics 7/10 Sound 8/10 Stability 5/5 Controls 4/5 Appropriateness -4 for killing in self-defense -1.5 for crude language 44.5/50

Final Score 89%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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