I found out that Microsoft was releasing an expansion pack for age of
empires, I knew that my life had definitely taken a turn for the better.
When I look back at the time when the original Age of Empires first
came out, my reaction at the time was a lot different. Being a young
punk at the time, I had no desire to learn anything about the game and
I judged it harshly after playing it for a mere five minutes.
an 'angel of Microsoft' (if there is really any such thing) appeared
to me promoting the second coming of Age of Empires, and it was called
The Age of Kings. Still skeptical, I installed what I expected to be
a waste of hard drive space. Four hours later I walked away from my
computer a new woman. I had witnessed the miracles of Ensemble Studios.
of you who have not been blessed with the opportunity to play Age of
Kings, let me tell you a bit about the game. First of all, to be blunt,
it is a real-time strategy game. Duh. But unlike many real-time strategies
out there, you can choose any of many civilizations to play-keyword
being 'many'. You are not restricted to two or three teams that are
so alike that you mistake the enemy as one of your own. There was balance,
and there was enough difference between the numerous sides to keep the
playability alive. Still is too.
play in multiplayer mode with another person across a modem or in the
MSN gaming zone or you can play single player skirmish mode. Then there
is the campaign mode that usually attempts to recreate historical battle
situations in a multitude of ways. Before each campaign there is a little
blurb or story that gives you a background history to the event that
you are about to take part in and from there you are given your objectives
and then left to your own gaming resources. Sometimes the objectives
change, especially if you fail the initially given objectives, but personally
I find the coolest part of the game is to build a wonder. Castles are
just so blasé after you have built a wonder.
long ago I reviewed the Cleopatra expansion to Pharaoh. The stark reality
I faced in terms of the differences between a Pharaoh-type game and
an Age of Empires type game was shocking. I was expecting my houses
to de-evolve but thankfully they did not. I had to get out of 'pharaoh
mode' and do it quick…cause Age of Kings tends to see a hell of a lot
time came when I had to install the expansion pack. I was anxious to
play but I have to be honest, I was a tad afraid that I would be disappointed.
What could they possibly add to such a great game? (i think i felt like
this with the Cleopatra expansion at first too) Well, they added five
new civilizations: Aztec, Mayan, Spanish, Korean and Hun. With these
new civilizations also come new technologies, warriors and architecture.
There are new maps to play on or edit if you so choose and of course
there are some real world locations. There are also four new campaigns
to check out: El cid in Spain, "Montezuma" in Central America where
you have to capture relics to keep the god happy, "Attila the Hun" where
you must ensure that Attila lives to lead the army, and the fourth ,
called 'Battles of the Conquerors' which has about 8 campaigns to play,
including Hastings, Tours and Agincourt.
I want to make a note of. First, I am impressed with the villagers.
Maybe I am just crazy but I feel that the villagers now actually do
work and do not need to be babysat. When I put them to building something,
they do it and they do it until it is done. I recall getting really
p-oed at the villagers for just standing there like they needed daytimers
or something...ok so I am exaggerating, but I have noticed a change
in their attitudes as of late.
thing that I wanted to mention was regarding the new campaigns. Now
I am not a fan of campaigns. In fact, take twenty bucks off my RTS game
purchase in general and keep the campaigns, just leave me the multiplayer!
But to my delight I must say I am really impressed with the campaigns
in this expansion pack. The first one that I played I lost in less than
two minutes. But no! I did not give up! I picked up my shattered pride
and stuffed it in pocket to play that game a second time. And yes, I
kicked ass! What is that stupid little saying we were all taught in
school? If at first you do not succeed…well....yeah.
Now I am
not saying that I have been converted into a campaign loving gamer,
but this experience will stay in my mind the next time I pass by the
campaign button without trying it out. The only other thing I can really
say here (since it can often be challenging to fill a review page on
an expansion pack), the balance of the original Age of Kings might have
been thrown off a bit with the addition of the new sides, so keep an
eye out for that. Otherwise, this expansion seems certainly worthy of
purchase for an already avid Age of Kings player and it will breath
more than enough life into an already great game to keep the battles
sides introduced, but the balance has gone a little awry as a
campaigns are actually quite decent and fun to play...bringing
even non-campaigner types like me out to play.
of Kings was never cutting edge in terms of graphics, but still,
they were and are still nice to look at while playing.
centers are still the same...but the villagers don't seem to need
babysitting as much anymore.