Sunday, September 25, 2022

Age of Empires III (PC) Review

I played Age of Empires 3 for the first time in 2005. My machine at the time was not powerful enough to handle this game, so I went back to AOE II. 17 years later, I picked up this game on Steam.

I paid $5.99 for the definitive edition, which includes Warchiefs and Asian Dynasties. I also purchased the United States Civilization for $2.49. I am yet to play any skirmish matches with United States Civilization. I played all the story missions including the expansions.

I am by no means a strategy games expert. I do not play PvP. I wanted to play all the campaign missions, and because the game was on sale, I decided to take a chance.

I am glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game. The main campaign missions are quite well done. The story begins during the early settlement of the new world, and goes all the way to the founding of America. There are some very interesting missions here.

The expansions are also quite well done for the most part. The highlight of the expansions for me were the Japanese missions.There is something aesthetically pleasing about the Japanese setting. I liked the Chinese missions the least. There is nothing particularly wrong with them, I just did not find them very interesting. The Indian missions are quite good too, but the story is rather comical. They made The East India Company the cartoon villain and whether there is any truth to this, I am not sure. It did not stop me from having a decent time with the missions.

Graphics in the game are excellent. The snow covered landscape of New England, desert canyons of the south west, tropical jungles of South America, the visuals are very striking. I do not know if this is because of HD textures that were added in the modern edition or if they always looked this good. Explosions, water effects, and physics in game are all very well done.

In addition to excellent graphics it also works great at ultra wide resolution. I played this game at 3440x1440 resolution, and it ran perfectly fine. I also occasionally played it at 1080p in windowed mode. I was very pleased with the graphics and gameplay options. I wish all PC games implemented options like this.

Gameplay is much the same as the previous versions. There are certain choices that focus on efficiency, which may not be well liked by veterans. I am ambivalent to this change. Logging camps and mining camps are no longer needed to collect resources.

In fact resource gathering is far more rudimentary now than it was in AOE II. There are only 3 resources to gather - food, wood and gold. Other than wood, there are infinite options for both food and gold. In Asian Dynasties, rice paddy can be used to farm food and gold. It's rather bizarre, but it's not game breaking or anything. There are some odd choices made with unit production. Indian villagers require wood instead of food. Seems rather arbitrary.

Naval combat in this game is very underwhelming. The scale of the map does not allow for large- scale naval battles. AOE II did this a lot better. The map scale is smaller than AOE II. Certain AOE II maps are absolutely massive such as Bukhara and Dos Pilas. No such maps exist in AOE III. It's not a deal breaker, but the advance in technology did not bring us bigger, better maps.

It took well over 60 hours for me to get through the entire campaign (including the expansions). I totally got my money’s worth. In hindsight, I should not have purchased the DLC for it. I don't see myself going back to playing skirmish matches. I am currently playing AOE2 Definitive Edition. I think overall, I enjoy AOE2 more than AOE3, but you can't go wrong for the price.

I look forward to playing AOE I and AOE IV some day. For the price I paid for it, I recommend this game.

+ Visuals
+ Graphics & gameplay options
+ Interesting main campaign
+ Expansions

- Smaller scale maps
- Naval combat
- Arbitrary choices for resource requirement

No comments:

Post a Comment

Had to include word verification to prevent spam.