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  • Age of Empires II is one of those magical classics. Nostalgia may affect that feeling,

  • at least for me, but it�s even more magical that I love Age of Empires II as much as I

  • do considering I�m not crazy about RTS games. That being said, I never thought the campaign

  • was its strong suit; I remember spending a whole lot more time, late at night, playing

  • multiplayer or scenarios of my own creation. Age of Empires III still allows that free-will

  • action, but it�s got a surprisingly solid campaign to complete the package. I don�t

  • wanna say it�s better than II, but, is better

  • Honestly, it�s hard to admit that. As I said, I loved playing Age of Empires II scenarios

  • and multiplayer indefinitely. But that was then, and while I still enjoy multiplayer,

  • I find I�m more of a �finish the campaign and rest on my laurelskind of guy. I like

  • to just finish the prescribed content, and Age of Empires III provides a fun campaign

  • that actually has an interesting story. This story follows early American discovery up

  • to the mid-1800s, all viewed from the perspective of the Black family. Descendant stories are

  • cool, but it also takes thebehind the scenes historyapproach popularized most

  • recently by the Assassin�s Creed games, and mostly follows political actions as influenced

  • by the tales of the Fountain of Youth. The game even pulls off a cool, cliffhanger-ish

  • ending, and I wasn�t expecting to get into the story as much as I did. Of course, I enjoyed

  • the gameplay even more. Age of Empires III offers the same kind of

  • resource-hoarding, unit-building action as its competitors and predecessors, but obviously

  • with a few differences and improvements. Most notably, the game features an XP system which

  • factors into the Home City rewards; with the XP points you gain from completing various

  • objectives, you can have baskets of food, additional military units, and various other

  • upgrades and bonuses shipped to your colony. And you can of course improve everything the

  • colony has to offer as you accrue enough resources to move onto the next age, each leap requiring

  • more and more resources. As such, there�s a great balance between managing basic settlers

  • and their gathering tasks, building as necessary, training units, and waging war. The menus

  • that operate all these tasks can initially be a little overwhelming, but Age of Empires

  • III does a relatively great job at not letting it be too overwhelming from the get-go. Once

  • you understand them all, these systems are obviously fun in self-created scenarios or

  • multiplayer, but the campaign takes it to another, not necessarily higher, level.

  • You see, everything in the campaign is dynamic. By dynamic, I mean PR speak for scripted and

  • a little bit above the everyday actions you see in the other modes. Most missions follow

  • a set pattern: different types of defending and sieging pop up often, but there are also

  • thesetravelling missions, for lack of a better term. These missions don�t allow

  • the creation of new units, resource gathering, or anything

  • else you would typically do in a strategy game. So you would think these missions are

  • the weakest part of a strategy game, but I was pleasantly surprised by them. Theyre

  • a nice change of pace from the hectic management present in most of the game, and offer their

  • own ways of garnering rewards and improvements. Ultimately, they just end up being a ton of

  • fun while also being smart diversions, and they don�t pop up too much that they ruin

  • the expected gameplay or grow tired. And they also represent my favorite part of the typical

  • missions: exploring. Most maps are cloaked in darkness at the onset, and only sending

  • units into the void reveals the map, and any and all enemies, potential allies, and treasures

  • to be found. And once again, that balance comes into play.

  • Having a group of five or six go out of the relative safety of the town center to scout,

  • settlers hunting, chopping, and mining, and units gathering for the inevitable battle

  • is an immensely satisfying feeling. It�s even more satisfying when you just totally

  • crush the enemy after patiently preparing, and somehow even cooler when you win by the

  • skin of your teeth. Ultimately, Age of Empires III�s calling card is balance, and it nails

  • RTS gameplay while not being totally inaccessible. This is about as good as it gets for RTS fans,

  • whether youre a casual admirer or a hardcore fan. Just be aware that you haven�t had

  • any of the water from the Fountain of Youth, so you can�t spend all of your time playing.

  • Just late at night, when youre supposed to be sleeping.

Age of Empires II is one of those magical classics. Nostalgia may affect that feeling,

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CGR Undertow - AGE OF EMPIRES III review for PC

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    阿多賓 posted on 2013/08/20
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