Age of Empires III Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Release date:
October 18, 2005
Microsoft Game Studios
Ensemble Studios
1 (w/online multiplayer)

Age of Empires III

Think you can handle the fate of a million little soldiers and indian warriors?

Review by Candice Shane (Email)
November 14th 2005

Consequently, I'm not a huge fan of computer games. Other than Maniac Mansion and The Colonel's Bequest, there aren't a lot of games that I found too thrilling for the PC. It wasn't until I picked up Age of Empires III that I actually discovered the reasons why people get so fanatical about PC games.

One of the most impressive highlights is the game's oasis of gorgeous cut-scenes. Although an Nvidia card will offer the best graphic performance, it's still possible to enjoy the game without much trouble.

After installing the game, players are offered the option to explore the tutorial—a great tool that will help educate newcomers in learning the ways of the Empire. With its soothing voice, providing valuable advice when to pull your settlers away from danger or dispatch troops intro battle—you'll gain a solid grasp of the mechanics with minimal effort. Microsoft is well aware that if you're endeavoring to grow an audience beyond a dedicated fanbase, you've got to break out the training wheels.

Once you've mastered the fine art of being a General, you'll learn the ropes of how to collect the cards to build up your militia and colonies. This in itself made me a bit leery—seeing as how I am not a fan of card-based games, let alone most of the real-time-strategy selection. However, Ensemble Studios did a great job with the concept by easing you into the idea of flipping a card for situations that calls for added firepower or when the Queen opts to send you more settlers. Personally, I feel the game could do without this feature and it would still remain a solid, robust experience.

Another wonderful addition to an already amazing package is the sound and score within the game. As you're taking over enemy territory, trumpets and violins softly hum in the background, followed by the snap of a snare drum once you've conquered the next Age.

Naturally, music is an essential element that enhances a video game experience and Microsoft is master at recruiting the best for their titles. Age of Empires III delivers a beautiful selection that captures the dynamic tone of the era—and it should be noted, having a subwoofer adds some thrilling base to the marches. Check it out.

Diehard fans will appreciate the depth and intuitive controls while working to build a successful empire throughout the ages. Plus, the easy pick-up-and-play makes AoE III a blast when playing amongst friends in varied multiplayer courses. While I can't say AoE III will be the definitive game for everyone, it is a "must-own" for players with a love for the historically correct or anyone who craves a good escape from their usual genre favorites.

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