Age of Empires was one of my favourite games as a child. I remember having a lot of fun playing it about 9 or 10 years ago. When AOE III was released I was slightly disappointed with it, as it seemed to be all style and very little content.
Now that I have a new PC, and the Asian Dynasties and Warchief expansions installed, the game finally feels complete. The Original AOE III felt a little dull as it only allowed you to control the European superpowers in the Americas. The Warchief's did add a little spice by allowing you to play as the Native Americans, but it still felt a little flat. Asian Dynasties on the other hand is like a breath of fresh air, bringing some much needed variety to the gamer's plate.
This game adds three new civilisations, the Chinese, Indians and Japanese. Each of these have their own unique units, architecture as well as strengths and weaknesses. The Indians for instance have their Sepoy infantry and war elephants, the Chinese their Shaolin masters and firework artillery and the Japanese their Samurai and Ninja. The introduction of the asians to the game also means there are a number of fantastic new asian maps in multiplayer and single-player Random Map. This makes a nice change from battling in the New World.
There's also a new campaign that's divided into three chapters that allows you to play as each of the three new civilisations. The first chapter takes place in early 17th century Japan, as the Samurai Warlord Tokugawa Ieysau attempts to unite the country. The second chapter will see you in command of the vast Chinese fleet of Jiang Huang as he sails to the New World in the early 15th century. The last and arguably the best chapter allows you to take part in the Sepoy Mutiny in India in the 19th century, as you battle to free the country from the British East India company.
Each chapter adds a whole lot of variety, and I personally thought that several levels contained in the new campaign were much better than those in the original AOE III. Sadly though the campaign is rather too easy and too short. There are only five levels in each three chapters, and you could easily finish the campaign in one weekend. I didn't find it as challenging as the missions contained in the Warchiefs expansion.
Overall this game is a lot of fun to play. You will often find yourself coming back for a few battles on multiplayer or single-player random map mode (which now has new game types like King of the Hill etc). The addition of the new Civilisations, combined with those in the original game and its first expansion makes it a challenging and exciting game.