Top positive review
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Pretty Good Strategy Game
on 31 January 2006
AOE II lets either play missions (as famous characters of the past - Joan of Arc for example), play Multiplayer or create a scenario and battle it out against a bunch of CPU controlled opponents. You control everything from aquisition of food, resources, building of structures, army units and siege units. You can also trade, pay tributes and convert units. A lot, basically.
However, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty what all of this is done for is so you prepare a lean, mean fighting machine to wage more upon your enemies. The range of units that you can create is excellent and varies with each civilisation - which is neat. Each unit can be upgraded and modified so that when you finally feel up for some aggro you can assemble a pretty fine fighting force.
I played this on a Powerbook 1.42Ghz with 2GB of ram and found it ran pretty well overall. However, if I set 200 as the extent of units allowable then when there was a major battle on there would be a significant slow down of the system and occasional crashes. This could become irritating and it made little difference if I set the detail lower in preferences.
Also, when controlling units it was annoying that I had to select new units to 'stand ground' because otherwise they would roam around the map chasing scouts or other enemy units. This feature is in advanced unit commands and really should be on as default. There is also no way of grouping, say, your archers together so when mounting an attack you conduct ranged attacks and then charge with your cavalry, it's a bit of an oversight I think. Finally, building walls and battlements over uneven ground can result in unsecure perimeters, so be careful!
These quibbles aside, I spent many an hour killing huns and burning cities to the ground and multiplayer is a joy. One of the best stratagy games on the Mac: recommended!