Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Good game but could do with more depth
on 27 October 2008
I've owned this a while and have all the expansion packs. Its a fun experience and is very addictive. But there a few areas that could have done with some serious work:
Combat is very shallow, the best tactic to win is to simply build a large army as quickly as possible, and rush your opponent. Thats it! Ensemble could've done a lot worse than taken a look at Cossacks (unfortunately not available on Mac) which is a fantastic example of a strategy game set in this era. At least Cossacks allowed for different formations for your troops to take - and if you knew what you were doing - it was quite possible to overcome sheer numbers with the right tactics.
AI has some issues - on maps with islands, or a dividing river, you'll have a couple of attacks early on, but soon the computer controlled players will build an army and then just stay on their island not doing anything. This hasn't been ironed out in any of the expansions either which is just annoying!
I do miss the single player experience of AoE II where the campaigns were loosely based on historical figures (Joan of Arc, Saladin, etc) whereas in this game most (if not all) the campaigns are purely fictional.
Having said all that, the graphics engine is great, with some excellent effects like buildings falling apart under cannon shot (like you'd expect!), and it does tend to take a lot of my free time! I'd love to see AoE II remade with this engine.