I first played Age of empires 1 and rise of rome and liked it. Now when AOE 2: Age of kings came out, I shot to the stores and bought it. Wow...did I love it. Then came the expansion pack THE CONQUERORS and it really was a treat.
The atmosphere is something that pulls you in straightaway. It really feels great. The gameplay is terrific as there is something new to discover the more you play. The landscapes come in various sizes from 2 player to 4 player to giant where you can have 8 players. Many different lands to choose from too ranging from the Americas to europe all the way to asia.
The thing that makes this game so good is the almost endless tactics. The population limit is 200 but the towers dont count as population. As long as you have stone, you can build as many as you want. Ten....twenty....fifty.....hell even sixty. There are many occasions when I simply dont have enough resources for soldiers so I build many towers to compensate. When the enemy rushes in, they are pelted with arrows and cannonballs which gives me enough time to build up my army.
As many have pointed out, the makers have got the history right too since there are strong and weak points for every civilisation. This really makes the game so interesting and you never get bored.
My friend and I played this game since 99 and now in 2012, we are still playing it. We are aged 32 too haha so that must be saying something about this game. We played other stuff over the years but stopped playing them after a while. Now if you will excuse me....Im going to play me some AOE 2. Ciao. :D