Saturday, September 24, 2005

Age of Empires 3 Preview Update

I finally got my hands a demo of the forth coming Age of Empires 3. I can now give more details on the game.

Well, I don't know what to say. I was expecting breath taking graphics, there alright but everyone keeps saying they are amazing. All these people probably get a new computer everyday, my PC has, at time of posting, average computer abilities and the graphics come out like this:

And they claim to look like this:

There is a subtle difference.

Once you get past the average graphics the game is amazing. The gameplay is a massive improvement from AoE 2. Some of the major changes are:
1)Villagers don't have to go to and from drop off points to gather resources.
2)Home City - I will discuss this later.
3)Treasures are found across the map and will give you experience points, see later on.
4)AI much better, they actually attack you, not early on but they do at the end. Also they get angry and if you attack them they attack you. Furthermore they ask for your forgiveness when you start crushing them and they talk to you when key things happen.
5)Physics are included, if you shoot a tower a bit of it will come flying off!
6)Only 3 resources, wood, food and coin. Coin is gold and stone combined.

Home cities is the latest innovation in the world of Age of Empires, it is, as the name suggests, the city which you, the explorer(discussed later), come from. As you gather experience points for all of the things you can do, from collecting wood to building a building or discovering a hidden treasure you will receive experience points which will be added to the circle, at the bottom left of your screen. It is rather similar in appearance to the one in the LOTR games. When it fills up you may order one of your 'cards' from your home city. These can range from villagers to resources or even free flat back forts in a wagon! As you get more experience points your city will level up and for each level your city gains you can by one more card for your deck. Although you can have a maximum of 20 cards in your deck you may by many more and create custom decks to suit a particular strategies or map. SP and MP games count towards this.

The explorer is a hero style unit because he is far superior to any other warriors and has special abilities. He can never die, he will lie on the ground slowly recovering health. If your explorer gets captured by the enemy then you can try and batter him back. He can build town centers and trading posts. Trading posts are used to ally with the native Americans and to get experience points from trading routes. They can only be built in certain places.

There are of course many new units, army's and buildings. One of my favorites is the factory which is only available through your home city. It can be configured to create any one of the 3 resources or create heavy artillery. The resources are useful when in peace time and heavy artillery when preparing to attack. Although the resources it creates isn't enough to cover that resources, keep villagers collecting it too.

I am strongly looking forward to this game and is coming out 10/18/2005 and I will be getting it that week.

Coming up RTW BI(Rome Total War Barbarian Invasion) is coming out 27 September.

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