Age of Mythology: The Titans
Expansion packs are supposed to make games bigger and better. It seems the Age of Mythology folks were most definitely trying for “bigger” in bringing us the Titans, the latest addition to the Age of Mythology world. As for “better”, well, in spite of the addition of lots of new units, a new race (the Atlanteans), and a new campaign, AoM: The Titans can’t escape feeling like “more of the same”. Thankfully, the original game was quite enjoyable, so more of a Good Thing is still a Good Thing. It’s just not a Better Thing.
Age of Mythology: The Titans leaves its original Races (the Norse, Egyptians, and Greeks) mostly untouched, and concentrates on brining forth a fourth Race, the Atlanteans. As a Race, the Atlanteans play in a rather straightforward manner, almost feeling a bit more “generic RTS” than the Greeks. Atlantean myth units include Satyrs, a ranged unit that can hurl several javelins at once, the Automaton, a melee unit capable of repairing fellow Atomata, and the Behemoth, a giant lizard-like siege unit capable of efficiently tearing through enemy buildings. But for one exception, the Atlantean human units are almost identical to the other Races’ human units, with the typical infantry, archery, cavalry, and counter-units available. What sets the Atlanteans apart is the ability to instantly change any human unit into a Hero unit, as long as the resource and favor price can be paid. Because of this, Atlanteans have a bit of a defensive edge over myth-heavy armies, since they can (with enough resources) field an entire force of nothing but Heroes.
Atlantean citizen units are also a bit unique, in that they are builders, resource gatherers, and resource drop-points all bundled into one package. This allows for some very flexible resource-gathering options, giving the Atlanteans an even greater flexibility than the very-mobile Norse units. In addition, the citizen units can also be changed into Heroes, increasing their gathering and building rates considerably.
The Atlantean people have a number of Titans and other minor gods in their pantheon, giving them some interesting god-powers throughout the game. Deconstruction, for example, is a particularly fun god-power, causing an enemy building to be quickly un-built. The owner gets back all of their resources, but they are suddenly left without a key structure. Many of the Atlantean god-powers can be used multiple times, although the more powerful powers have fewer charges. Atlanteans also have the option of building Sky Passages, teleportation buildings allowing armies to instantly move from one Passage to another, giving frightening maneuverability to the armies. Atlantean maneuverability is further increased by their ability to “time-shift” their buildings. Time-shifting allows a building to be moved from its current location to anywhere else on the map, as long as the new location is within a line-of-sight. Thankfully, only one building at a time can be time-shifted, and the process takes a small while to complete. However, it’s quite possible to quickly move important buildings away from danger, or to send unit-producing buildings to the frontlines and quickly churn out troops at the enemy’s doorstep.
In addition to the Atlantean Race, the Titans expansion also brings forth the titular units themselves. Each Race has access to a Titan, which is almost a Wonder in unit form. Building a Titan Gate takes almost as much time and resources as a Wonder, and the enemy gets fair warning once the process begins. And while successfully building a Titan doesn’t guarantee victory, it certainly shifts the tide of battle in the favor of the Titan’s army. The Titans themselves are huge units, towering above all other units and buildings on the map. Not only do they look really impressive, they can lumber their way into enemy armies and settlements and create all sorts of havoc. Stopping a Titan isn’t easy, often requiring the concentrated effort of an entire army or, even better, the fielding of another Titan. These hulking units aren’t easy to bring forth, but they are quite a blast to play once they make it to the field of battle.
The single-player campaign included with The Titans is solid and enjoyable. Picking up after the campaigns in the original Age of Mythology, the Titans campaign introduces the Atlantean Race and the Titan units themselves. The missions are well-paced, with a nice mix of mission styles and goals. None of the missions are too difficult, but most are challenging enough to hold interest throughout. Skirmish and multiplayer modes add some more play options, and although a few tweaks have been made, these modes remain basically the same as the original.
The Titans doesn’t offer many improvements in graphics or audio, but the original was quite good already. The voice acting in the single-player campaign is decent, the music is of the same quality as the original, and most of the sound effects are left unchanged. Graphically, The Titans still has the mostly-sharp and intricate look of the original, with the same problem of differentiating between human units on the field. There were a few show-stopping bugs in the single-player campaign, but overall things ran smoothly. In terms of game play itself, The Titans buffs up the myth units a bit, making them even more fearsome on the battlefield. Another small but welcome change is the ability to set troop buildings to “repeat”, automatically churning out forces as long as time and resources allow.
The Titans expansion adds quite a bit more of that Age of Mythology goodness. It doesn’t really change anything from the original, however. Those that enjoyed Age of Mythology will likewise enjoy the additions made in the expansion, and die-hard fans will appreciate the tweaks made to the units and buildings. Those not thrilled with the original would do best to steer clear, since very little has been done in the way of improvements. Regardless, Age of Mythology: The Titans is a solid expansion pack, and fans of the original would do well to give it a look.
A worthy addition to Age of Mythology, giving fans much more of what made the original so enjoyable.
Rating: 8.7 Very Good
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I'm an old-school gamer, and have been at it ever since the days of the Atari 2600. I took a hiatus from the console world to focus on PC games after that, but I've come back into the fold with the PS2. I'm an RPG and strategy fan, and could probably live my gaming life off a diet of nothing else. I also have soft spot for those off-the-wall, independent-developer games, so I get to see more than my share of innovative (and often strange) titles.
Away from the computer, I'm an avid boardgamer, thoroughly enjoying the sound of dice clattering across a table. I also enjoy birdwatching and just mucking around in the Great Outdoors.