While there are only three empires to play, there are a lot of varieties in those empires though the choice of gods. There are four Ages that are achieved by the upgrading of the town centers, and each of these Ages requires the patronage of a particular god. Each god grants a few unique technologies, a unique myth unit or two, and a one-shot god power that can be as benign as increased gold production or as earth shattering as a meteor storm. With that many combinations of gods available, even two opponents of the same empire can be quite different by the final age.
On the technical side, the graphics and sound were top-notch. Even at higher resolutions with hundreds of units on the battlefield, it isn’t all that difficult to distinguish an archer from an infantry unit. And the myth units are really enjoyable to watch. The first time I saw my “Battle Boar” go berserk inside a swarm of enemy foot soldiers, it warmed the cockles of my heart. And I didn’t even know I had cockles. The music is good, adding to the moment without overpowering it. The sound effects and voice acting are also strong; make for a very fun ride.
The single player campaign in AoM is very well done. It details the travels of Arkantos, a Greek hero, as he tries to save the world. The story does a pretty good job of walking through Greek, Egyptian, and Norse scenarios, without too much stretching. The scenarios are well balanced, with the “defeat this enemy” goal sprinkled with a few puzzle levels, some defensive levels, and a game or so of “capture the flag”. There was also an incredibly enjoyable scenario on a particular island in the Greek mythologies in which some of Our Heroes run afoul of a familiar witch. Saying more would be spoiling, however.
Multiplayer and skirmish are fun, although I haven’t had enough time to fully see how the three empires balance out when the enemies are human opponents. Most of my multiplayer games consist of me carefully thinking out my plans, mercilessly taunting my opponent, and then promptly being ground into dust. There’s a fatal flaw somewhere in there, but I have yet to figure it out.
Overall, Age of Mythology is a very good game for fans of real time strategy. Again, if you found yourself enjoying Age of Empire II, this is better, with the few problems fixed and a much stronger single-player campaign. If the previous game turned you off, there’s nothing here to really change your mind. AoM won’t have a lot of staying power on my hard drive, but while it’s there it certainly is a fun ride.
A classic real time strategy in the age of classic mythology. A great game for fans of previous Ensemble titles or for RTS fans in general. This game wonâ€™t, however, make converts of those who donâ€™t care for the RTS genre.
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