Here's my take:
Nice graphics, limitless strategies because of the shear diversity and number of units, very stable and smooth multiplayer (much better than AoK). Customizable civs, and challenging AI.
I can't believe we can't customize our hotkeys!
The manual sucks. They didn't include the typical reference chart showing the unit hierarchy, nor do they give you a table showing unit cost and attack/defense ratings.
Sounds could be better.
im basically burnt out on rts games in general. i used to play them and rpgs exclusively. but now that i have gone the way of the fps action genre i find that i just dont have the patience for them anymore. the reward just isnt worth the amount of time you have to invest in them. considering that you have to spend at least an hour to complete a single mission in most rts games and i can jump into a public fps server and frag away in less than a minute. its not suprising i dont have the patience anymore. sometimes i wish i did tho...
Okay, how many of you had actually been active in the EE community? I mostly hung around ee.heavengames.com and empireearthcenter.com as well as EENC.net, before they all died due to lack of banner ad clicks. First of all:
The AI cheats. They can build things twice as fast as you in skirmish mode when the game first starts, and people have documented this. The AI gets resource bonuses from somewhere. Again, through strict testing this has been documented. There are other glitches like the houses not working properly. Anyway, most people in the EE community actually had lots of problems with the gameplay. Besides the AI cheating, there was the problem of games lasting forever. Each skirmish I played personally took at least 5 hours if not 10 hours. These games take too long. Also, they get so boring. There was huge infighting between EE fans who played cooperatively online. Eventually they would send their nuke bombers to force attack their allies just for fun and they'd get pissed and do the same. The same thing has been documented in AoE with people using siege weapons on their own allies just because it's so damn boring. Also the mission editor is nice but it's not very user friendly. Most people aren't programmers but that's how they made the editor. They made it exactly like OOP, and as a result most of the user-made maps out there didn't have any triggers in them. Just a bunch of men fighting each other for no reason on a bad landscape. Finally they needed to put in keyboard shortcuts (I think) for formations and behaviors instead of having to click so much.
Alright I know I should've started on the positive first but better late than never. EE's campaigns are good. The simple in-game cinematics do wonders for making it more fun to play. As a result, its missions are 500 TIMES more fun than AoE 2. This goes for all of the missions, very good job. These missions must've taken months to make because like I said the map editor is hard to use. The graphics are also very nice, and zooming in is fun even if they do look cartoonish, the reviewers who said zooming in was something you'd never want to do were wrong. I like watching large battles, but only when they're meaningful, not like those huge wars of attrition you will play in skirmish games or those custom made maps on the internet with gigantic armies. As a side note, the EE expansion pack is coming out this October.
Anyway, I guess I'm just very opinionated about this game because I donated SO MANY hours to it and over time you really begin to realize where they went wrong. And I guess the little things really get to you. All in good will, the game is quite a good accomplishment and the quality is superb. It is still fun occasionally, but it can easily turn boring when playing skirmish maps, simply because you have no time to use the formations and tactics that make playing the single player campaign so much fun. Instead you must build... watch your guys die... rebuild... watch them die again... destroy the enemy... but wait another villager got away and rebuilt an entire base... destroy that one... wait another villager got away and rebuilt an entire base... destroy that one... wait another villager got away and rebuilt an entire base... okay most of your offensive units are dead, rebuilt them and repeat... the buildings take forever to destroy too...
Well to follow up on that looooonnnngggg post (no offense intended), I'll just say it's probably my 3rd favorite game. I really only play strategy games so my favorites are Fleet Command, Steel Panthers 3, then Empire Earth. Unfortunately Steel Panthers 3 no longer works for some reason and I've played too much Empire Earth, and I'm kinda tired of that. I just absolutely love Fleet Command, because it has great gameplay especially after a group called NWP (Naval Warfare Project or something like that) created some great patches that added so much to the game. As you can see, the games other than EE don't need much of a good comp to run (although Fleet Command does get kinda slow after there are like 100 missiles flying around), but the ideas are really good. So EE is a pretty good game, but it just doesn't really suit my tastes as well as some other games do, although the graphics aren't bad. I'm kinda looking forward to Warcraft III, although the screenshots I've seen aren' too great...