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Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties Review

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March 26, 2008 2:20:19 PM

Review by Ryan Lord

The second expansion for Age of Empires III transports gamers to three different time period introduces new civilizations with China, India and Japan. Does Asian Dynasties still have Age of Empires' magic touch?

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/03/26/asianempires_review/
March 26, 2008 6:41:31 PM

I've tried everything possible to get myself to like the AOEIII series. I'm head-over-heals for AOEII/AOC and play AOC til the cows come home. But, AOEIII and the expansions don't have the same game feel (and gameplay) as AOC. In particular, I don't feel comfortable with the aspect ratio (arial view) of the game. It also feels like the game moves in a slower motion than AOC. Yet, for me the biggest petpeve is the maps are so small that you are forced into fighting at an early age. You expand your economy and immediately you find yourself in a battle. This exactly how thing were on the 'Zone'. You play with good players, they scout, and before you know it you have dozens of troops pestering your village and town center. This gameplay is fine and dandy for those that they are quick on the economy build and can multitask well, but for those that just want a laid back game, in my opinion, it is hard to come by with AOEIII and the expansions. I still keep the game because my attitude toward the game could change. After all it is the Age of Empires series and the originals were all that. Maybe I just haven't developed enough to enjoy the new series.
March 26, 2008 8:30:37 PM

I picked up AOE3 and both of the expansions. Must say I was disappointed for the same reasons as the above poster. I love FPS's online, but RTS games I prefer to just play the computer, with long drawn out games at my own pace. The maps are extremely small. You are forced into combat. The game is essentially forced to end, resources get exhausted way too fast. I don't think i have played a skirmish that lasted longer than 25minutes, unless i took my sweet time, finishing off an empty resourceless town. I hear the rise of nations devs worked on asian dynasties, to bad they couldnt do a complete overhaul to make it more like RON, which I still love and play.
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March 27, 2008 4:56:10 AM

Just curious, why is this review in so late?? I've been playing AOEIII with latest Asian expansion for some time now -- and yes, I want more!!!

I play mostly online with others vs. computer (usually on Hard or Expert) with equal AI opponents as human.

The only problem with this is game is that it is "Too balanced" -- there should be some benefit to moving thru the ages and upgrading quickly, but in reality there isn't. Also the Cards/Deck really doesn't seem matter much -- everything is just too equal. It is good sometimes to work an imbalance. Say for example, fighting 200 spartans vs. 10,000 soldiers -- tactics just doesn't seem to come into play much.
March 27, 2008 12:39:31 PM

They twisted alot of history in this game, didn't even grab the most fundamentals correct, which pisses me off. So it's two thumbs down from me.
March 27, 2008 2:32:28 PM

tsd16 said:
I picked up AOE3 and both of the expansions. Must say I was disappointed for the same reasons as the above poster. I love FPS's online, but RTS games I prefer to just play the computer, with long drawn out games at my own pace. The maps are extremely small. You are forced into combat. The game is essentially forced to end, resources get exhausted way too fast. I don't think i have played a skirmish that lasted longer than 25minutes, unless i took my sweet time, finishing off an empty resourceless town. I hear the rise of nations devs worked on asian dynasties, to bad they couldnt do a complete overhaul to make it more like RON, which I still love and play.


AOE3 is an RTS you're either going to love or hate, there's not much of a middle ground. I think that the gap between AOE2 and AOE3 was an attempt to set people up for the tighter maps and combat. Take Age of Mythology for example and even the Titans expansion. I recall those maps being just about the same size as the ones in AOE3. That's not to say though that AOE3's maps are all tiny by definition. Sure, horses can travel quite quickly, but foot based reinforcements still take a little bit of time to get from point A to B.

V8VENOM said:
Just curious, why is this review in so late?? I've been playing AOEIII with latest Asian expansion for some time now -- and yes, I want more!!!

I play mostly online with others vs. computer (usually on Hard or Expert) with equal AI opponents as human.

The only problem with this is game is that it is "Too balanced" -- there should be some benefit to moving thru the ages and upgrading quickly, but in reality there isn't. Also the Cards/Deck really doesn't seem matter much -- everything is just too equal. It is good sometimes to work an imbalance. Say for example, fighting 200 spartans vs. 10,000 soldiers -- tactics just doesn't seem to come into play much.


For various reasons, but it's still a game we wanted to make sure got some coverage. Working in an imbalance is ok for single player, but for online it's almost a magical science to get things balanced out to where games can always be played fairly by all sides. As seen in other RTS games, if a major imbalance exists, all the "pro" players will jump on it and abuse it like there's no tomorrow.

Regarding cards, I disagree. I find the cards to be very very useful and they ramp up based off city level. Higher level cards like the Mandarin Duck Squad for Chinese are great! :) 

derek85 said:
They twisted alot of history in this game, didn't even grab the most fundamentals correct, which pisses me off. So it's two thumbs down from me.


One could argue that perhaps the history books twisted a lot of history though, as none of us here today really know exactly what happened in the past. Regardless, I don't think BHG and Ensemble were necessarily trying to provide a 100% spot on history lesson in the campaigns. It's still a game, so I guess my advice would be to take the history with a grain of salt and enjoy it for what it is.
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