not the world's best gamer by any stretch and I've
never claimed to be. The fact that I'm not even a
fast learner serves me well within my occupations.
After all these years of playing games I can still
relate to them as an average gamer which allows me
to write my reviews from that perspective as opposed
to the been-there-done-that egghead that has played
too many games in his time and should be working for
NASA instead of sitting in his room fixated on his
PC while mom cautiously brings in his macaroni and
cheese supper. Keep in mind this imaginary guy is
35-years old. Did I mention that he also has Lord
of the Rings posters on his wall? Or is that a given?
actually think I invented new swear words while playing
Armies of Exigo, if you can call getting your ass
kicked "playing." It was more like press
start and die. Although fantasy-based RTS games aren't
exactly my forte, I've played enough of them to be
more than familiar with the gameplay strategies. But
having played Armies of Exigo, you would think that
I just graduated from Snakes and Ladders. This is
one tough game. #%$ me!
(for short) is a traditional, old school strategy
game. It may not interest those that are fans of the
new style of RTS games but it appears that it was
developed to test what the old guard has learned after
so many years of RTS gaming. I found this game to
be more of an exam than a test. And by exam, I mean
someone putting the rubber glove on.
may sound like sour grapes because I can't beat the
damn thing but because of the ramped up difficulty
level, I didn't find anything fun about the game.
It's not that there's too many options and I just
can't figure them all out, it's just that so many
of the options are overridden when the battle is on.
For instance, there is a formation option which allows
you to line up your various units (infantry, ranged,
melee etc.) in any order that you prefer. When the
battle takes place the AI takes over and the units
return to their classic positions as if you're not
quite in control of your faculties. I agree that for
the most part this "classic" formation is
the best but sometimes a different strategy is worth
trying especially when you're getting your ass handed
to you on a platter in every mission.
of the problem, or at least a heavy contributor, is
that the enemy launches a full-scale attack almost
immediately. You don't have time to get yourself together.
You also can't pause the game to issue commands. There
are lots of micromanagement issues to take care of.
Failure to take care of even the simplistic of matters
seems to result in a loss. There is little, if no,
room for error in this game. Successful conclusions
are not open-ended. It seems there is only one way
to win and I have yet to find that way. There are
12 missions for each of the three fighting factions.
Considering that each mission can last a couple of
hours that's a lot of gameplay time.
three factions consist of The Empire, Beastmen and
The Fallen. The Empire is a mix of human and elves
while the Beastmen consist of the standard ogres and
trolls. The Fallen is a race of demons that have issues
with both The Empire and the Beastmen. The story is
well represented in the cutscenes but it's just your
standard fantasy story. Some may say "classic"
but I say generic. It won't put the Lord of the Rings
franchise out of business, nor will the nerds that
like this game as long as there are new posters to
from the above-view battleground, there are underground
routes which can be used for battle as well as resource
mining. There's a two-tiered map that you can toggle
with a push of the button to keep you eyes on what's
happening below and above ground. I thought there
would be more opportunity to use the underground network
to perhaps flank the enemy but the only time it's
truly useful is when the game forces you to go underground.
That's why I prefer the online modes. This single-player
mode is just too damn bossy.
play is sporadic at best. You won't find a crowd of
people at any given time. You'll have to find groups
that play at regular intervals and hope to join in.
Games such as capture the flag and king of the hill
are a great diversion from the single player campaigns
but considering that these aren't the best versions
of these modes it's little wonder there's not that
many players online.
one thing that AOE has going for it is its polished
presentation. The graphics are highly detailed, though
there is a decided lack of 3D environments. The voices
are well recorded but a little bit corny. The interface
is clean, clear and easy to use. The instructions
equip you for battle but they don't give away any
secrets. You're going to have to play this game for
a long time to learn how to win, or you may just get
lucky and get all of the sequences rights. AOE is
definitely not for the casual gamer. In this case,
it's not even for the professional gamer. It's for
the hardcore, fanatical, tactical strategist - or
"super nerd," as I like to call anyone that's
smarter than I am.