Age of Empires, the game series which has you build up a civilization, only to have it attacked mercilessly by barbarians. That’s what this game is about, but on a smaller, or arguably, larger scale. Let’s see shall we?
You start out with a small city, either Egyptian, Celtic or Greek (unless you buy the Persians, which I refuse to do) and from this place, you get given missions, which all involve you killing these people, gathering this resource, or saving those people. Simple. As. That.
However, then you get the more in-depth missions, which require you to get this resource, so you can kill these people, to save those people, or even the ones where you save those people, so you can kill these people and gather that resource. Isn’t it just mental? I thought it was particularly hard when I had to save this resource, to I could gather these people and kill those people. It’s barmy!
Of course, it’s never that simple and, invariably, something bad happens. Of course, that’s when you stop playing, grab a pint and get a life. But that’s you. When that happens, I get a few friends to play and we decide to take on these fucking computers in a skirmish, 4 v 4, everyone trying to gather every last resource on the map, before sending in the elephants (yes, you CAN train elephants to fight for you), the catapults (yes, you CAN build catapults) and the spear-men (yes you… hang on! Of COURSE you can train spear-men!) and wiping out the enemy base.
We cranked up the pressure, slowly adding more levels to the enemy team, until, eventually, we ended up relying on my tactical mind to save us. Send a worker to build a base RIGHT BEHIND the enemy base, attacking from both sides with all available weapons. Oh, it worked by the way. I WIN!
But no, seriously. It can be a good game if you have a keen eye for military tactics, and have the determination to grind. If not, then play something else, because you really don’t want to waste your time trying to get into this. Too much effort and not enough payout. Some of us… Some of us will keep trying and we’re the ones that will be the most disappointed when we realise that it’s not a great game. I mean, it’s playable, and with a group of friends, it’s great, but alone… No. Never play alone unless you have to (which, for most of the single player campaign, you do…). So, give it a go if you like tactics. Leave it alone if not. Simple as.
Me? I like tactics. It’s why I joined a realism unit on Day of Defeat last year (and is being restarted again this month). I like the control over the battlefield that the average soldier doesn’t have, but that the guy in charge does. Those few times you’ll watch your soldiers eagerly carrying out your orders, walking to his doom, willingly. I’d never cope in a real war, but in isometric combat simulation… Give me enough time to set up properly, and I can take on anyone…
For me, this is a good game, but nothing more than good. Maybe I’m being harsh, but I don’t know… I just don’t know.