Age of Empires: Gold

Even though winter is a mostly no show right now, I still stayed indoors. I got the paid DLC for Witcher 3. I decided to have another strategy break, before heading into more labryinthine open world role playing. I wanted to take a retro trip with this, so I flipped the switch (several times) on Twentieth Century.

Screenshot of a base in Age of Empires

Age of Empires is another one of those classic 90's RTS games. As the name suggests, this game is inspired by ancient history. You progress through the old material ages (stone, bronze, iron, etc.) to get new toys. But like some other RTSes, I think that it has the same lazy design that Rise of Nations has. There's about a dozen factions that are mostly clones with maybe two unique units each. Even worse, old units aren't upgraded to the new age equivalent, so you can end up with club men next to your sword men.

There doesn't seem to be a clear rock paper scissors mechanic like StarCraft. Sure, catapults are good at destroying buildings, while everything else is laughably ineffective. Like Rise of Nations, I think that this game has too many resource types. I also think it has a too low maximum population limit. If you don't have access to the two advanced resources in the late game, you're as good as dead. In StarCraft (the original), the higher tech resource is technically infinite (though slower to harvest later), but the simpler one ends up being the restraint (though more plentiful), and the simplest units are effective at all times.

When I finally got around to getting a sizable army, the pathfinding seemed a little lacking. Units were too eager to follow stray enemy workers into the base, past the deadly defenses while the siege weaponry slowly inched into position. At other times, I was unable to scroll by moving the cursor to the edges of the screen.

I got a copy of this game about 10 years ago from the friend with all the Star Wars games. (AoE was the other big video game series with them.) I'm not sure how hard I set it, but I remember it being a lot easier. There are some campaign missions where you have a handful of units and no base, and you're supposed to infiltrate a well defended enemy base to kill or steal something. One has you starting as a single priest, and I think you have to convert a worker to build a base between two (obviously stronger) warring factions as the first mission! Um, no.

Screenshot of the lone priest.

If you can't tell, I didn't have fun with this game. I did not grow up with it, so I have no memories for rose tinted glasses.

Posted under Gaming.

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