Age Of Empires Online – Age Of Awesome? Or Age Of Repulsion?

Age Of Empires: Online - Big LogoCan I say this? Is this correct? Being a hardcore Age Of Empires fan, since the very beginning, since 1997! Yeah I was 3 when the original came out, but since I got my computer, like around 6/7 years old there, I have been playing Age Of Empires. It has since become a part of my life. It would make almost 10 years of playing Age Of Empires, and I have loved every single second of my game time, but now that the defunct Ensemble Studios is no longer working on the god-like creation of a game, what is there left of the Age Of Empire Franchise?

Age of Empires is a series of computer games developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. The first title of the series was Age of Empires, released in 1997. Since then, seven titles and three spin-offs have been released. The titles are historical real-time strategy games, and their gameplay revolves around two main game modes: random map and campaign.

Age Of Empires: Online - BoxshotAge of Empires Online features some of the gameplay of past games in the series, with the addition of a persistent city that functions when the player is offline, cooperative multiplayer quests, and trading. The game is an attempt to blend the real-time strategy (RTS) genre with massively multiplayer online gaming. Also, the game features a great quantity of new content, such as crafting items with earned materials.
Playable civilizations include the Greeks, Egyptians, and Celts (to be released on March 2012), plus the Persian civilization that is currently only available to users who purchase the premium package.

Honestly, a rather poor imitation of a true MMO. I can see how one might believe it to have MMO potential, but honestly, this game could have been a ton better. Drawing inspiration from the last Age Of Empires Installment, Age Of Empires 3, where the player had the ability to customize a Home City where they can then show off to the world when they play in PVPs, Age Of Empires: Online, attempts to emulate this with the creation of a Capital City, where the play can build up from humble beginnings, to a massive empire that will rule the world. Honestly, this isn’t that bad of idea, I actually like a bit. Although the atmosphere of Age Of Empires isn’t what it used to be.

Age Of Empires: Online - Gameplay - Greek Rocky CoastThe graphics on the game is cell-shaded, much similar to that of anime style games. The truth is, AoE:III, used massive 3D animation and models to create an atmosphere, and while the graphics is quite well drawn and animated, the games the game a very child-like atmosphere, where you don’t feel like the Emperor, rather you feel like a little kid, you know like in real life. In previous games you felt like a true commander when you armed yourself to the teeth and marched out across the map, now that feeling, which was there up even in AoE:Age Of Mythology, is no longer there, quite sad, if you ask me. In addition, all blood, gore etc has been removed. Units when killed simply fall apart and vanish. No Cool effects or anything.

Age Of Empires: Online - Gameplay - Egyptians 2The game wins me over in the music department, it contains a redone version of the original score, which was supreme epic by the way, and most of its music makes it feel like an old-school bring it vibe. Basically war scores. Things like that. The sound effects are all cool, and the game sound surprisingly real. My only complaint for music is there wasn’t enough. I need more.

Age Of Empires: Online - Gameplay - RaidNow the gameplay is similar to most MMOs, where a player completes a quest and gains XP as a result and items etc etc. And they earn XP and items while on the quest. Now here’s the interesting, the XP gained is used to level up your capital city, and every 10 or so levels you gain access to higher tier of units and technology (ie a new age). Every time you level up you gain 3 tech points which you can use to gain access to new tech, like upgrades new units etc. Its pretty fun actually. Oh and you can still browse for other players and challenge them to a 1v1 and duke it out, with your Civilization, with your custom tech tree and your units and in-game upgrades. The downside to this is alto of the stuff can only be used and accessed once you purchase a Pro or Premium Civilization. Which means you pay for your individual civilization, rather than pay one fee and get them all.

Overall this game pleases me a great deal, I guess that must mean I am a hardcore AoE fan, but honestly, whilst the game feels child-like, it plays rather well, and I can see myself being addicted to it for quite some time to come. The gameplay still feels like that of an old-school AoE but with some pretty impressive upgrades. I honestly give this game a 7/10. You should still pick it up if your a new AoE fan or a long lasting one, it does give a lot of good times.

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