Perfection, take three
Personally i haven't met a gamer that didn't play Age of Empires II at some point of his life. The game set new standards for quality and RTS gameplay, and has been a favorite title for many people. Ensemble studios, who were responsible for AoE and AoE 2 have developed the third game in the series, and once again, they hit the spot. From the moment you start your first game in AoE 3 until you finish the single player scenario, it is obvious that this is a first class game from every aspect. Stunning graphics (for a RTS), great sound and music, and most importantly excellent gameplay make for an enjoyable experience. After you finish kicking AI to the dust in single player, you can embark to vast fields of online play, where you can match up against living opponents, which adds up to already grand volume of the game. Single player scenario is huge, and it spans over several periods. You start of at the beginning of New age, fighting to reclaim a long lost artifact. Second and third part play out later in times of industrial revolution and the conquering of the west (settling of west side of USA). The campaign is very well done, and the story is nicely sown together. You get glimpses of events unfolding as you play, and it keeps you locked to you pc, wishing to find out the rest of it. Overall system is not that much different from previous game, but there are some novelty's. At any point throughout the game you can call on your home town (based in Europe) to provide you with additional resources, troops or settlers. It all depends on the development of your home city, so more developed it is, better the upgrades you get. Additionally, there have been cuts in number of troops you can recruit, which requires more tactical thinking from the player. If you are a fan of RTS genre, than it would be a crime if you didn't play this game. Perfect in every aspect.