Hey there TAYmates! You sexy wonderful people you. With this image I bring to you my adventures in the realm built by Ensemble Studios. The ever wonderful AGE OF EMPIRES! As this is the second game on my SBLT I have to say, I was pretty excited about going back in time and seeing one of my favorite games play out. I had to really concentrate on not hating this game purely on the fact that this game is yes, getting older, but with a lens of the quality of game; minus the age factor. With that in mind, let's get this party started!

Age of Empires III built upon it's predecessors prior shortcomings and sought to really move forward the idea of the RTS game, in a time frame that saw very little action on the RTS front. AoE3 was an ode to a by gone age of RTS games with heart and feeling. It proved that it could work even in the "modern" era given the right amount of gumption and feels. While I played this game I really felt like I had traveled back to a better time, even with all of the issues I had with the game! So let's dive in a bit shall we?

GOOD:

The story; hoo-boy that story. The story in of itself was worth the play for me. The story spanned three eras starting during the Crusades and leading up to the railroad era of early American history. It told the story of the fabled Fountain of Youth and the pain and suffering of the peoples that surrounded the place; and of the family that got caught up in the waters of the Fountain. The team at Ensemble really went out there for this story blending a plausible fantasy narrative to a game that was traditionally a purely historic (with some leeway) sim through the ages!

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The expansions - Not only did Ensemble do a bang up job on the main game that really had a good amount of play possible they also had two expansions that really had a lot of fun involved with them. War Chiefs and Asian Dynasties, respectively, were the expansions that came after AoE3 came out. Both provided not just a re-skinning of troops but also a wide array of new gameplay that really changed how the games could be played! I had played through the majority of the original campaign before so I spent the largest majority of my time in the last expansion Asian Dynasty. In that you have three campaigns with three of the largest empires of their times; the Japanese, Chinese, and Indian kingdoms.

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Did I mention Story in the Good yet? ROUGH.

Cheats - Yes, I know they ruin the game, but MAN is it not fantastic to see an old game with those lovely things baked right in like WHITE (Sorry Zarny) chocolate chips in an already delicious macadamia nut cookie.

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MIXED:

As much as I said I would look at this with an objective viewpoint; but this game REALLY has not stood the test of time. With great series like Total War continuing this tradition and really bringing engaging and beautiful series you look back onto this one and realize that it may have missed the mark just a bit. I think they took a safe approach to the design and art for the game. There wasn't much change between AoE2 and 3 in regards to unit visuals.

Length of gameplay - All in all this game was great, but short; especially as a full retail game. However give me ALL of the expansions and the game and the game would have been totally worth it at the time.

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BAD:

Level difficulty curve - For those who play RTS, Age of Empires 3 will often provide a great backdrop of strategy and mayhem. I enjoyed it more often then not, however, if I had not been an avid RTS player throughout my years I would have yanked my beard hair out with tweezers that were too small. I almost did that on the occasion as it was. Some levels would be simple and straight forward, others would be just stupid hard for no reason.

And with that, I have yet another Steam Backlog TAYthrough under the belt. Would TmfP recommend it? For those who really like RTS and miss the old days of amassing an army of ridiculous size to crush the opposition, go for it. For everyone else, it would be a hard sale this long after the game has come out. Again, it didn't hold up well.

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Released: 2005

TAYtime: 22 Hours

Price (Steam): (WTF) $39.99 (for all that is good and holy, buy this game only when it is on sale.)

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We now move to a special feature of the 2nd SBLT by TmfP. I have a wonderful friend we all know and love, LoserMLW. I came to him and said, "Loser. I need to feel special with my articles. I need to be cool. I want to STAND OUT. But how Loser? How? I just know that I love Reptar." And with that, the ever fantastic LoserMLW produced this for me.

INTRODUCING THE TmfP SBLT REPTAR SCALE!!!!!!!

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There is a whole scale of course, but AoE3 got a mid range 3 out of 5 Reptars, mainly because of nostalgia; but for other good reasons I promise!

Next up on the SBLT, yet another RTS, however, this one is a more Macro Scale - Anno 2070! Wish me luck TAYmates!

Love,

TmfP

For those of you DON'T know about my obsession with acronyms or what SBLT is - it's this!

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