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-   -   AoE3 demo out. Thoughts? (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=151998)

lukeiamyourdad 09-08-2005 12:37 AM

AoE3 demo out. Thoughts?
 
So the AoE3 demo is finally out.

Can't say I'm very impressed...

My thoughts:

Graphics 9/10:

Although it will require you a monster of a machine to run it at high settings, at medium, it still looked pretty good. There are no flaws except the high requirements for the best visuals.
The loadings are also very short. I noticed a few animation bugs.

Sound 7/10:
The music is unimpressive. They've remixed the old AoE theme but the in-game music is subpar compared to AoK or AoM.
Sound effects are also not very good. Though they aren't inherently bad, they lack a certain "crispiness".

Gameplay 6/10:
Why 6? Well, first of, while the makers of the game did specify that there's a huge diversity of units in that era. The game doesn't show it much. The number of units available to you in one civ is a disappointment.
The game still retains that AoE battle feel which is a little unfortunate. Musketeers are not much fun to play with. If you were expecting line battles like Cossacks or Imperial Glory, you won't find it here.
Battle is a disappointment for me. It might be due to the low number of units or it might simply be because nothing is changed.
Other then that, you still gather ressources, build a town and make an army to attack your enemy. Not much originality, but the formula works and that's what is important. It still works after all these years.
Another gameplay change is the card set and your home city. Cards give bonus in the form of ressources, buildings or units that get shipped in from your home city after you gather enough experience. It is interesting, but I don't see how things can be balanced correctly, as it seems some cards are quite overpowered. We'll see how it turns out.
Another new addition are the trade routes. These are very different from the ones in the old Age games. In a way, I wished it was like the old Age games. Right now, trade routes offer a too small advantage for the attrocious job of defending them.
The addition of natives is also there though they don't offer much. They're not that interesting to play with, though for the minor sum of a trade post you can ally with them and you can build their units. It's still a worthwhile investment.
So why only 6? Well, the battles are simply boring. No unit has any "fun" or "cool" factor. They're all rather boring. Musketeers don't stay in formation when ordered to attack several different units. There's no line battles at all. Units take too long to make. Battles are nothing more then very small skirmishes. AoM had more epic battles then this, so did AoK.
At least AoM had cool units. Here, we have nothing.

Lastly, there's the campaign. Which doesn't look good. The in-engine cinematics are not very beautiful. Dawn of War managed to do something excellent in terms of in-engine cinematics last year. Hey, even AoM had better in-engine cinematics. The story looks awfully bad, but you only get to play two missions of the third campaign so I can't really judge all of them on that only.


Frankly, I expected something much better then this. I know it's only a demo, but if this is what the whole game is like, forget it, I won't fork out any money for it.

Pho3nix 09-08-2005 10:49 AM

What !? Where is the demo ?

DarthMaulUK 09-08-2005 03:33 PM

Ive just been playing this and it is truely awful. Why?

I have that super beast of a PC and the graphics are nothing more than average. The mission is boring and its just basically Rise of Nations rebadged AOE 3 but taking out the fun from Rise Of The Nations.

The AI is shocking! It would sit and watch units getting stuck, workers just standing around because they cant find a spot to mine(for example) - fine in a game from 10 years ago but when your troopers just sit around watching the dude next to them get blasted to bits, its not good, especially as you are also limited to issue commands.

There are a couple of nice touches as AOE removes the need to build dozens of farms, allowing you to assign upto 10 farmers per Mill. But it doesnt nothing outstanding and theres nothing really new - including the sound.

Its hard to judge the big RTS battle but so AOE isnt going to set the world alight.

3/10
DMUK

StealthWar42 09-08-2005 03:35 PM

Really... really... bad.

Oh well, gives EaW some more potential customers, hopefully.

Pho3nix 09-08-2005 04:06 PM

Meh, It wasn't THAT good. Just plain olde' AOEII with better graphics >_<
Even though I liked the fact that you get shipments from your home country.

Jan Gaarni 09-08-2005 04:08 PM

Downloaded it, played the first mission in the campaign, uninstalled it. :rolleyes:

I don't know, maybe in the past I would have enjoyed it, but ... meh, I don't know, maybe I've grown tired of AoE. :)

2/10

lukeiamyourdad 09-08-2005 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarthMaulUK
The mission is boring and its just basically Rise of Nations rebadged AOE 3 but taking out the fun from Rise Of The Nations.


That was my first reaction also. I was wondering if I was playing Rise of Nations or AoE3. And I hated Rise of Nations too.

popcorn2008 09-08-2005 10:13 PM

I just finished playing a skirmish mission on the demo and I am also highly disapointed. The graphics weren't too great (in todays standards). I actually would say Age of Mythology has better graphics (i could be wrong havent played it in a while). The gameplay was somewhat boring, it was basically the same as AoK. I did like the cards, but that was about it. Some of the treasure stuff you find is kinda cool. Also the units werent too amazing, the musketeer animations werent all to good, and not too powerful at that matter.
Also the AI needs a super workup. When I would attack a pirate treasure thing, they didnt fight back. I dont know if that is intintinal (blah spelling) but it isnt realistic. i dont think a pirate would run after being shot at.... maybe some.... but not all.
All in all, highly disapointing.

Graphics : 6/10
Gameplay : 4/10
Overall : 3/10

I love the AoE series but i just dont like this.

FroZticles 09-08-2005 11:20 PM

Installing now and with the graphics are ment to be flawless if you fork out for the new $400+ ment to give some kind of glow over the battlefield which makes it look like sunlight.

lukeiamyourdad 09-11-2005 11:44 PM

I wonder when Sithmaster is going to show up and say that we're all wrong and that AoE3 is the best game ever made :)

Jmaster3265 09-11-2005 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lukeiamyourdad
That was my first reaction also. I was wondering if I was playing Rise of Nations or AoE3. And I hated Rise of Nations too.


I liked rise of nations! Anyway i downloaded AOE3 demo as well, and it was ok...nothing too too new or interesting besides the shipments from your city...

lukeiamyourdad 09-11-2005 11:51 PM

The irony here is that Rise of Nations takes so much from the Age serie. Yet, Rise of Nations doesn't feel like any Age game. Oddly enough, AoE3 managed to feel like Rise of Nations.

Sithmaster_821 09-12-2005 01:14 AM

Hmmmmm..............

My opinion of the demo:

It had a poor first impression. The graphics looked ok-ish until I updated my drivers (then they looked awesome, even on my middling PC, I definitely think that those who are disappointed with the graphics should go out and update drivers). The campaigns scenerios weren't that fun (but when have you played an Age of Empires for the campaigns? My beef was that they were too short). The skirmish games took a game or two to get used to, but now they are quite fun. The home city idea (once you get enough "cards" to complete more than one "deck") really puts a spin on the genre (as an aside, I hate the terms "card" and "deck"). I love the music in game; I purposely turned the music up higher than the unit sounds just so I can hear it very well as I play. The win music is awesome. Its not very modernistic AoE-style, more classical, which fits the game well.

In defense of the demo: Its my contention that ES games (and their spawn) do not make good demos. Their games aren't flashy and don't have cool storylines (unlike Blizzard games) and at the same time lack the overwhelming compexity of games like RoN. It can definitely feel unwhelming. Its a well-known fact that the SWGB demo poorly represents the game, and I (the self-proclaimed Ensemble fanboy) would not have purchased AoM if I hadn't played the alpha prior to the demo. It sucked that bad (and people said the same things about it too, and I defended it on GB.com much like I am now).

The demo is sort of an open beta, since there won't be a true beta for AoE3. It has a ton of bugs (according to ES, they've already fixed over 1000 since the demo build), people keep finding more. A majority of the complaints you guys have pushed have been addressed, like the treasure guardians not fighting back and the AI not responding well.

And an aside to DMUK (who is an awesome guy who does a ton of stuff for us), I read your post on AoE3H and I think your issue is not your gfx card, but your 256 MB of RAM. Honestly, I think the game looks pretty good on your comp as is, based on your screenshot. It doesn't look as good as the publicity screenshots, but it doesnt look anywhere near that good on my computer either, and I am still impressed by the quality of the graphics. I think the problem is that Ensemble made the choice to support a much larger range of computers than the top-of-the-line FPS's, so there is a much wider range in graphics quality, but the same level of expectation. I guess us RTS gamers aren't used to the idea that a game could look so markedly different on a mid-to-low-range comp from the marketing screenshots taken on behemoth comps, whereas FPS gamers have come to be merely joyful that Half-Life 2 or Doom 3 runs at all.

I know this sounds like an article in a Soviet newspaper, so I'll register my complaints. Parts of the game (especially the pre-driver art style) remind me too much of RoN, which is not a good thing. I am disappointed that they couldn't get the complex formations they had hyped up to be balanced as smoothly as they wanted. The UI shows way too little info for such a massive hunk of screen space. Unit names dont need to be in 72 font. The Gameplay>Realism junky in me is sketchy about the whole throwing torches thing. I kinda liked units hacking away at walls, no matter how crazy it looked. But the torches are cool too, so it evens out. I wish they brought back the AoK style of upgrades instead of sticking with AoM's generic style upgrades (my biggest beef with AoM), although they did back off on that slightly. I wish Ensemble hired someone specifically for the campaign storyline, because, no matter how skilled Greg Street is at game design/balance, he can't write very well, and all the campaigns play like campy movies. I feel overwhelmed with my explorer early on in the game (do I scout, do I raid, do I treasure hunt, do I build trade posts, do I make treaties with the natives), but I guess that makes for interesting decisions. I also wish Ensemble (and all RTS companies do this too) learned to put unique civs in the demo, instead of putting in the similar to the previous game style civs. Its no fun playing as the Brits or the Empire or Zeus or the Orcs or the Terran, when there are cooler civs out there. I miss the superficial 10% type bonuses, mainly because they made things so clear cut (Goths should build infantry, Rebels should farm early), as opposed to the crazy unique bonuses that have a lot of potential but you kinda go "ok, where do I go from here", but thats a personal preference.

My impression of the demo would be 7.5/10, but I think the game itself will get over a 9 from me.

Darth Alec 09-12-2005 05:48 AM

I liked the demo, and expect greater thing for the real game. And all that hyped up stuff, like musketeer volley fire and such didnt get into the demo, but I see it clearly....
Slightly complicaded system, but a skirmish or to helps.
7/10

DarthMaulUK 09-12-2005 06:01 AM

To say the graphics look awesome is a massive overstatement. They are shocking. On my PC they are nothing more than average and I have a pretty fast PC and top of the range graphics card.

The demo fully deserves the bashing it is getting because its that poor. ES have alot of work to do before release day

DMUK

Sithmaster_821 09-12-2005 09:37 AM

I guess it just depends on your expectations. My computer is hardly top of the line, but the game looks identical to the screenshots, minus HDL and Shader 3.0 (which my graphics card can't handle) and the sharpness afforded by a higher resolution. It looks better than any other current RTS, especially on my machine. No, it doesn't have all the crazy FPS quality graphics that have been floating around (people have taken demo shots that look like the preview screens with comps not much better than mine), but it still has the graphics of a high quality RTS.

As I said earlier, DMUK, the thing holding you back is probably the RAM. Ensemble themselves said that RAM was probably the most important stat in determining the graphics quality. Its also been my experience that demos look much worse than the final game on mid-to-low end comps, especially those with RAM limitations, because they aren't optimized very much (optimization is one of the last things game companies do.

lukeiamyourdad 09-12-2005 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sithmaster_821
It looks better than any other current RTS

Not really. On the screenshots, yes, but in reality, nope. Look at Dawn of War. They are much prettier, from the lowest computer to the highest beast.
There's also so much capitalization on graphical quality from Ensemble. We keep hearing about how it's supposed to look pretty and all.

FroZticles 09-12-2005 10:40 PM

I'm just happy it could run on my comp since its 2 years old. If you don't like online gaming you more than likely won't like this game. The offline missions are not the best but it also depends on your expectations. I think for all those who hate AOE3 will love E@W cause it looks like it will be more driven for offline players.

Snafu7 09-12-2005 10:44 PM

I never really played any other AoE, but I thought that the AoE3 demo was pretty fun, but it wasn't really anything revolutionary

Sithmaster_821 09-12-2005 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lukeiamyourdad
Not really. On the screenshots, yes, but in reality, nope. Look at Dawn of War. They are much prettier, from the lowest computer to the highest beast.
There's also so much capitalization on graphical quality from Ensemble. We keep hearing about how it's supposed to look pretty and all.

I disagree. In the interest of comparing apples to apples, here are screenshots from both games demos, taken on my computer within minutes of each other. Both of the games are at the max for this machine. You be the judge, but I think AoE3 is much better.

http://img342.imageshack.us/img342/401/screen22oc.jpg
http://img342.imageshack.us/img342/8...ic000096zg.jpg

lukeiamyourdad 09-12-2005 11:17 PM

Hmmm...Dawn of War (demo) looks way better then that on my comp. And AoE3 only slightly worse then your screenshot.

I still stand by my statement that I think Dawn of War looks better then AoE3.

It was a lot more fun too. Even the demo was great.

And for Froz, Dawn of War is a multiplayer oriented RTS. In case he claims some people only like what is SP...

Sithmaster_821 09-13-2005 02:25 AM

Dawn of War is fun, but more in the Warcraft flash-and-jazz kinda way (although it has a quite complex squad system, which I guess makes up for the lacking economy).

But back on topic, I don't know how you could say that AoE3's music was subpar, especially when compared to AoM's catchy but oddly misfitting music. This was the grand age of classical music, and the music really reflects that. I think, no matter what the end game looks like, the reviewers won't be complaining about the music.

DarthMaulUK 09-13-2005 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sithmaster_821
As I said earlier, DMUK, the thing holding you back is probably the RAM. Ensemble themselves said that RAM was probably the most important stat in determining the graphics quality. Its also been my experience that demos look much worse than the final game on mid-to-low end comps, especially those with RAM limitations, because they aren't optimized very much (optimization is one of the last things game companies do.

I have 2gig ram ;) The graphics are just awful, on the highest settings with a AMD FX55 2.6ghz geforce 6800GT GPU 256 MB

DMUK

Sithmaster_821 09-13-2005 12:48 PM

Oops, sorry. I miss read the DirectX Diagnosis you posted into saying you had 256 RAM for your comp. My bad. In that case, I don't know what to say, other than possibly update your drivers, because people with stats around those of your behemoth of a machine have posted screenshots that look identical to the official ones in terms of quality. Since you have an Nvidia card, its not the probelms ES has been having with ATI cards and AA. That is the type of computer that ES is expecting to run the game at the highest or near highest quality. In fact, ES uses the 6800 series on all their "showing off the game" machines.

DarthMaulUK 09-13-2005 01:54 PM

Credit to you Sith for trying. I work in the industry and know all about keeping my PC updated. The fact is, AOE - the trial - has awful graphics and like most of the game, it needs a heavy tweak before being released.

I have never seen AI so dreadful in my life, a UI that takes up 1/4 of the screen and game play unvaried enough to send anyone to sleep!

DMUK

lukeiamyourdad 09-13-2005 10:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sithmaster_821
But back on topic, I don't know how you could say that AoE3's music was subpar, especially when compared to AoM's catchy but oddly misfitting music. This was the grand age of classical music, and the music really reflects that. I think, no matter what the end game looks like, the reviewers won't be complaining about the music.

Reviewers can say what they want to say. In my opinion, outside of the remix of the classic AoE theme, the music simply isn't interesting.
IMO, AoM's music wasn't misfitting. Afterall, they seem like they wanted a sort of epic (godly) music which fit it really well. Of course, it isn't "realistic" but then again, a game about pagan gods and fireballs falling down from the sky doesn't have to be historically accurate.

Sithmaster_821 09-14-2005 01:16 AM

Well, I guess its up to the individual, but my sole problem with the AoM music was its lack of "epicness". Yeah it was catchy and all, but it seemed kinda petty compared to the battle of the gods type gameplay.

To each his own I guess.

And for those who complained about the massive UI:
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...MinUIFinal.jpg

That massive unit name thing pisses me off, but now I can still see more than 2/3 of the screen.

FroZticles 09-14-2005 10:22 AM

Well it was a demo your not going to get all the features if they were to open up the graphics and music scores it would have been a 1gig or more demo.

lukeiamyourdad 09-14-2005 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FroZticles
Well it was a demo your not going to get all the features if they were to open up the graphics and music scores it would have been a 1gig or more demo.

Though certain features such as the full music score would not be in a full game, I don't understand what you mean by "opening up the graphics".
As far as I know, unless the demo is released very early before the full game, that's the graphical quality you'll get.

JK demo looked the same as the full game, AoM demo looked the same as the full game, DoW demo looked the same as the full game, etc.

Sithmaster_821 09-15-2005 08:31 PM

The AoM demo looked (and played) a lot worse on my computer than the full game. They won't "open up the graphics" in the sense that things are locked now and will be in the full game, but demos are not optimized at all. Thus people are forced to play them at a lower level of quality than the full game. For example, the AoM demo locked up whenever more than 20 units were on the screen on the lowest graphics level on my comp. The full game played fine even at slightly higher resolutions.

lukeiamyourdad 09-15-2005 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sithmaster_821
They won't "open up the graphics" in the sense that things are locked now and will be in the full game, but demos are not optimized at all. Thus people are forced to play them at a lower level of quality than the full game.


Of course they're not optimized but that doesn't mean the full game "looks" better then the demo. Forcing people to play at a lower level of quality doesn't exactly mean that if I have a comp that runs the demo at high settings, it will look different then the full game.

I had no graphical difference between the demo of AoM and the full game.

Besides, AoE3 marketing has been focusing a lot on graphical quality. Why would it logically be good marketing to release a demo with lower graphical quality even at high settings?
A demo is supposed to show how a game is going to be, including what it looks like.
From the demos I've played and bought the full game later, I notice no difference in graphical quality outside of performance.

Jmaster3265 09-15-2005 10:10 PM

Wow SOME of you people make such long posts....anyways back on topic, I thought the demo was ok...nothing too interesting as i said before, but a new note: I did like the landscape feature, and the sound effects.

Sithmaster_821 09-18-2005 03:17 AM

landscape feature?

Seriously guys, I've modded the game to allow for more players and advancing my HC past lvl 9 ie much closer to the full gaming experience (I am avoiding the mods which assign effects for the post lvl 10 cards, though, gotta save something for the full game), and I really have lost any sense of dissappointment or even mediocrity (I also switched to the Spanish, who, despite lacking kickass longbows, I am liking much better). The game takes some semblence of adjusting to, but, once you do, it really feels like what I was hoping for in AoM, which was the magnitude and depth of AoK, combined with AoM's pace and civ diversity.

Jmaster3265 09-19-2005 05:19 PM

What? Huh you lost me....

Sithmaster_821 09-19-2005 08:52 PM

Quote:

I did like the landscape feature
I was wondering what "landscape feature" you were tgalking about.


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