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Old 09-07-2005, 11:37 PM   #1
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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. -A friend of mine and an aspiring filmmaker.
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