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Age of Empires II: Gold Edition By John "Award" Del Percio,
September 14, 2001
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Developer :Ensemble Studios
Publisher :Microsoft
Release Date :September 2001
Demo Available : Yes - Download
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

To the Victor Go the Spoils

Overall, AOEII Gold Edition is a massive bundle for the money value. Regardless of the game's visible age, it is still one of the most tactically intriguing classic RPGs you could get, and it is certainly a long-lived one. In addition the Gold bonus materials are certainly an enhancement. So now we're down to the big question: "Should I buy it?" Well, if you don't have AOE2 yet, it's a great chance to pick up the expansion and some bonus materials all at once. If you've never played an AOE game, you should try a demo out first and decide for yourself. If you already own AOE2 and don't own the expansion, for the price difference you might as well grab the Gold edition and get the extra maps and demos, especially if you plan on logging a lot of online play-time. If you already own AOE2 and The Conquerors, you'll live just fine without the bonus materials. They're nice, but not worth all the extra money for something you already have. If you're looking for a bold new RTS that really tries something different, and is highly successful, the top recommendation here is still Conquest: Frontier Wars, but AOE has certainly caved it's own home in the vast wall of the classic RTS games, and if you're a huge strategy fan, this is one classic you just can't miss out on.

Rating

Personal Note

Graphics - Sound - Gameplay - Depth - Multiplayer  Reviewed by John Del Percio
GRAPHICS
87 %

The graphics are really a bit dated. They're certainly not the worst graphics out there today, but I certainly would have expected a bit more out of them with the system requirements the game takes. Then again, the game's a few years old, so it's really on-par with it's era.

SOUND
88 %

Many of the sounds have been vastly improved since AOE1, and the music certainly sounds a lot less like a quick MIDI tune, but some of those instrument sounds used for building clicks are every bit as irritating as in the first game.

GAMEPLAY
95 %

While the game fits into the "classic" mold of RTS games, it has a certain unique quality to it. The heavy emphasis on resource management and base building, and the need of siege weapons to knock down walls and castles adds a more realistic medieval dimension to the game than in other series of games.

DEPTH
99 %

It's taken right out of the pages of actual history, if that's deep enough. In terms of the depth of gameplay, the tech tree is extremely advanced, the unit abilities are balanced to exacting standards, and the potential strategic plans that can be derived are numerous. This is one of the top games in RTS gaming, and should be treated that way. A good game never goes out of style, and AOE2 is one of the few that can rise above the over-crowded RTS market.

MULTIPLAYER
96 %

One of the most highly played multiplayer games online today, AOE2, as with it's predecessor, is truly tuned for exceptional strategic value when facing a human opponent.



After playing Conquest, other RTS games just don't seem as grand as they used to, though playing AOEII brought back some fond memories of the first AOE, and still the unique playing style in AOE really should be commended. Additionally, anyone who is interested in history should find the AOE series to be to their liking. Few things in gaming actually involve true reality, and those that do are usually second rate titles when it comes down to gameplay. On the unfortunate side, AOE always has something of a dry feeling to it, but something, especially in multiplayer, makes up for it. I'm still not quite sure what exactly it is that makes it work, but the unit balance certainly plays a part in it. The upgrading of eras, units, and abilities really provides for unique a unique game type as well. In terms of the Gold bonuses, the maps are great, and for die-hard multiplayer strategists, the demos are a great learning tool!

Overall Rating

 



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