Game Of The Week: Age of Empire 3

T-Mag Wednesday 08/February/2017 20:50 PM
By: Times News Service
Game Of The Week: Age of Empire 3

No game turned heads the way Age of Empires III did. Given the historic strategy of game’s cult following, few games will provide such a reaction in the future.

When Microsoft announced the release of the latest instalment in this overwhelmingly popular game, a good six years after its predecessor, gamers throughout the world were excited. Because not only does Age of Empires take you back through history, it puts you right in the middle of the most famous battles of our time.

The premise of the game is simple: set in the Middle Ages, your objective is to turn your humble village into a thriving city that sends brave men to fight for their liege lord. From storming Crusader castles under Saladin to helping the Aztecs turn the tide against Spanish conquistadors, Age of Empires was a game you could play over and over again.

Age of Empires III is just as enjoyable as its forebears. This game fast forwards you into the Age of Discovery, when Europe was just beginning to establish colonies overseas. There’s a lovely story-driven campaign to the entire game, which is told through the eyes of Amanda Black, a wealthy American businesswoman and great-granddaughter of Morgan Black, the protagonist of the game.

Morgan is a member of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Malta, who are based in, well, Malta. After he and his commander Alain Magnan repel a Turkish raiding fleet and pursue their attackers, they stumble across a grotto containing symbols belonging to the Circle of Ossus, a shadowy group of very wealthy and influential individuals who wish to conquer the New World for their own nefarious purposes.

Our heroes travel to the Americas, and make land in a place the Spanish call La Florida. Once there, they erect a settlement of their own and set about exterminating the Circle before they take root in the New World.

It’s Age of Empires’ simplicity and interlinked nature that make it such a beloved game. Your workers gather food, chop down trees for lumber, mine gold and stone to build the foundations of their civilisation, train troops, research technologies, and advance through the ages.

Once you’ve amassed a large enough army comprising of an assortment of mounted and foot units with siege weapons to complement them, you take the fight to the enemy and – hopefully – win.

Age of Empires III takes that experience to a whole new level. The beautifully constructed environment has been made a whole lot more interactive and contextual to the game.
Explore the swamps that surround the Gulf of Mexico and you might stumble onto a shipwreck that contains a small fortune in gold coins to augment your resources. Send your spearmen into the thickets that surround your camp and you might find a couple of peasants trapped by a panther. Save them and they will gladly join your cause.

The 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that the game takes place in are also brilliantly reflected in the gameplay. The colonial ambitions of the six European nations – Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Russia – are further bolstered by “home cities”. Each civilisation in the game has its own unique advantages that could help turn the tide in battle. While they cannot be physically travelled to, players can call upon shipments of mercenaries, soldiers, and goods to speed up their colonial expansion.

In addition, Microsoft Games has also provided gamers with three native American civilisations, who can also be played as, and are featured liberally throughout the campaign, both in their settlements and at trading posts across the map where they can be bartered with.

With a brand new campaign, a host of characters you actually want to root for, several new expansions, and a brilliant gaming experience that you’ll want to revisit again and again, Age of Empires III is a game you must download (and play) this weekend.

The Short and Skinny
Name: Age of Empires III
Publisher: Microsoft Games
Genre: Action/Real-time Strategy/Historical
What’s it about: Set sail for the New World as you conquer lands unknown and discover a mysterious conspiracy in the latest edition of Microsoft’s award-winning series
Platform: PC, Mac, Windows Mobile
IGN Rating: 8.8/10
Where to buy: Steam store,, Age of Empires III official website

[email protected]