Age of Empires III

Ever since I first started playing computer games in elementary school there have been three categories of games that I’ve loved: puzzle games (eg Lemmings, Tetris, Puzzle Bobble), simulation games (eg Sim City), and real-time strategy games and the related turn-based strategy games (eg Command and Conquer, Warcraft, Civilization).  I play other types of games periodically, but these are the ones I always return to.

There are essentially 3 main RTS games and all other games usually license their game engines.  These are Command and Conquer (C&C), Warcraft (WC), and Age of Empires (AoE).  I cut my teeth, so to speak, on C&C with a disc a friend lent me so we could play against each other over the net.  I then played a shareware version of WC and a demo version of AoE.

One of the things I like about AoE vs WC is that in AoE you can have up to 200 units.  In WC you can only have 70 units.  I like to have a sprawling empire of millions of workers, allowing me to therefore have so many resources that I can make an army much larger than my foes.  Unfortunately, that’s a lot harder to do in Warcraft.

I just finished the AoE III single player game as well as the War Chiefs expansion pack.  I thought the story was fun to play since it took place during events in American history.  Interestingly, I found the expansion pack to be a little bit harder than the main game although I played both at the easy difficulty level.  I’m not sure if that’s because they balanced the game a little more or if they wanted me to feel the inferiority of the Native Americans’ weapons vs the European weapons.  There was certainly one level that I had to replay a couple of times.

You may be wondering how can someone like me, who’s not a big fan of Micro$oft can play the Age of Empires series.  Well, it’s not actually created by Microsoft, they’re just the publisher.  Anyway, it’s just a game – I think that games are not quite a crucial as the everyday software we use, so I’m ok with non-libre games.  If something bad happened because I couldn’t see the source to a video game – whatever, there are many other games I can substitute for that one.  If not having access to the source of an office suite means I can no longer type up reports, that’s much more important.

So the games are fun and I’d recommend them just based on single player mode.  Hopefully I’ll get to do some multiplayer matches this summer when my brother comes here after graduation.