Age of Empires II Expansion: The Conquerors

a game by Ensemble Studios, Microsoft Games
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 5.5/10 - 4 votes
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See also: Age of Empire Games

Overview

How do you improve on perfection? The same way you eat an elephant, one small bite at a time. Age of Empires II Expansion: The Conquerors does not boast any huge spectacular changes from Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, but gives a lot of great little extras. With five new civilizations to choose from (Aztecs, Huns, Koreans, Mayans, and the Spanish), it is almost impossible to pick a favorite one to play -- I currently have four favorites with the Korean and the Spanish topping the list. It is a really huge dilemma: so many civilizations, so little time. All the civilizations are now better balanced. There is a unique technology available for research for every civilization, just like each one has at least one unique unit. Each civilization poses new challenges and new opportunities. There is really no way to determine which civilization is "best." A lot depends on how you like to play and what types of units you use most effectively.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Gameplay has been improved with the ability to queue the rebuilding of farms and the ability to immediately start villagers collecting resources once they have built a collection-type building. These small enhancements make a lot of sense. For example, once you build a mine, the workers start mining -- likewise for gathering food and cutting wood. This improves the villagers’ productivity and makes it so you do not have to do so much babysitting to keep your workforce active (you know how villagers like to slack off). With these improvements, I did not have to use the "idle villager" button as much any more.

There are four new campaigns to test your mettle: Attila the Hun, El Cid, Montezuma, and Battles of the Conquerors. Each is simple enough to play right away on the easy setting, yet still provides lots of challenges as the difficulty level increases. How good are you? There is only one way to find out. Once you’ve installed this expansion, jump into a random map and see the new terrain types and unique map types. There are some surprises, so be ready to laugh, "ya’ll" (hint hint).

Graphics

Graphics quality has not changed much, but of course, with new civilizations, there’s new artwork. I like the Korean civilization artwork a lot -- nice animation on the war cart. You will notice that there are minor tweaks to the user interface but not much of a change at first glance.

Audio

Audio is right on track -- the new civilizations have great sounds just like the original game. I generally turn down the music in most games, but not this one. The one thing I would like to see is the sounds as wav files on the CD so I could assign them as system sounds on my computer. I would really like to have original clean clips.

System Requirements

If you can run Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, you can run the expansion, provided you have the additional hard drive space: 50 MB for a minimal install or 200 MB for a full install. I recommend the full install for best performance. AOEII: The Conquerors is an expansion pack and requires Age of Kings to play.

Documentation

My review copy did not come with a "Quick Reference Card" but I have been told that the retail version does. This is my favorite part of documentation for all the Age of Empires games. It gives you a quick look at the technology trees and what you need to build to get the stuff you need to become a "King."

Bottom Line

If you play Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, this expansion package is a must. I highly recommend this game and this expansion pack to anyone who plays computer games. If you have not tried Age of Empires: The Age of Kings, this is the time to get both the game and expansion package. Rule well, make good decisions, and you will live to reign supreme. Choose poorly and you will be trampled into dust and spread to the four corners of the earth.

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