Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne

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a game by Gathering
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Strategy, Magic Games
Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne
Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne
Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne
Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne

It’s inevitable that at some point games within a genre stop being original and start becoming little more than rehashes of each other. Which is exactly what is starting to happen in the world of turnbased strategy games. Go and play Heroes Of Might IV, then come back and play Age Of Wonders II, and tell me I’m wrong. There really is very little to differentiate between the two. But does that make Age Of Wonders II a bad game, though? No. of course it doesn’t, it just makes it a supremely unimaginative rip-off of what made the Heroes series great, which in turn makes it, well, rather good.

If It Ain’t Broke...

The familiar premise goes thus: find a hero, recruit characters for your cause while you travel around the game map. Grab any loot you come across. Build a city, improve it as funds permit, hire more warriors and magic units and send them off to clonk the enemy on the head. Research and cast spells, and so on and so forth ad infinitum. There’s not a whole bunch of innovative stuff here, though unlike the first game you now get bigger, more detailed maps as well as more involvement in developing your cities. And as you are now a wizard, researching magical attributes and ever more powerful spells from the seven magical spheres plays a much greater role. As you’d expect, combat is played out in turns, and you can either assign tactics and orders individually to your units or simply click the auto button and watch them strut their stuff. However, if you choose this option you risk losing some of your better units if they don't keep themselves out of harm’s way, which, due to some erratic Al, they seldom do.

But It Looks A Good...

Age Of Wonders II, in all fairness, is quite graphically impressive (well, for a turn-based strategy game anyway). All the characters and environments are rich and detailed, and even battle graphics are fairly decent unless you zoom in close on them, at which point they become blurred and low on detail.

So, should you buy it? Well, if you already have Heroes Of Might And Magic IV and you want to play it again with different graphics, go right ahead. If you are new to this genre, Age Of Wonders II is as good an introduction to it as you will get, and the fact that it’s not quite as complex as Heroes IV may well make it a better title for beginners. In closing then, AOWII is not quite as good as the title it seeks so desperately to 'emulate’, but it’s damned close.

Download Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne is a rich but very complex turn-based fantasy strategy title in the vein of Civilization and Heroes of Might and Magic. You will start the game as a novice wizard and through combat, diplomacy, research and exploration, attempt to build your empire and vanquish those pesky rival wizards. This may not be as easy as it sounds, however.

AoW2 is not a title you'd want to use as an introduction to the genre, any more than you'd want to teach your kid to drive a Maserati. For starters, the game manual is a whopping 180 pages. And while there is a tutorial, it assumes familiarity with hex-based movement, turn-based play, etc. Novices should start with Civilization or the original Age of Wonders.

Even experts should give the tutorial a spin, as AoW2 contains enough bells and whistles to occupy even the most experienced strategist. In a given turn, you may be recruiting heroes, exploring, negotiating with or fighting other wizards, tapping mines or nodes for resources, researching technologies, learning/casting spells, building structures, managing morale, and/or moving units for strategic advantage. Whew! As you can see, this isn't a game where you can sit back and mass produce units to conquer the map.

While beginners may be a bit overwhelmed, for experts in this genre, you really couldn't find a deeper gaming experience. You have the utmost control of your abilities and units. There is no autopilot in this game unless you count the splendid feature of instant combat results, which allows you to avoid playing out insignificant battles and focus on more pressing matters. I did think that the playing map could have been given more screen real estate (probably a result of having so many controls/options). Nevertheless, AoW2 gives you a lot of bang for your gaming buck, especially for the master players in the fantasy strategy genre. If you are just starting out with turn-based strategy, this one may be too much for you to handle.

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