Age of Empires 3, although it has a fairly standard campaign mode, has a fairly decent skirmish or multiplayer mode which is what I will be talking mostly about.
The campaign mode was laughably easy to beat, even on the first try for every mission and the story line is VERY plain and boring. It's the basic "Stop them" or "get here" type of missions that make the game so very similar to every other game in the genre. The only thing that saves this game from being a complete let down is the multiplayer and skirmish modes.
In the skirmish mode, you can set the difficulties to your ability (sandbox is for those that are completely braindead or don't want to really take part in any military challenge). In sandbox, the computer will leave you completely alone as far as I've been patient enough to experience (let a game go for half an hour before getting tired of waiting for an attack). The more difficult you make the game, the better it is, especially when going against all the enemies you can (1 v. 7). However, in skirmishes, the computer will basically do the same thing regardless of what your tactics are and therefore becomes somewhat monotonous.
The multiplayer mode is pretty good however. Once you log in and sift through the noobs and weirdos, you can find someone to game against in your ability ranking fairly easily. Going against a person is so much better than the skirmish mode because you face all sorts of strategies and cards (that you get for experience during multiplayer games) that you'll never be bored there unless you have logged some serious game time. The different maps you can choose also adds a little to the fun of online gaming.
+ +Multiplayer/online experience
+Loads of maps
- - Linear gameplay
- - Painfully boring storyline
- Campaign mode in general