More Reviews
REVIEWS Dokuro (PC) Review
Dokuro makes the jump from handheld to PC, but does it help or hinder this unusual platformer?

About Love, Hate, and the other Review
Simple feelings. Complex puzzles.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Evolve Preview
With multiplayer action set as its focus, Evolve surprised us earlier this month by introducing a single-player campaign mode where you can switch between mercenaries.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Kalimba
Release date: Out Now

Persona 5
Release date: 12/31/14

Motorcycle Club
Release date: 01/01/15

Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk
Release date: 01/14/15


LATEST FEATURES Downloadable Content Walks the Line Between Fun and Frenzied in Middle-earth
I don’t even care all that much for the Lords of the Rings brand, which makes the content falling under Shadow of Mordor’s Season Pass a pleasant surprise.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters for Gamers
If this awful trend is going to persist, you may as well do it your way.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Black Friday 2014 Video Game Deals Buyer's Guide
Looking to score the most bang for your buck the day after Thanksgiving? Well look no further! Our Black Friday guide is just the tool you need.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP KevinS
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Age of Wonders 2 Review

Duke_Ferris By:
Duke_Ferris
07/01/02
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Strategy 
PLAYERS 1- 8 
PUBLISHER Gathering of Developers 
DEVELOPER  
RELEASE DATE Out Now
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

I need a hero!

Fans of turn-based strategy games are thoughtful, mellow people. They'd rather play chess than Quake any day of the week. They're patient, too, not just because they have to wait in between turns, but because they have to wait long periods for the very few games that come out in the genre.

Fortunately, they've had years of regular installments of the excellent Heroes of Might and Magic series. And a couple of years ago, they also got a surprise from Gathering of Developers, a Heroes clone called Age of Wonders. Age of Wonders II is now here, and while it has lots and lots of material, it still fails to be more than a Heroes clone.

The Age of Wonders has ended (this is the plot, not an editorial comment) and the world has plummeted into chaos. You are the wizard Merlin, no relation to the guy from Camelot. You must learn the 7 spheres of magic and unite the lands by... well... killing everyone who stands in your way.

As a wizard, you'll seldom go out and conquer anything yourself. It's much safer to stay in your wizard's tower and cast spells from a distance while your heroes and troops go out and do the bloody work for you. Each turn you can move your little men around, cast a spell if you have the mana, and check on the production at your cities. Then the other players, people or computers take their turns. Pretty simple.

Actually, pretty complicated. A clumsy interface makes many of your tasks harder rather than easier. You must read through a list of events every turn, sort of a daily news. But if you take action on any of the news items, it doesn't give you the next one and you lose your place. Not too hard to go back, but frustrating when it happens every single turn.

There are lots of little frustrating bits like this, but the worst one involves troop movement. If you have set one of your little troops along a long trail and you use the "next troop" button to go through your men (and you can have quite a lot of them), they will automatically move, even if you've changed your mind or an enemy has changed locations. If you don't want them to move without your say so, you have to hunt them down on the large overhead map and select them individually.

Things get more complicated because of the sheer amount of stuff. This, however, is a good thing for the dedicated strategy gamer. There must be over 100 spells to learn as the game progresses. When you take over a town (like in Heroes of Might and Magic), it belongs to a particular race that determines the types of armies it can produce. There are 12 different races, each with about 8 different units. Add to that another 20 or so creatures that you can summon, and that's a whole hell of a lot of stuff.

To top it off, each unit has attributes for attack, defense, hit points, morale, resistance, size, level, experience, movement, alignment, type, and even gender. Now tack on some special abilities like climb walls, night vision, concealment, poison strike, and about 100 more. You could spend years learning all the stuff in this game, which is great for the hardcore gamer, but will make more casual players punch their screens in frustration.

Hopefully they won't break their screens, though, because the graphics are pretty good. Everything is nicely detailed and well animated. Sure, it's not a 3D marvel, but it's not supposed to be. You can still play Age of Wonders II on your grandmother's old pc.

Sound, on the other hand, is pretty bland. Your little men grunt the same way every time and combat noises are identical. The music is uninspired, a limp orchestral score performed by synthesizer. It won't offend you, but you'll be turning it off before too long.

Once the music is off, though, you'll be able to play for nearly the rest of your life. Aside from the long campaign, Age of Wonders II comes with very robust multiplayer options. Because it's a turn based game, you can even play by e-mail. 56k modem users unite!

To extend the gameplay infinitely, just check out the powerful editor included with the game. More than just a map editor, you can create new items, heroes and even new wizards.

But unfortunately, Age of Wonders II turns out not to be a wonder at all. It's bland food that is only slightly improved by the huge portions. For starving fans of the genre, there's plenty to eat here, but the rest of you should save your money for a spicier meal.

B- Revolution report card
  • Lots and lots of stuff
  • Nice graphics
  • Good multiplayer
  • Editor included
  • Nearly endless gaming
  • But who wants to play that long?
  • Bad interface
  • Confusing and frustrating
  • A poor man's
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Age of Wonders 2