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Archives  News  Gamespot Explores Age Of Empires III, Reveals Screenshots  

Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Gamespot Explores Age Of Empires III, Reveals Screenshots
8:37 AM | Cord Kruse | 8 comments

Gamespot recently posted a preview of Age of Empires III, Microsoft and Ensemble Studios' latest real time strategy title in the franchise. Spanning over 200 years of history, AoE III moves the timeline up to the colonial era when European nations fought to explore and control the New World. The preview focuses on a variety of changes to the game including the major addition of a home city.

Basically, the home city is the capital of your European empire, and from there you essentially "launch" colonization missions to the New World. However, the home city is much more than that. When you begin a game, you'll find yourself in the familiar position of starting with a handful of settlers and a town center. From there, you have to start gathering resources (wood, food, and gold), begin to explore the map, and construct the many new buildings that you'll need to expand your colony. As you do these things, you'll gain experience points, which accumulate in a circular meter at the bottom of the screen. The more "heroic" the act that you perform, such as having your hero unit defeat a treasure guardian and claim the treasure, the more experience you're awarded. (Oh, yeah, more on the hero a bit later.) When you get enough experience to gain a level, you can click on the meter and it switches you back to the home city. From there, you can select a reward that the home city sends to you for doing such a great job in the New World. These rewards can range from supplies to more settlers, technology, or military units. Then just click on the circular meter again, and you'll switch back to your colony; a little bit later, your reward will arrive on screen, straight from the home city.

Yes, it seems a bit complicated at first, but in no time we figured out the home city feature and were using it in different ways. Early on, it's invaluable to use the home city to send extra resources or settlers that can get your economy going, quickly. But by the middle and late stages of a game, we stockpiled our home city points for when we needed them. So, if we got into a struggle with a rival European power's colony, we simply ordered up a slew of musketeers and hussars (cavalry) to reinforce our forces in a hurry. You can even requisition outposts (which serve like the towers in Age of Empires II), as well as a fort that can be built anywhere you want.

The preview also takes a look at the combat engine and the cutting edge graphics which will require the latest video cards. The PC version of AoE III is scheduled to ship this fall. Although no Mac version has been announced as of yet, the first two Age of Empires made their way to the platform so there is reason for hope.

For the full review and seven new screenshots follow the links below.

Gamespot: Hands On Age Of Empires III
Gamespot: Age Of Empires III Screenshots
Ensemble Studios

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Archives  News  Gamespot Explores Age Of Empires III, Reveals Screenshots