Reviews for Age of Wonders in Strategy for PC-Personal Computer ( PC ) :
Have you ever gone to one of those Chinese buffet places? You know, all the food is sitting on a couple of long tables, and you pick and choose what you like for your plate? Youre guaranteed to get a little bit of everything that you like. Well thats the kind of mentality that was used to program Age of Wonders. This is not a bad thing.
I use the buffet analogy because it fits perfectly to describe this game. The best parts of previous games have been thrown in here. Unit stacking of Warlords, combat and hero management similar to Heroes of Might and Magic, dimplomacy and global magic system similar to master of Magic. Even the story is somewhat of a ripoff of Tolkein.
But whats wrong with that? So what that nothing is original. How many times have we sat around saying," You know if I could take this from game A and combine it with game Bs graphics, and add the music from C, Id have one hell of a game!" Not only has Age of Wonders done this, it has managed to combine all of these elements without losing any of the quality of these particular elements. The magic system, for example, is as in depth as Master of Magic, but with updated graphics. Nice!!
If youre a purist, fine. Dont get ths game. But if youre like me, the average Joe who cant afford to buy all the original games mentioned above, then Age of Wonders was made just for you. Especially now (note the date of this review) that it can be purchased at a bargain bin price. THis game is a real value for the hours upon hours of entertainment it will give back.
Age of Wonders: Its like buying a "Greatest Hits" album from your record store! Its like getting the cliff notes for your favorite fantasy games! Its like......never mind the analogies, its a very, very good game.
The storyline takes place in the Valley of the Wonders. The leader of the Elven Court, wizard-king Inioch, has been killed. His court was destroyed in the Valley of Wonders by an uninvited race known as the Humans. Two factions were then made among the elves, the Keepers and the Cult of Storms. Meandor, Iniochs son who was left for dead, lead the Cult of Storms. The Cult of Storms believes in restoring the elven court in a hostile and warlike way. Julia, the youngest daughter of Inioch, leads the Keepers. They believe in keeping peace and restoring the elven court, accepting the humans.
After watching a movie with horrible narration, I was introduced to a nice title screen with gorgeous art. Selecting a scenario, I decided to choose a scenario. Being slammed in the face with 12 races you could use, I was
amazed. Boy was I wrong. Age of Wonders is a good game I will admit that, but this isnt enough for myself to play this game over and over. Each of these 12 races has practically the same units together. For example, each race has at least one swordsman, one battering ram, one archer, one guy on a creature (frog or horse) and one priest. When you reach the later units, then the game gets different. Selecting my race, I began editing my leader, choosing a face then tweaking his/her stats. Now the great thing I like about Age of Wonders is how turns can be used. You can use the classic your turn to move gameplay, or you can make each race all start moving at the same time for a bit quick pace. But being the way I am with the past on other turn-based games, I started with a classic. My "hero" was displayed with a crown, representing myself in the game. If my character dies, then I lose the game. I decided to split my party apart to gather resources, such as mines, mills and farms. I went into my town with bad interface and start producing units even though I had to wait 2 turns in order to do so. After everything was completed, I ended my turn. Waited, then started again.
The game doesnt really involve much combat; most of the game is just exploring the map. With the not-so-great interface, sometimes I even forget where my own characters are such as in the caverns or depths. One of the main flaws in this is unbalanced units. If for example, you have one powerful character, he/she could usually can take care of a whole lot of enemies. For example, an orc warlord, one powerful guy. Now take 8 elven swordsmen. In realistic sane conditions, that one orc warlord doesnt stand a chance. Wrong, not in Age of Wonders. I lost 8 swordsmen again an orc warlord and only got rid of half of the warlords health.
But there are good things about Age of Wonders. One is how the spell system works. You research spells, gain them into your character and heroes. You can cast spells such as deathray, or enhance creatures weapons, and perhaps even make some spells to affect the world map such as a flood. There is about over 100 spells ran from 6 spheres of magic. Such as life, death, fire, etc. If you select one sphere, you may not select the opposite of it. For example, you cant have a death and life sphere within a hero. The more spheres you have on one element, the more powerful spells you can get. My next favorite feature is the character system. You can make your character a master of many skills or a one-man army when you get a level up. Such as selecting to add stats or add a skill to the character, carving him/her to your image.
Campaign was pretty good; you choose what races live, and go through a map. But my only problem was some of the stupidity put in. For example, I saved the halflings once, after a few missions I am killing the halfling lord. Does this make sense? Multiplayer was a complete drag in this, half the time the game would just freeze and the game would take a long time to start up. One of the cool things, even though somewhat very slow, is you can play-by-email also. Scenarios were also very well done with very creative background story
Graphics are both good and bad in this game. The good is the art they did and some of the special effects are a masterpiece. The bad is the graphics tend to be a repeat (like spells except a different color) and performance isnt always a good thing. The artwork is great when the movie was playing to the scrolling artwork on the title screen. It gave a lot of that Tolkiens "Lord of the rings" feel. Each unit has its own look and easily identifiable. The spells are something that seemed the developers didnt really give a damn about this. It looks very good when using it, but its all the same over and over in each spell except with a new color. Each spell in graphics is by particles, or at least most of them I used to kill my opponents. It looks very good, but I was hoping for something different from a death ray and a solar flare then just a different color. Despite these flaws, the graphics are really good and sweet eye candy to art lovers
This is probably one of the sickest things I heard when it comes to music. They were some good music that suited the game, and while others I would turn off my speakers. Most of the music was annoying and a bit unclear. Good music does exist in this game, but not enough to enjoy the game anymore. Sounds FX were very much recycled throughout the game. You hav
e the same footstep noises for the every unit that doesnt involve horses or flying. When you hit an enemy unit, they have this out-of-place Saturday morning cartoon sound I hear all the time. No real unique sounds used here.