Age of Empires 1 and 2 were incredible games with great graphics and gameplay. Age of Mythology takes that engine, beefs up the graphics again and adds in populus-like god power!
First, I have to admit that I am a huge Age of Empires fan. I asked everybody around me to play with me, and played it solo just about every chance I could get. I thought the graphics and gameplay and customization were just great.
I'm also a populus player from way back, and have eagerly played each release of Populus and Black & White. I enjoy the god-games very much.
So Age of Mythology was just about the perfect game that I could ask for! How did it meet my expectations?
First, gameplay is just like in Age of Empires. These guys have made a number of games in the Age of Empires series and have received feedback on each set of changes they made. At this point the interface and training are WELL honed and very easy to use. The tutorial helps guide you quickly and easily through learning the system.
The graphics are simply amazing. The gorgeous intro video is classic. The in-game graphics are great - just watch those waves lap up on the beach! It's a true pleasure to play.
The sounds are well matched to each culture you play, with the characters speaking in the appropriate language for 'background chatter' and ambient noises coming in. It's not intended to be fully immersive like Myst 3 - this is a strategy game, not a RPG. But they do a good job with the sounds.
The cultures you choose from are Egyptian, Greek, and Norse. In each culture you have appropriate buildings and troops, plus the gods to choose from. At each stage in development you choose a new additional god to pray to which gives you access to new powers. Some of the powers are pretty amazing!
Multiplayer, as always, shines in this game. You can create maps with all the terrain types, devise your own battle situations, play on line against thousands of other Age of Empire enthusiasts. The gameplay that comes with the game is just the start - on line multiplay is where you really test out your strategic thinking.
My complaint with the game is that it's too limited in the cultures and gods you get. They have an incredible engine that has been developed over the years, and it shines - but you only get 3 cultures. And those three cultures have very few gods. The 'cheat sheets' that come with the game make it seem like you have a lot of gods and a lot of combinations, but look more closely - it's just the same gods listed in three columns.
Undoubtedly their plan is to get people hooked on Age of Mythology, and then slowly dole out new cultures and new gods over time, making us pay for each additional one. If they'd at least started us with five or six cultures that might not have been as bad, but three is sort of flimsy.
Still, I'll be playing this for months, and when those expansions come out, I'll be there to buy them!
We purchased Age of Mythology with our own funds from a gaming store.
Buy Age of Mythology on Amazon.com