Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs
Last year November we could have fun with Age of Empires III. Although the game became a huge success, a lot of the hardcore fans missed “something”. Lets see whether The Warchiefs, the first expansion, can fill up that place in our heart.
As the title suggests, the expansion is all about the original inhabitants of the American continent – also known as Indians. Three new tribes were added: the Sioux (or Lakota Indians), the Irokese and the Aztecs. Next to that also a couple of new help cards were added and of course a fresh load of battlefields.
The storyline continues where it stopped: with the Black family. In the original they took care of the colonization of the new world. This time the descendants go to battle side by side with George Washington to make America one. The campaign is divided in two acts, whereby the second one is clearly the best. Not that the story (if you can call it that) is better, but the first act just doesn’t pose a threat. The second part on the other hand is a lot more challenging and has a more varied level buildup.
The three new tribes differ strong from the European countries and add some new spice to the game. Next to the usual visual differences they have also some changes in gameplay. The biggest new feature is without a doubt the fire pit, where you have your villagers dancing around to get bonusses. These go from a combat bonus to extra experience or even training healers for your troops. The alternative windmill, or banana plantation, now also serves as feeding place for your sheep and bisons. The Indian societies differ even more between themselves as the Sioux for instance have a focus on horses while the Aztecs quite literally lack these.
Don’t think that this is all though, as the big boomers amongst yourselves (you know, those players you never hear of the first hour) may be in for a scare when the enemy suddenly declares economic victory because it’s got most of the trade posts in their hands. Of what did you think of a revolution? Plebs are added which immensely expand your army, but leaving you without villagers. If your attack doesn’t succeed, the chance is quite big that the enemy will kill you before you’re recuperated. A blade with two sides…
The game still delivers top quality graphics and I didn’t get the impression a lot had changed on the engine. Most change comes from the new, unique style of the Indian buildings and some colorful surroundings. The biggest problems are still the dialogues and The Warchiefs also had some problems with pathfinding of certain units.
About all aspects of Age of Empires III get improved with this expansion. The new possibilities will make experienced players have to think of new strategies and if you’re not such a multiplayer freak, the storyline will keep you busy for some time eventhough most fun is found in the skirmish mode. In short: the same but better.