Great installment in the popular battle strategy video game series
While Ensemble has never made poor expansion yet, the approach they have sometimes used piles on lots of content without attempting to throw in new features for the game. Given that we had a lot of wild enthusiasm for Age of Empires III, and the game was a phenomenal new addition to the Age of Empires legacy. Unfortunately, with the greatness becomes a type of staleness where the developers are less willing to take new risks and shake up old formulas.
Warchiefs isn't a bad game, but it gives you this feeling like, "Been there, done that." The first play through was pretty exciting so this didn't even affect the gameplay, but not everyone wants to play a game where they feel like they have played it before. In Warchiefs, the shift of focus changes from the Old World Civilizations over to people who lived in the Americas before the first Europeans set foot in the New World. For example, you can choose to play from three different famous Native American civilizations: the Aztecs, the Iroquois and the Sioux. Each of them enters the gameplay, but all of the civilizations will offer you a different experience on what the game feels like.
Most of the campaign missions give you a chance to fight as a united force with both Native American and European units. Unfortunately, you can only play as the Aztecs if you decide to enter into the multiplayer game mode. If you choose the Iroquois, you can use a variety of the European style units that makes the game feels a little more familiar to past titles. On the other hand, you can select the Sioux who play like the Hun from the Age of Kings. This cavalry-focused civilization has little need for a complicated infrastructure because their mobility is where their strength lies. It becomes something that can almost be a little hard to counter.
Finally, you have the Aztecs, which are the exact opposite of the Sioux because rather than a dependence on quick mounted strikes, the Aztecs make more use out of infantry, and while it can take some time to get started, they have just as effective attacks as the other two civilizations. Each of the American tribes have a distinguished personality from each other, and the Europeans also have a unique play style in the game. Still, you're taking the same resources and the same basic unit types and buildings and the home city concept. Unfortunately, the developers didn't add anything new into the game to require you to think differently, which is where the biggest problem comes from. It'd also be great if they had offered more than just three tribes to choose from like the Incas or the Mayans or the Anasazi.
Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs is an expansion pack for the well-regarded real-time strategy game Age of Empires III. The follow-up to a critically acclaimed predecessor by Microsoft's Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires III added a number of modernizing touches that make the gameplay more accessible. The Warchiefs takes things even further, offering up a number of new playable empires, as well as lots of single-player campaign content.
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
In The Warchiefs, the fundamental gameplay evolves without overhauling the entire game structure. In fact, it is mechanically very similar to Age of Empires III and preserves most of the strategic and tactical systems that entertained players from the beginning. For example, players will notice that copper and tin mines now dot maps along those containing gold and silver, but these are largely cosmetic changes, with no real impact on gameplay itself.
More Exotic and More Interesting
That's not to say that Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs doesn't bring anything new to the table. In fact, it adds three entirely new empires which fill some gaping holes in the original. While the base game does a good job of providing variety in terms of the historic cultures players can lead to victory, it was lacking in the well-known empires of the Americas. The Warchiefs addresses this deficit head-on, letting players become leaders of the Aztec, Sioux, and Iroquois nations, three new options which all have some distinctive units and technologies of their own.
Exploring and exploiting the potential of these civilizations in multiplayer will consume plenty of time for most players, meaning that the expansion represents some pretty solid value. The single-player campaigns that center on these cultures are just as well-designed as those in the base game, too, so even players who lack competitive fire will find plenty to do.
Worth It For Those Who Love the Original
In some ways less ambitious than it might have been, Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs is nonetheless easy to recommend to those who really enjoyed the base game. While it doesn't do anything radical to the original game's mechanics, these minor improvements will please players who were wholly satisfied with that version of the game. Gamers who found the original wanting, however, will likely be unimpressed with this expansion and might want to look elsewhere instead.
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