Age of Wonders III
I set my sights on Age Of Wonders 3, the latest release in Triumph Studio’s Age Of Wonders series. After months of pining for a new strategy game, I thought I would throw myself in at the deep-end and get my hands on this colossus.
I knew of the series, and knew it had a pretty big following, but somehow it passed me by in the blur of games I have played over the years. After playing the game for a good few hours, I came to the conclusion that I have been missing out, that I was falling in love with what I find to be a very intriguing, creative and cleverly elaborate game.
As with many good strategy based games, Age Of Wonders 3 boasts a range of different game modes that you can sink your teeth into, which can be modified to suit particular tastes;
Campaign: Two separate campaign routes to choose from, each with a tantalising plot to follow.
Scenarios: Varying in size, objective and location.
Random Map: Possibly the strategy enthusiasts favourite; play it your way.
Online Multiplayer: Test your strategic skills against friends and people from around the globe!
Age Of Wonders 3 is a turn based strategy game based on a hexagonal grid movement system. Each unit has a movement point limit per turn, so you must pick your moves carefully. Units, research and buildings also take turns to produce. Objectives and tasks are displayed on the right hand side of the screen each turn, allowing for easy management and direction.
Combat is particularly interesting. When you choose to engage with an enemy, you get the choice of “auto combat” or “manual combat”. Auto combat will conclude the battle instantly, whereas manual combat takes you into a new mode, where you tactically guide each of your men into battle.
The game has a heavy focus on collecting resources and exploring. Exploring feels rewarding and dangerous, which is exactly what you would expect from an exotic fantasy world filled with magic, monsters and treasure. You can befriend the likes of fairies and other fabled creatures, who will provide you with quests that grant rewards.
Doing nice things for the little factions you come across, can lead to them joining your kingdom and allowing you to take control of their base. You can form an army of unicorns. Yes.
I need a Hero
We all love creating our own hero, one who is destined to lead our armies to victory and leave our opponents without a paddle.
Age of Wonders 3 sees the player take on the role as Political Military Leader. Character creation mode allows you to select from a variety of races, classes and skills to form your own hero. The customisation options are plentiful, I was particularly delighted to be able to pick from a set of clothing, and dabble with the colours of it, as well as pick the scene my hero was standing in.
I spent quite some time pressing the “randomise look” button and was impressed with the range of appearances. I feel it is important to allow LOTS of customisation options to a character, as it makes us gamers feel like the character is our own special badass angel warrior (or something of the sort).The need for this is certainly sated.
You hero will level up as you play through the game, and can be equipped with armor, weapons and magical items and gain skills and abilities. Interestingly your hero also has an alignment. It can swing either way, you can have mercy on a petty group of bandits and let them flee, or you can have no mercy and kill them where they stand. Good or evil? The choice is yours.
Variety of modes
Tactical, precise gameplay
Heroes, everything about them
Daunting to new players
I hope that other newcomers to the series will brave up and give this game a try. Delivering huge fantasy and strategy hits that are sometimes hard to find in other games, Age of Wonders 3 is definitely a Triumph.