With all the talk of next generation consoles it’s somewhat ironic that the most graphically impressive new game is actually PC real-time strategy title Age of Empires III. The last game in the series was a rather clinical looking 2D isometric game but this new iteration features some of the most complex, organic looking 3D graphics ever seen on any system. Thankfully the gameplay appears just as developed as you take control of a civilisation from around the time that Age of Empires II left off in the 16th century and continues up to 1850, as you battle to take control of the New World. Gameplay is actually split between the Americas though and your home city back in Europe, which you must also maintain and upgrade in order to keep the populace happy. The most exciting element though is undoubtedly the new combat system, where the dull and mechanical "tank rushes" of the previous games have been replaced with stunning looking battles of gunpowder and sword blades as you fight angry natives and rival colonisers. As is demanded of any PC game nowadays there’s also a cool sounding multiplayer mode, with the eight different civilizations you can control allowing for a large variety of different play styles. That’s if you can actually gather your wits enough to form a strategy and stop ogling the frankly incredible looking graphics. -- Harrison DentThis preview is based on an incomplete version of the game; features or problems mentioned above may not appear in the finished game.
- Start out playing as the British and begin with a solid economy, or lead the French into an easy alliance with Native Americans - 8 total civilizations to choose from
- Work with Native Americans to your tactical advantage, for the first time ever
- Develop your own Home City, and customize it make it wealthier and more powerful as you take over Europe
- Explore the New World and create colonies while seeking out new resources and making allianes with the Native Americans
- Recover buried treasure from the Caribbean, hunt bison on the Great Plains, compete for trade routes and fortify the coast of New England