By Matthew Bitz
Just recently I picked up a copy of Age of Empires 2 from Microsoft and it has turned out to be one of the best games that I have played in along time. Age of Empires 2 is a lot like many other games out there, it is a classic real-time strategy that is sure to delight just about anyone that likes to play on a computer, whether a serious gamer or someone who is content to play now and then, this offers solid game play at a reasonable price.
Age of Empires 2 uses the classic formula for real time strategy; you build up your kingdom and armies, research technologies, and attempt to conquer the enemy. In fact, there is not a whole lot about this game that is terribly new or inventive, what this is all about is taking a classic formula of game play and all the desirable aspects of many other RST's and putting it together into one streamlined, easily playable game.
As with any game worth its salt, Age of Empires offers a variety of styles of game play, take on the computer, compete with friends over a modem or in large, online competitions. I also find that Age of Empires has successfully done away with much of the annoying micromanagement that gave endless gamers headaches. No more will we have to constantly scan the screen for minute details but instead devote more time to strategy and developing an empire. The AI is acceptable, too, although with so many units moving at a time some always seemed to get turned around the wrong way, but it is reasonably infrequent. Perhaps the most redeeming quality about this game is that it has done away with loyalty of units, never again will I be forced to watch as all of my peasants leave because I failed to give them a bonus or commendations.
All in all, this seems to me to be one of the more solid and reliable releases to have hit the market within recent months, and if you are looking for something new or a game that offers fun dependable game play, then Age of Empires 2 is a sure bet.