Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
Buy On
  1. 88
    The unit design and the range of opportunities in both the single player and multiplayer missions will definitely get your strategic juices flowing.
  2. Those looking for a complex and interesting real-time strategy game with fantastic good looks and some historical flavor will find just what they want in Age of Empires III.
  3. Game Informer
    Hopefully Ensemble will focus a little more on substance than style with its next game. [Dec 2005, p.184]
  4. There are so many new additions in this game that it will boggle your mind. This is one of the best looking games, much less an RTS game, that is out on the market currently.
  5. The new additions do much to add new depths of strategy.
  6. 100
    An absolutely fantastic title with superb graphics and tight gameplay. Single-player or multiplayer, no matter what your skill, you'll get hours of joy out of this sucker online or off.
  7. Even with the new home cities, gameplay feels tired and characterless. Bombarding players with shiny baubles and inconsequential gifts can’t hide that.
  8. The steps it has taken in the gameplay department since Age of Empires II are negligible, but at least the new card-based bonus system adds an element of customization and depth to the genre. This result is as detailed as a history book, and about as much fun.
  9. 80
    Ultimately, AOE III has clearly won the battle for graphical supremacy, but for all its improvements elsewhere, it has yet to win the war for RTS dominance.
  10. 70
    Age of Empires III takes the conservative approach to the conundrum of how to craft a new experience that remains faithful to the original. While that ensures fans will immediately feel at home with an old friend, it's questionable whether it sets another standard, or merely follows its own.
  11. There's no question that Age of Empires III is enjoyable, and the strong multiplayer modes make it worth owning. It's just that it doesn’t strive hard enough to truly usher in a new age of the genre.
  12. A phenomenally awesome RTS, and stays true to all the games before it.
  13. The additions to the game don’t alter the basic strategy that much. So while this is a solid RTS title, it certainly isn’t breaking any new ground.
  14. It’s a little difficult to call a game like AOE3 dated because so much work has been done on the graphics and interface, but under the hood (with the exception of the home city concept) AOE3 is all "AOE2."
  15. PC Gamer
    Balanced, innovative, gorgeous. Truly worthy of the series. [Holiday 2005, p.52]
  16. 80
    Top it all off with a delicious graphics engine and you’ve got an Age of Empires game for modern machines that sports daring new design ideas for the modern strategy gamer.
  17. In the end, Age of Empires III truly feels like a continuation of the 1999 classic. If that's good enough for you, then you'll definitely want to check it out.
  18. Classic real-time strategy action in a beautiful new wrapper.
  19. Pelit (Finland)
    Age of Empires 3 does not let you down. The game is as polished as it can get. Great for people who love multiplayer matches. [Dec 2005]
  20. 70
    Age of Empires III would be a damn fine RTS if it came out five years ago. Instead, it's some impressive modern technology and bold gameplay ideas unfortunately saddled by an outdated take on the genre.
  21. I was hoping for a revolution, but instead, I found an excellent evolution.
  22. 80
    There’s certainly enough depth to be found for RTS fans, but once again, it falls a tad sort of our expectations.
  23. The single-player stoy mode takes in three generations of the Black family over a number of missions, and once that challenge has been reached there's plenty of Multiplayer action to be had.
  24. Computer Games Magazine
    The kind of design innovation that could make this game great, yet ends up demonstrating the game's schizophrenia. [Jan 2006, p.56]
  25. Eventually even the most diehard series zealots are going to begin to ask themselves why they are still in the same place playing the same game they were playing nearly a decade ago. While the genre has grown, the series that helped to spearhead games of this type into the public eye has stayed disturbingly static.
  26. With 24 campaign missions and endless replaying online, unless you have an aversion to RTS games you’ll want to give it a try.
  27. It manages to avoid complete failure with the marvelous card decks, but pales compared to modern strategy titles.
  28. There are hours and hours of RTS fun to be had in Age of Empires III, but the problem is that we’ve all come to expect more over the years from our real time strategy games, and you can’t hide a lack of progress with shiny graphics and lovely physics-related cannon exploits.
  29. At its core Age of Empires III is basically like any other RTS.
  30. A game with great potential that sadly hasn't been fully developed. No matter how much you may like certain aspects of it, the fact that the retail code feels so incomplete and technically lacking is inexcusable.
  31. It's surely the best-looking traditional real time strategy game out there at the moment, and more importantly it's a real blast to play. Boom! [PC Zone]
  32. Gorgeous to look at and wonderfully well made, but it's not a revolution. [PC Gamer UK]
  33. PC Format
    Hardcore RTS fans are well catered for. Casual players should look elsewhere. [Christmas 2005, p.98]
  34. While AoE III fails to bring a great deal of new content, it does a great job of summing up the last couple years of strategy and combining it with the look and feel of the RTS titles of yesteryear.
  35. netjak
    The home city concept adds a new twist, making the game slightly more interested than it had been before.
  36. The game meets the bar set by previous games in the series though it doesn’t really revolutionize the genre.
  37. 83
    It is a finely constructed, accessible real-time strategy game with a brilliant soundtrack, tactical warfare with intricacies too long winded to go into here and highly addictive gameplay.
  38. Combining solid game play, stellar physics, and some of the most vibrant graphics available on the PC, Age of Empires III is the alpha male of the RTS pack.
  39. There’s some good gaming here for people new to the franchise, but some parts will feel old to experienced AOE vets.
  40. This game is pure, unadulterated fun.
  41. Unfortunately, the emphasis on economic management and the lack of precise unit control means combat lacks finesse. Like real-time strategy games of old, the best tactic is usually to simply amass a huge force and crudely rush at overwhelmed opponents.
  42. Delightful, disappointing, and frustrating.
  43. There is nothing terribly new or original here, but this still offers a very solid RTS experience.
  44. 70
    The single player campaign is very playable, very enjoyable, and also very long.
  45. In short, AoE III is yet another masterly triumph.
  46. 85
    It has all the addictiveness of the earlier titles, but probably less replay value since there are more interesting and creative RTSs out there.
  47. An RTS that does feel a little dated bar a few bells and whistles, although the fans of the series will likely feel right at home.
  48. Technically splendid, but lacks the soul and the focus that made its previous games such powerful experiences.
  49. A nice update to the series. But especially with the way other historical RTS games have advanced the genre, I was expecting more innovation from the game (and developer) that started it all.
  50. All in all, Age of Empires 3 is a top-notch game. Not too hard on the specs either, it’ll let you away with 256mb of ram and a 1.4ghz processor (ugly but perfectly playable).
  51. Fans of the first two should pick it up for sure, and other RTS fans would be smart to do the same.
  52. The gameplay of the title is the core strength, and getting through the single player campaign will suck you in for uncountable hours into the night.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 565 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 565
  1. Jul 8, 2012
    AOE 3 was a disappointment. It's predecessor was a brilliant, fun strategy game. There were lots of unique civs to pick, historic campaigns toAOE 3 was a disappointment. It's predecessor was a brilliant, fun strategy game. There were lots of unique civs to pick, historic campaigns to play, and a simple, easy, but flexible map editor. AOE 3 has only a handful of civs, and you have to buy the expansion pack to use any native american civs. There are 3 long campaigns each with 5 minute missions in the place of a ton of short campaigns and a few individual missions. The first campaign was just silly. Magic. No kidding, magic. In the first campaign you have to find the fountain of youth and destroy it to keep a secret organization from using it's powers for evil or something. It sounds like some sort of bad sci fi. Another thing that irritated me when I played was that everything is so... big. The inability to zoom out combined with the fact that every soldier in my army is half an inch tall means that there is very little room on the screen. Not only that, but the maps are very small too. I found myself quickly running out of room to build, and, when I just started and was playing on the easier levels, found myself accidentally destroying an enemy because my guards went rouge. That's another problem. AOE 1 had that command list where you could pick formations, and set units to patrol, guard, escort, or just not attack anything. That's all gone in AOE III. If you want to guard your base with troops, you have to constantly pull them back to keep them from following a trail of retreating enemies back to their home base. In this version, instead of just reducing troop training time, troops train in squads up to 5. Personally, I have no objection to this change though, it saved me one time because I had to train soldiers while under attack, and if they had been coming out 1 by 1 they'd have been slaughtered. And then there's the realism. I'm sorry, but if your unprotected fleeing screaming villager can take over 15 BULLETS TO KILL, there is something seriously wrong. Bullets are incredibly underpowered in this game. Even after buying a special upgrade that gives me massive bonus damage versus villagers, it still took way more bullets than it realistically should have. A game where bow and arrow > gun is one where the laws or reality are warped. There are 2 things in AOE III that keep me from giving it a 2 or 3. The first one is the home city option. Though it isn't exactly "Age of Empires" style, it did a nice job of motivating me to keep playing. After all, I can't just stop with a level 9 home city, I have to go to 10. And after that, why not 15? or 50? Another thing that was fairly well done was the graphics. I don't mean the troops. They all look like a mess of colored triangles. And the buildings just look like buildings. Nice, but nothing to write home about. I'm referring to the thrill I get from positioning 16 cannons in a circle around his town center and firing, watching pieces of it fly 50 feet into the air and land in a shattered heap on top of the mess that used to be a colony. The physics in the game, though also somewhat unrealistic, (Houses appear to weigh nothing, a 20 foot long chunk that must weigh at least 1 ton can be blasted straight up into the air and come back down as if it were a lego brick) are very fun and visually interesting. All in all, this is an okay game, but if you are expecting Age of Empires III, you won't get it. This is just another rts. Full Review »
  2. Yablo
    Jan 9, 2006
    I love thise game... no more wasting time on making buildings to get resources in faster. The cards add great new demension to the strategy I love thise game... no more wasting time on making buildings to get resources in faster. The cards add great new demension to the strategy of the game. The only thing that needs to be worked on is the hit points of buildings.. they go down a bit fast. Full Review »
  3. MorganC.
    Jan 3, 2006
    A solid game. A little repetitive, but well worth your money.