This review has been cut in half (or more) so as to fit in the miserable 5k characters limit that metacritic impose and to combat theThis review has been cut in half (or more) so as to fit in the miserable 5k characters limit that metacritic impose and to combat the inflation of said character count. Check out MUH tumblr to see the full thing. [the name is GEMSimov]
Hello everyone, I am the doubly wonderful Gordoth Enodious, a super gamer who has no bias, and I’m talking about Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne.
Simple review details - I rank games on an out of 10 basis, granting up to 3 points in 3 categories, as well as a last, single point from my own self, depending on my experience with it. Also, I am a gameplay designer and a writer so I got the credentials to talk.
Age of Wonders II is, much like Age of Wonders I, a turn based strategy game that also incorporates RPG elements. As one can expect from a direct sequel, the game has retained many features it had before, but it has also gained quite a few new ones, or has undergone some dramatic changes.
The fact of the matter is, however, that magic has been expanded. As some might remember from the review of Age of Wonders I, that was something I leveled critique upon - the magic system, although interesting, felt as if it was lacking something. Alas, the changes made have not added a value to mana, other than for casting spells, but now it can also be used as a means of upkeep for some units, which makes it somewhat more impactful.
The wizard is a new entry into the game, a new unit, if one will, that is pseudo-immortal, and the player loses the game if that unit actually dies. It gets revived, after being killed, at any friendly town that has a specific building constructed. If there are no such towns with that kind of building in the domain of the player, the player loses.
The wizard also has a field of influence, which is the range of all the spells that can be cast by said wizard on the world-map and the area in which some persistent spells take effect. That field of influence can be expanded by having the wizard simply stand still in the middle of a town that has a certain building, capturing a certain world-map object, or having a hero waltz about.
As mentioned, there are now buildings. More buildings than just walls and upgrades that allow the recruitment of units. Now, there are values like production, growth and population, which makes the game a tad more intricate than before, although management of those things is left to whether or not the player is building things and how many turns have passed.
The good news are that any town can produce any level of units, as long as said town has the required building. The bad news are that the process of building up a town has been massively slowed down, due to the presence of production. Having low production, which could mean not having built the appropriate buildings to increase it, means that the speed at which the player will complete the building, or unit, is vastly lowered.
The added complexity is, actually, a welcome addition, even though it is hard to manage and hard to find information on, due to the fact that population has always been some invisible stat that I could not find, even though I looked for it. I find that the added bonus of having a semblance of city management in a game that is about building up an empire is always a good implementation.
Some changes I like, others I did not truly appreciate. The fact of the matter is that manual resolution of combat has been made even slower and more tedious than before. The AI has improved, somewhat, but there is still a lot to be desired. Overall, the gameplay was a bit more interesting than the previous game. 2/3
Age of Wonders II takes what Age of Wonders I had and makes it look better. Alas, it also loses out on some other things. The music of this game was a lot less memorable than the music of Age of Wonders I, which is quite impressive, as I felt that the music from the first game was passable, not great. The sound effects have also changed a bit, and I can’t truly find the comedic nature they had in Age of Wonders I. The voice acting, what little there is, is sometimes bad, sometimes simply alright, which is saddening. However, overall, the presentation of Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne is good enough. 2/3
While Age of Wonders I had a spectacular story that seemed to do almost everything right, Age of Wonders II fails at achieving that. The second game takes place an indeterminate amount of time after the first game, with a human king fleeing with his people from some disaster. It never becomes clear where, exactly, he comes from, nor does it become clear where the locations visited in the game are in relation to the map from the first game.
The story has gone down in quality, and, although I enjoyed it, it was not as good as the story in the first game. 2/3
No, doesn't get it.
6/10. Slightly above average, recommended for strategy game players.… Expand