|Dev: Triumph Studios|
|Pub: Triumph Studios|
|Release: March 31, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Violence, Blood, Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity|
The list of creatures is vast, each sporting various characteristics and skills. Tweaking your groups to gain the upper hand before engaging an opposing legion is endlessly satisfying. My biggest complaint with the combat system, however, is that the attack strength of a unit remains fixed no matter how many hit points they have remaining. Therefore an assassin with one hit point left can strike just as lethally as an assassin with full health. This forces you to work on dispatching units individually in order to avoid a potentially deadly attack, rather than spreading your troops around the battlefield where they may be more useful. Simply adjusting the attack strength based on the health of a unit would completely change the dynamic of combat.
The overworld map is filled with subtle environmental animations that brings the land to life. With translucent clouds whisking across the sky and oceans glistening with waves, the game just begs you to reveal every inch and bask in the beauty. All this action, though subtle, does lag the controls, and I had to trim down my graphics settings just to keep things from getting too heavy. The quality of the character models is not through fine detailing, but instead the style choices, which fits perfectly in a fantasy realm. Dwarves have beards draping down to their toes, and nightmare steeds have manes of fire, just to name a couple of examples.
Dutch musician Michiel van den Bos is responsible for the pleasing orchestrations throughout Age of Wonder III. Each score shifts into different instrumentation with ease, and each new melody is captivating. Paired with the soothing ambient noises of wind whistling through trees and waves crashing against the shore, and you're left with an audibly pleasing experience. The combat sounds are hit and miss though, with some effects not creating the impact that they should.
Eleven years is far too long of a gap for a series of this caliber, though we can set those complaints aside for awhile, as Age of Wonders III has the potential to keep you hooked for a good long time. Whether playing a campaign against the computer or taking on eight other players in a random map, it bears the hallmark only a few empire building games have--the addiction to take "just one more turn". With a half-dozen classes, each with exclusive skills, spells, and units to unlock, as well as countless more denizens to discover, each playthrough is bound to reveal something new and interesting for you to enjoy.
Date: March 26, 2014