Age of Wonders III Review
Age of Wonders III Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Triumph Studios
Pub: Triumph Studios
Release: March 31, 2014
Players: 1
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.

Age of Wonders III Screenshot

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.

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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.

By
Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: March 26, 2014

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.4
Graphics
It's nothing groundbreaking or next-gen, but it's brimming with life, and that's exactly what you want in an empire building game.
3.5
Control
Heavy controls and clunky camera adjustments in combat bog down the pace of the game. Navigating the menus and checking cities and units is handled well, though.
4.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Wonderful and varied melodies transport you right to the fantasy world. Combat sound effects are a little static.
4.5
Play Value
The campaigns are lengthy, and customizing your own game adds infinite variety. The combat system needs just a slight bit of tweaking.
4.3
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Delivering a unique mix of Empire Building, Role Playing, and Warfare, offering the ultimate in turn-based fantasy strategy for veterans of the series and new players alike!
  • Explore a rich fantasy world that is more detailed and alive than ever with over 50 location types to raid for treasure. Expand your domain by building new settlements, forge pacts with monstrous allies, and capture valuable resources.
  • Research powerful skills unique to your class to develop your empire and arsenal.
  • Recruit legendary heroes equip them with magical weapons, and let them lead your armies into battle. Crush you enemies using the 3D turn-based Tactical Combat System.
  • Become a master tactician. Crush city defenses. Learn to use flanking and master you army's hundreds of abilities.
  • Create endless scenarios using the random map generator.

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