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Asian Dynasties Demo

October 5th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 4 Comments · Big Huge Games, RTS

You can get the demo of Age of Empire s III: Asian Dynasties over here. It has a single campaign mission and one new Civ, the Japanese.

The Japanese will pose some interesting problems for Age players. First, no hunting allowed. Animals are used to increase the productive output of shrines instead. Build a shrine near a herd and watch them graze peacefully. So you could, theoretically, slow your Japanese enemy by just killing all the animals in his/her territory. The Japanese have lots of other food possibilities, though. Shrines can be used to create a trickle of any resource and rice paddies can be used to produce food or coin. Rickshaws sent from the Home City can spawn cherry orchards, a durable supply of fruity goodness.

Second, the daimyo unit can build soldiers wherever he is, making him a prime target for elimination. I like the idea of a single unit spawning an army out of nowhere; it will be fun to sneak a daimyo behind enemy lines and then hit him/her with seven samurai.

The consulate, a new building for all the Asian nations, allows for some more familiar units to enter the fray. You choose an ally and get some of their units in exchange for “exports”, a new resource that only the Asians get to collect. Naturally, you can upgrade your export exchange rate or switch allies for a price. As you age up you get access to better foreign aid.

I’m sort of disappointed that they led with the Japanese. Sure, the idea of ninjas running around killing everything sounds sweet, but Ming China and Mughal India are just more interesting to me. I guess I’ll have to wait a few weeks to get my elephants.


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Natus

    I don’t know what is wrong with me, but after an initial bout of elation following the announcement of Asian Dynasties + BHG Games, after a few clashes with the demo it’s all starting to seriously feel like More of the Same. You get more different units, more buildings, and more techs, but it just means more running around. Instead of AoK’s simplistic but comparatively elegant rock-paper-scissors unit system, now I barely now what counters what. After playing my Japanese, I miss my poor Russian strelets, let me tell you!

    You know, I think Tom Chick had it right all along. Right out of the gate with AoE3, he was extremely annoyed about Ensemble’s interface issues, and that in this day and age we were still chasing errant peasants down and re-tasking them. And not much has changed, even though Tom has obviously gotten more enthusiastic about the expansions. Though the Age games are among my favorites, I find that I just get weary playing AoE3 now, not because I’m bored but because I’m trying to control my soldiers and farmers and animals and whatnot. Oh, for Kohan and DoW and RoN!

    I’m sorry to see that the genius of BHG didn’t rub off more on this latest incarnation. The demo of Asian Dynasties makes me want to go play vanilla AoE3, or even AoM, or even AoK. I hope my initial impressions are way off.

  • Troy

    It’s hard to make a full judgment on the Asian Dynasties pack without the full version or full documentation, but I agree with Tom that the game has gotten much better with the expansions.

    Your points on the peasant wrangling and sheep herding are right on, and it’s certainly true that the more “differences” you add, the harder it becomes to track the rock/paper/scissors relationships without reading all the too-small text in a too-small window.

    But Warchiefs was an excellent expansion because the differences were expanded to make two of the three new civs play not as tribes that have particular weaknesses, but as tribes with exaggerated strengths. The fire pit added even more calculation about peasant management, but not in an inconvenient way.

  • Natus

    Troy, I agree with you all the way down the line. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe fatherhood has put a crimp into my peasant wrangling schedule. When the game throws what I consider too much at me, I get fatigued. Even RoL had this issue, at least with the Alin. And the more I play games without 2,000 peasants, the more I resent those that still do.

    I think your assertion about Warchiefs is very interesting and I never thought about it that way, maybe because I played so little of the Indian civs. And I do like the Fire Pit, but couldn’t stand the Saloon.

  • Troy

    We agree on the Saloon thing. It’s a great building if you have a lot of gold or need powerful units in a hurry, but if you end up using it a lot you are probably in trouble.

    Still, it has ninjas.