If you have been hooked for some time to the ever amazing adventure experience from playing the Age of Empires III, then the new expansion pack of the game will absolutely fill you with utmost excitement. The new expansion pack which don the title Asian Dynasties, adds three new Asian Civilizations, packed with new units and buildings and a campaign that rests on five missions. The new expansion still maintains the amazing unit balance and stunning presentation that the game has been known for. There’s a catch, though. The new Asian Civilizations might be exciting, but it seems to be lacking in drama and variation that fans may have hoped to see in the game.
Asian Dynasties seems to move away from the fictional approach of the campaigns prior to the release of this expansion. Asian Dynasties adapts a more historical approach. Still, the fictional characters found in the campaigns provided the designers a leeway to recount a very unique story within a solid historical background. The Japanese campaign incorporates historical events such as Tokugawa’s efforts in uniting Japan. Given that, you will then be able to witness a mutiny in the Chinese navy as the Treasure Fleet travels from India towards the New World. Finally, the Indian campaign players are given the responsibility of handling a British office, which is in the limelight and will later decide whether to aid India in their independence or not.
Asian Dynasties boasts of charms in the likes of finding and securing beached treasure ships; or elephants gone on a stampede throughout the enemy towns. In general, the missions require players to seize and handle trading posts, ruin town centers of the enemies, and keep your own structures from the attacks of the enemies. Throughout the game, the best missions come moving back and forth between objectives giving players the right to choose on how they tackle each different scenario.
The apparent disappointment though is that there are only a handful of scenarios instead of the wide range that the players probably anticipated. More often than not, an option regarding the path you take towards the enemy base is a choice between “right” and “wrong”. A lot of the missions actually give the players some decision-making in determining the order on how they tackle secondary objectives but in almost all campaigns, this installment feels a little bit more linear than they had been in previous versions.
And for those who are big fans of sea battles, it is sad to note this is another disappointing area, as there is a definite lack of emphasis in the sea battles in the expansion. The Chinese Treasure Fleet and the British East India Company are being featured in the game but even that seems to be a letdown considering the fact that generating war in the seas is not emphasized here.
But can still expect cool units within the Asian armies like the samurai, firework rockets, and howdahs. The developer, Big Huge Games, positively captures the taste of combat very nicely with a very extensive range of colorful units that give out enough significant advantages to encourage the players to have a versatile army.
Indeed, Asian Dynasties is a great addition to the Age of Empires franchise. Besides the features already mentioned, it is packed with exciting combats, and even hints of history that will make fans of the franchise investigate more. Though this may not be as exhilarating as Age of Empires III or as historically grounded as Age of Empires II, it definitely is a great game that keeps in great action.