Great portable strategy title
Solid strategy game.<br>Tons of options.<br>Limitless replay value.
Limited story and scenario modes.
The Bottom Line:
If you love strategy war games and/or mythology, this is the DS title to get.
"Age of Empires: Mythologies" continues the fine tradition of the classic strategy game series. But this time, we get to use the gods, heroes, and monsters of classic mythology to do battle with on the Nintendo DS. Joy! The game packs in countless hours of gameplay featuring more content then you will ever use and most of the satisfaction of classic strategy series like "Warcraft" and "Civilization"; all in your pocket. It's really amazing how far portable gaming has come from the days of "Tetris". Never thought I'd be balancing resource-gathering, town-building, and research with offensive and defensive ambush strategies and playing multiple worthy AI opponents against each other in a handheld game.
Alrighty then. Egyptian, Nordic, or Greek: pick your favorite. All are here with their own unique line-up of gods, heroes, and combat units, among other things. There is a campaign for each that utilizes all of what each mythology has to offer in a sort of story mode. It's reasonably challenging although I was extremely annoyed at first by the slow build-up before being able to build towns and create the units I wanted to. The game picks your patron god and heroes for you among other things during the campaigns which I did not care for one bit. But if you are new to turn-based strategy wargames like this one, it's a great way to learn. It's also a great way to get points that you can use to unlock tons of new in-game stuff for the real meat of this sort of game: the skirmish mode. There are also scenarios where you are given an army and a certain number of foes to defeat, but I found the mode a bit dull with the lack of customization and too easy to boot. But hey, it's another way to get points to spend.
Skirmish mode needs a new name because in a game like this, it is all-out war. You get to choose a map, choose a culture, choose your hero, your patron god (and the unique powers and units that come with them), and also choose you opponents (up to three) and whether they are all gunning for you or each other as well. This is where the game really gains it's replay value since there are TONS of options. I was disappointed that you couldn't have an AI partner for a little 2-on-2 match, but everyone-against-everyone is the best anyways. There's also multiplayer options which I will never use because a single game takes hours to complete and can go on literally forever if evenly matched strategists are playing each other.
The units at your disposal include everything from winged harpies and giant scarabs to myrmidons and catapults to frost giants and valkyries. There are dozens of unit types with individual strengths and weaknesses and each of the many god or goddesses has their own specialty units as well as other powers to help you. As you build up your civilization's resources, knowledge, and favor you can advance or "age up" to gain new powers from allied gods and stronger unit types for combat. The game is really a race against time to gather your strength and keep your enemies at bay until you can build up a strong enough army to crush them where they live. But with three other armies to contend with, that is a monumental task.
So wanna worship Loki, summon Hela's dragon servant and use battering rams to smash your enemies' buildings while fire giants rain flame upon your foes? Go nuts. How about sending a Nemien lion to absorb your foes' archers' attacks while your chimera hide in the forest and sneak around with Perseus to crush them from the flank? Sounds good. Or have the goddess Isis boost your income with her Prosperity power while Hatshepsut builds a series of obelisks to help you stock up on favor and give your units a defensible foothold near a cache of food and gold. Why not? It's going to be a long game either way. The strategic options presented to you in each game keep it infinitely varied and interesting.
"Age of Empires: Mythologies" does a fantastic job of shrinking the experience of a great turn-based strategy game. I was at first very unimpressed, but the more I put into this game the more it kept giving back. This is a game with unlimited replay value that combines elements of the very best strategy series' out there with the coolest elements of the greatest mythologies the world has ever know. This is just a great game all around. The graphics in the fighting sequences look great for a DS title, but once their novelty wears off you can skip or remove them to speed up the pace of the game. Options, options, options is the name of the game for this genre and this one has got them. For full-scale multi-faction wars featuring mythic warriors and creatures in the palm of your hand, it doesn't get any better.