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144 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaming excellency
I had been a die-hard fan of AOE for about a year and a half before AOE2 hit the shelves. I didn't pick it up until about March but I loved this one twice as much as the first and here's why: (1) Unlike the first, AOE2 offers you the ability to garrison units which is great for an ambush. (2) AOE2 also offers players the ability to place units in formations such as the...
Published on April 29, 2000 by T.

versus
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice improvements, but some critical flaws.
If you liked the first AOE, you'll probably like this game. It has some nice new features - for instance, hotkeys for finding idle villagers. That said, however, I think they've made a HUGE mistake: the buildings are too big! Clearly someone there made the classic "bigger is better" mistake, and now the screen space is really tight. The buildings are...
Published on November 14, 1999


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144 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaming excellency, April 29, 2000
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
I had been a die-hard fan of AOE for about a year and a half before AOE2 hit the shelves. I didn't pick it up until about March but I loved this one twice as much as the first and here's why: (1) Unlike the first, AOE2 offers you the ability to garrison units which is great for an ambush. (2) AOE2 also offers players the ability to place units in formations such as the box, staggered, etc. (3) New scenarios which actually help players learn to craft and fine-tune their skills. (4) The ability to save a multi-player game. How many times have you been in an awesome two hour game when something comes up; no more. (5) Great new customizable scenario building tools that make it more fun then ever. (6) Castles, Unique Units, and all the other new buildings and techs. (7)Trading from the market- a simple way to trade for that 200 gold for the easy castle from the feudal age. (8) Recorded games- a great way to fine-tune your skills by learning from a master. (9)More Random Maps for total playability. (10) Right-Click farming, ah, that is what get's me on this game. Before you had to click a villager click the build, etc. No more! Just right-click the farm, saves you plenty of much-needed playing time. Age of Empires 2 outdoes its predecessor by far and becomes highly addictive and playable day after day after day.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An improvement over the original, a credit to its genre., November 13, 1999
By 
Arka C (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
For those who feel that this game lacks a depth and is not a significant improvement over age I, I must emphatically disagree. The diversity of units, their strengths and most importantly their vulnerabilities, make strategic considerations very important. Even the weakest of units, the peasant, can become an effective defender when garrisioned in a building. Buildings are harder to knock down, and the ability to garrison missile troops and peasants within them make the importance of well planned and diversely equipped invasion forces critical. A force of infantry that is not supported by siege engines will eventually run out of steam when faced with fortified castles and garrisioned town centers. Cavalry raiders can be effectively crushed by cheaper pikemen and camels. Armies made excusively of expensive missile troops can be completely smashed by a single shot from a catapult, or by relatively cheap groups of skirmishers and light cavalry. The effectiveness of countering strategies makes a planned assault and defense critical to game success.
Control of your military units is far more refined than the mob mentality that prevailed in age I. The addition of easy to use formations makes marching multiple unit types (cavalry and archers, for example) far simpler to manage. And the ability to set stances (defensive, aggressive, no attack) prevents your units from fervently pursuing villagers across the map, or attacking things that they cannot hope to destroy. Add features like patrol routes and guarding, and one can easily see that this game is not just a matter of building more units than the other guy (though that certainly helps!) The path finding is also VASTLY improved...
As for the visual and auditory, the attention to detail is simply astounding. Individual villagers of each culture speak in the native language of their civilization. Architectural styles are beautifully rendered, and buildings appear to scale with the units around them. The landscapes are lush and atmospheric, as is the local plant and marine life. The game is simply gorgeous, a pleasure to look at and listen to.
Only a few complaints. Managing farms and automating villager functions is still a hassle. Naval combat, while impressive to behold, is not much different from the disorganized mess it was in age I. The formation improvements used in land combat were not applied to ships for some inexplicable reason. And it sure would be nice to be able to automate the attack-and-retreat tactics that come so naturally to horse archers.
Still, most of my gripes were minor. Overall, I am completely impressed with the game, and plan to play well into the next age...
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HINT!, December 7, 1999
By 
Aaron (Harvard Law School) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
Amazing Game! Keeps me awake in class. To those complaining about being unable to keep up with the computer because it can fight while simultaneously building more troops and its economy--here is the solution. Use F3 to pause the game and then direct your troops/buildings/villagers to their tasks at your leisure. Then unpause the game and let them go to work. This takes away a lot of the anxiety and time frustration of trying to be 4 places at once. It also makes it possible to take notes occasionally.
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79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best strategy game of all time. Period., January 24, 2000
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
For my money, this is the finest strategy game on the market. The balance of the various kingdoms is far better than in the original, with all empires having serious strengths and equally devastating weaknesses. One must learn the value of combining force types into effective mixtures of defense and offensive units to even have a chance at success. The serious player will probably take something on the order of a year to master the game, because the complexity level is so high.
The campaigns on this sequel are of a much hgiher caliber than those on the orignal, so single-player use is very much improved. In fact, the campaigns are actually historically accurate, unlike those in AOE. Indeed, the historical section on the CD is fascinating reading in and of itself, and will please those who love the time period, as well as the tactical problems involved.
AOK's real strength, though, is like that of its predecessor: the game's extreme playability over network. I heard that AOE was the most popular network game ever, and there's no reason AOK won't follow in its footsteps. This is GREAT stuff to play in real time with others. Be warned, though: players in Microsoft's Gaming Room are ruthless to the novice. Don't even think about going online until you've gained a level of proficiency playing by your own. And take the time to learn the keyboard shortcuts: you'll need the time it saves.
For most games, I think that strategy guides are a wimp's way out, but with AOK, I highly recommend the Ensemble Studios' guide. It's invaluable to improving the quality of your game-playing experience.
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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Game, if your a REAL gamer, November 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
I'll be honest and say AOE II is hard, but hello, if it was easy what fun would it be? When compared to AOE I it is simply amazing. The Graphics are better, the computer doesn't suck, villagers don't get stuck in trees, resources are more plentiful, the maximum population is higher, and everything is bigger. Some people with smaller monitors may complain about the large buildings but at 1028x768 they're small enough for me. The addition of battle formations is also welcomed. But as with all strategy games, strategy is most important. No longer can players simply wipe out an oppenent with 20 phalanxes, you must, gasp, actually combine arms to best protect valueable seige weapons, destroy buildings with tons of hit points, and succesfully keep your troops healed. NOW, as for the games difficulty. If your a wuss or down right suck, this game is not for you. The computer is good, agressive, and fast, but certainly not impossible. I can beat two computer oppenents on easy in about and hour and a half. Moderate takes about twice the time or even longer. On easiest, however, the computer is incredibly easy, even my little sister can beat it. Overall if you can click a mouse and want a game that takes for an hour to a whole day get AOE II and get it now before you forget.
And by the way, if you think its to hard, your wrong. Its just what REAL gamers have been looking for.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best strategy games of all time., September 19, 2000
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
AOE II has been rated by numerous gaming magazines and online reviewers as one of the top five strategy games of all time. I have to wholeheartedly agree. The improvements over the original AOE are too numerous to count. If you like strategy games and you have never played AOE, push the ADD TO SHOPPING CART button right now. Don't even wait to finish reading this.
This game has everything you could ever hope for in a strategy game. You must manage resources of your civilization, research new technology, build defenses, and maintain diplomatic relations with other computer/real players, all while trying to avoid annihilation. This is a real time game rather than turn based, so even on the slowest speed it is sometimes wonderfully maddening to try to keep track of it all.
The setup allows you numerous options. You can start with allies or solo. There are various levels of difficulty and options for map size, number of opponents, type of terrain, etc. Each civilization has different characteristics and you can choose which ones you want to play against or randomize it. If you just want a short game, you can play for a certain amount of time with the highest score at the end of that time declared the winner. The difficulty levels allow for a challenge game at any level of expertise with the hardest level being impossible (at least for me). The game also includes various scenarios you can play.
This game doesn't get boring. Once you find your level, you can expect a challenging game each time. You might beat it one time and get eliminated the next. A strategy that works in one game fails in the next. You have to reinvent your strategies to adapt to the situations as they arise. Each game is different.
I rate this game a 10/10. It is utterly addictive. I recommend it highly. If you already have the game, look into AOE II: The Conquerers. It is a game extension that makes this great game ever better.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best strategy game ever!, January 1, 2002
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
'Age of Empires II' has been named on many many PC top ten lists, and for good reason too! Simply put, this is just an amazingly fun and interesting game. 'Age of Empires II' will take your breath away, it's a must own for any PC gamer, or even someone who's never played a computer game! Anyone will love this.
There are many levels of difficulty, which is excellent. Once you master one level or strategy, you can change the settings (and certain characteristics in the game, such as what type of terrain you get, which makes all the difference). You must manage any one of thirteen civilizations, ranging from the Turks to the Vikings. Each civilization has it's own unique benefits and drawbacks and their own style of buildings and armies. You collect natural resources, advance through ages by meeting requirments in your stockpiles, create workers, explore, conquer, build an army, make allies, engage in trade and battle, and so much more! The graphics are some of the best I've seen in a strategy game and always keep you involved with the game.
You can also choose certain types of games. A campaign game involves a certain sort of goal (like escorting Joan of Arc to the king). Their is a death match game, where you duke it out with other empires, and so much more. There is a delightful training game which involves the famous William Wallace teaching you the basics of the game, I found this to be extremely helpful.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing, May 4, 2000
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
AOE2 is simply amazing...I've never played AOE1 so I can't make any comparisons, but look--AOE2 beats out much of the great RTS games (including my favorite game Starcraft) by including 13 civilizations with infantry, cavalry, archery, naval units, siege weapons... and all kinds of defense measures, including all-mighty castles and bombard towers. The diversity of units might be less than some widely popular games, but you can understand and feel every single part of this game. Upgrades from Cavaliers to Paladins and Archers to Crossbowmen make sense--they aren't just words from nowhere. And if you're looking for a great campaign game, this is it--there are carefully made videos and sounds (just as starcraft) for the campaigns, and I especially enjoy the diversity of these one player missions. The 1st Mongolian mission was very interesting, requiring you to befriend the different tribes by bringing them sheep, killing the wolf pack, founding the sacred relic, etc. I also liked how this game handled commerce. There are a variety of types of resources (gold, stone, food, and wood to be precise) and you can build trading carts to earn gold by trading with other players, pay tribute, etc. etc. This game is simply a must-buy...it's worth every penny.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Age of empires 2: the age of kings, March 7, 2000
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
This game is extraordinary! Beautifully rendered 3d graphics(for a game with the same overhead view as C&C: Red alert)and awesome AI make it even better! Unlike the first Age of empires, Your soldiers are now more likely to join a nearby battle the stand around like idiots. You can Even assign formations to your soldiers like flanking, where they split into to groups a few hundred feet apart. Or staggered which is pretty much self-explanatory. There are some cons though. There are some slight AI issues over the water and you can't assaign formations to your navy. You also have a population limit. Hopefully someone will release a patch that gets rid of that. You can choose from one fo 13 civilizations. they are: Franks, Goths, Britons, Celts, Chinese, Japanese, Mongols, Vikings, Tuetons, Searacens, Persians, and two others but their names elude me. You can select your map of choice and how many enemies and allies you want on your team or against you. The battles are brutal but fun to watch. It's like watching braveheart all over again. There are several modes of play to choose from including Deathmatch, Regicide, Conquest, Time, and a few more. The gamelay is great. But to enjoy it to its fullest you should have at least A Voodoo 3 2000 PCI, But its beautiful on a Pentium 2 with 300 mhz and a Voodoo 3 3000 AGP at the 1024 setting. This game has tons of replayability All in all this game is a worthy buy. I reccomend it for anyone who wants a break from all other Stratedgy games.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will please newcomers and old AOE fans, too., December 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC (Video Game)
In a nutshell: A Good buy. A Great game. All the new features are wonderful and the game balance has become extremely good. The graphics are stunning and the multiplayer is awsome. The units are also great. Several new features add new depth to the gameplay. However, there are a few shortcomings. These are from a old Age of Empires 1 addict's point of view. First of all, the gameplay is very balanced. This means no rushing, at all. Rushing is close to impossible. Only a diverse army can win. No more cav rushes, sorry! Second of all, the priest thing has gone too far. I hate them. I wish i could turn them off. They are by far the most annoying things in the game. Microsoft messed up when they chose to put them in. Other wise, the game is great. Microsoft is obviously trying to target unexperienced Age of Empires players, as well as new players. However, there are advanced options that can be enabled which give you more controll over your units. Overall, worth the $$.
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Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC
Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings - PC by Microsoft (Windows 2000 / 95 / 98 / Me / NT)
$19.99 $19.98
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