I enjoy turn based strategy games especially for passing time and you are not in the mood to play something that requires 100% of your attention. Age of Wonders 2 was a great game and I probably spent way more hours playing that game than I should’ve, so with that said I was really eager to get my hands on Age of Wonders 3.
Age of Wonder 2 as I said above was great, it had a small storyline to follow, basically you played a wizard named Merlin and had to fight your way through the lands to battle the forces of Evil. With Age of Wonders 3 there are two Campaigns to play, good and evil, if you want to call it that. The Elvin (Good) Campaign you play as Sundren the daughter of the Elvin rulers. The Common Wealth (Evil) Campaign you play as Edward a leader of the Common Wealth people. The plot is about a war that starts between these two main factions with lots of twists and turns but with so many turn based strategy games the story is not the main part of the game, with Age of Wonder 3 though I must say that it has a richer story than most in this genre. Also Merlin makes a come back in the story mode which ads to the great nostalgia feeling when playing the game.
Apart from the campaigns you can also play random maps, 8 Scenarios and online or local multiplayer. You create your very own leader to lead your army to victory. You can choose from 6 races including humans, draconians, high elves, dwarves, orcs, and goblins and then also 6 different classes Sorcerer, Theocrat, Rogue, Warlord, Archdruid or Dreadnought. From there you can choose your skill sets and specialization, this gives the game more RPG elements to it than the predecessors.
The graphics of the game are mountains apart from number 2 but was expected as Age of Wonders 2 came out in 2002. When running the game on full detailed settings you can see the massive amounts of work done on the engine even down to small fragments shooting off exploding units. There is nothing spectacular about the music or audio of the game and nothing wrong with it as well. On the interface side they also made great improvements, it’s easier to grasp everything, contains much more information and easy to access what you want.
With offline gameplay you can enable cheats as in the previous games, the developers felt that this is a great thing to keep for enjoyment purposes and as expected cannot be done online. Your Heroes upgrade with experience gained where you can learn new skills or improve on existing ones, magic and spells have also been bumped up with a lot more spells to choose from with different categories like combat, strategic and empire. Sea combat is also now possible and it adds that extra depth to your strategy and how you can plan your moves although I will not urge you to try Sea combat with land based units.