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AoW2 Gameplay Help & Strategies
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Topic Subject: AOW2 Gold Early Gameplay Impressions
posted 06-09-02 12:44 PM EDT (US)   
I found the following post by Bob Mayer on the CG World site forums today. He's a reviewer for the magazine and has the final gold version, I believe. Very interesting information indeed. Read on:

-QUOTE-
"I played a lot of the first campaign scenario last night. The game is challenging (to me at least) even on Easy difficulty, though now at the end of the first scenario I've gotten to the point that I have the bad guy surrounded and am just trying to build up enough force to take out his multi-stack garrison in his capital.

The tactical battles are much improved over the original and the demo IMO. You start close enough so that most archers are in range, though not guaranteed of hits, yet there's still room to maneuver. No more treks across the map to find the enemy, either. Sieges are tough; you can now break down gates with regular units, but that channels your attacks pretty predictably, and missile troops on the walls can shred you--especially if you are facing magically enhanced flaming stone walls topped with upgraded marksmen .

The whole "player as mage" thing seems to work well. Much of the strategy of the game is in expanding your domain so you can cast spells where you need to (like, deep in enemy territory). Building mage towers, capturing magic relays, that sort of thing. Heroes carry a one-hex radius "domain" effect so you can always cast spells via a hero, but unlike your mage (who is immortal as long as you have a wizards tower under your control--if you "die" you reincarnate next turn) heroes can and do perish.

And the game is truly gorgeous looking. Zooming in gives you some pixelation but overall it's a great visual system."
-END QUOTE-

Replies:
posted 06-09-02 01:00 PM EDT (US)     1 / 10  
And you guys were worried. Now I literally cannot wait for the game.

I would put a second lock on the Triumph Studios door, Josh.. you may find one or two people dressed in black, wearing war paint and carrying spears going through your cd collection

posted 06-09-02 01:13 PM EDT (US)     2 / 10  
would a TRUE fan of AOW2 do anything else???

I am just asking


Black Raven
Fire mage 1st class
the 15th knight BTOOIC
and Guardian of the sacred flame sword of Izeil
posted 06-09-02 01:55 PM EDT (US)     3 / 10  
that can't be the whole article can it??

BLOODYBATTLEBRAIN, last of the Azrac warriors.
posted 06-10-02 05:50 PM EDT (US)     4 / 10  
Here's some more first impressions from the CGW review staff. He likes it.

------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------
Bob Mayer - 03:27pm Jun 10, 2002 EST (#281 of 282)
Carry over: Within each "sphere" (Fire, Water, Air, etc.) you carry over your spells, items, and heroes, but no units. Between spheres, nada. Nothing at all, at least that's the case between the first spehre Fire and the second, Water.

It makes things a little odd, for a campaign, because you have it seems a series of mini-quests, as you master each sphere of magic. I don't know whether, at the end, you get to use all the speres of magic you've learned at once, or whether any of the heroes you've built up come back.

There are also seemingly optional side-missions. After the first two Fire missions there was an optional third mission. You don't have to do it to progress to the first Water mission. It's fun to do, and there's cutscenes and voiceovers for it (it fits into the story) but what I don't know is what if any significance it has on the overall game. You carry your stats/wizards into it, but nothing out of it because the next mission is the first of Water, and everything is reset.

While you can create new cities, BTW, in the early missions of the solo campaign at least it's not something you will be doing much of. Pioneer units take a while to build as only pretty heavily upgraded cities can make them. Then it costs a decent chunk of gold to build anew city (rebuilding razed cities doesn't cost gold I don't think, just consumes the unit). But it does happen, just don't confuse it with MoM style colonization of the map, which is already well populated with cities.

...
The game is amazingly polished and well-crafted, with only the barest of glitches so far. One involves weird graphic flashing assocaited with particular combinations of zooming and mouse-movement, but it's not reliably repeatable nor common, so I say chalk it up to drivers . The only other issue I have is a visual one; it's hard to tell the units apart sometimes in tactical combat, when they are all jammed up in a melee. Flying units, man-sized units, small and squat units, units that are brightly colored, units that are earthtone--all of them piled together makes it difficult to see who's who, resulting in mistakes like clicking to attack a guy you think is adjacent to you, only to find that the buy you're attacking with is over THERE and not the guy you thought . Again, avoidable in any case with care, and not that common.

Otherwise, the game is pretty damn excellent, if you like the style. It does have a certain fatigue factor to it, in the mid-game, where you spend a lot of time building up forces and resources, but the byplay of spell battling--dispelling, disjunctions, globals, etc.--helps fill the void.

posted 06-10-02 06:05 PM EDT (US)     5 / 10  
Heroes carry over? Well how about that...
posted 06-10-02 08:56 PM EDT (US)     6 / 10  

Quote:

Carry over: Within each "sphere" (Fire, Water, Air, etc.) you carry over your spells,


Well, that should mean you won't be able to race through spell research as we did in the demo. No "Bone Dragon" at turn 8. I'd guess they limit the spells you can research in a given scenario, so people won't hang around in an already won scenario to do extra research.


Quote:

I don't know whether, at the end, you get to use all the speres of magic you've learned at once, or whether any of the heroes you've built up come back.


I hope we'll get to use all spheres at some point! Or is there going to be a final Cosmos campaign...?


Quote:

There are also seemingly optional side-missions. After the first two Fire missions there was an optional third mission. You don't have to do it toprogress to the first Water mission.


Are we going to skip around between the spheres? Or are there only two, optionally three missions for Fire? Or, if there is a fourth Fire campaign, will we have to start research all over again?


Quote:

Otherwise, the game is pretty damn excellent, if you like the style. It does have a certain fatigue factor to it, in the mid-game, where you spend a lot of time building up forces and resources, but the byplay of spell battling--dispelling, disjunctions, globals, etc.--helps fill the void.


Hmmm... I hope this won't be a problem...


Ups, gotta go now. Partial Eclipse is coming up!!


It is roaming the depths in eternal hunger, devouring all and everything, far from the light, lost in the shadows, alone, wandering, searching, evermore...
posted 06-11-02 00:57 AM EDT (US)     7 / 10  
great to hear such good overall impressions--but a quick word about the "fatigue factor": I think to some degree this can't be eliminated, because there's a lot of different things going on as the game progresses that require thought and attention to detail--for me, one of the beauties of turn based strategy is that it (ideally) has some extra analytical depth and requires a little extra management, in other words, a little extra thought, versus, say a Diablo or other action-arcade type game

of course, there needs to be a balence so that extra thought doesn't become needless tedium, but look at the case of MOO3 which was delayed in part, I believe, because the game didn't have enough enough of a "micro-management" challenge

posted 06-11-02 09:19 PM EDT (US)     8 / 10  
Gamespot also has early impressions (not much said) and 37 new screen shots available at:
http://gamespot.com/gamespot/stories/news/0,10870,2870345,00.html

The impressions will be available for 1 week. I'm not sure if you'll be able to get to all the pictures without a membership.

--Kanter

posted 06-11-02 09:48 PM EDT (US)     9 / 10  
Gamespot subscriptin to see 120 screenshots! Bah! I'll buy the game and get more than that, plus rolling video shots of actual game play! hehe.
posted 06-11-02 10:21 PM EDT (US)     10 / 10  
Yes, I don't think it's worth paying for either, but you can actually view all 37 new pictures (based on the retail version) without joining Gamespot. I'm guessing this will be the normal 7 day viewing window (e.g. won't be viewable after June 18th).

--Kanter

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