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Metareview - Age of Empires: The Age of Kings (DS)

Dan Choi

What happens when a popular real-time strategy game for the PC gets ported to the DS... and gets translated into a turn-based title in the process? That's the question in the minds of Age of Empires fans who finally got to check out this reinvention of AoK this past week.

Luckily for fans of Ensemble's work, the reimagining turned out a bit better than they might have hoped, even if the overall 82 out of 100 metascore means it didn't fare much better than its PC big brother. Nevertheless, here are a few scores and review excerpts to make up for past strategic miscues on the platform:

  • The New York Times (86/100): "Missions are quite interesting, as you seek out holy relics or protect besieged cities. They can also be very difficult, and there were times when after an hour of desperately trying to wipe out the enemy my army would be decimated and my general slain, forcing me to start over with a fresh approach. Fortunately, the varied strategic choices can make a mission play out quite differently a second time."

  • 1UP (8.5/10): "Like the other awesome turn-based strategy game for the DS, Advance Wars Dual Strike, Age of Empires provides the deep, addictive balance of strategy and action that should keep you toting that wee silver clam around with you for weeks."
  • GamePro (4.0/5): "Age of Empires: The Age of Kings beautifully leverages the DS's unique strength--its interactive touchscreen--to create a truly worthwhile handheld strategy game. With any luck, we're looking at the dawn of a golden age in DS strategy games.... It's not all peaches and cream, of course. Don't be surprised if you occasionally select a unit you didn't intend to select--touchscreens can be finicky like that. And until you learn the ins and outs of the menu system, it's frustratingly easy to end a unit's turn early."
AoE for the DS was developed by the same group of studios that will produce MechAssault for the same device later this year. See the site for Foundation 9 Entertainment for more on the brands/studios involved.

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