Magic wind

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
Author and references

Age of Wonders III has been a nice surprise since the announcement. More than ten years have passed since the release of the last episode, hence oblivion. Fortunately this seems to be a good time to bring back genres that had been given up for dead, at least on PC, so here we are talking about a new turn-based strategy mixed with an RPG that apparently is doing very well on Steam, given that it has been in the top positions of the best-selling titles for days. An excellent result for Triumph, after the closure of the Overlord series.



Heroes are born, and she was born.

Once launched, Age of Wonders III allows you to choose between different game options. If you want you can face one of the two long campaigns, made up of eight maps each, or a single scenario, made up of a single map, or you can rely on chance and generate a random map by choosing the general elements (difficulty, size, type of terrain and style of play). There is also a multiplayer mode, which allows you to compete with other players spread over the rest of the planet. Obviously the focus of the experience, at least for the first long hours, is represented by the campaigns. We speak of "long hours" because they really last a very long time. Do you think that it took us the beauty of about eighty hours to finish them both, playing at the third difficulty level out of five available. Obviously, being a strategic one, the eighty hours are a very low estimate, given that Age of Wonders III is easily replayable at the highest difficulty levels and that we have not counted the other available options, such as scenarios. In conclusion, if you are looking for a long-lived title, Age of Wonders III will not disappoint you.



A series of strategists that have been standing still for more than ten years is back: let's find out if it was worth exhuming it.

Strategy and tactics

The gameplay of Age of Wonders III is similar to that of the previous chapters. It is divided into two phases: a strategic one in which you move troops on a global map, managing the cities and available resources (such as spells), and the other tactic, in which you guide troops on the battlefield. The tactical part can theoretically be skipped by letting the CPU manage the fighting, but it soon turns out that it is a deleterious and often counterproductive choice, especially when the forces in the field are balanced. In the long run, the tendency is to face the most demanding battles directly and leave those against the discarded troops to automatic combat, i.e. those with a foregone result.

The most powerful troops must be faced with equally powerful troops

The strategic part, on the other hand, must be managed all directly. Usually the maps start with a handful of troops available, with which you have to find the scattered resources (money, mana or special items for the heroes) and reach the first objectives, which will lead to having the first cities to manage.Cities can be obtained in different ways: by conquering them, building them, through diplomacy, through the resolution of missions or by paying the required sums.. Each city belongs to a certain race, to which the troops produced are related. There are goblins, humans, orcs, dwarves and so on. There is no shortage of unique races such as that of fairies, which give access to special units such as unicorns and which have a different infrastructural development than the others. In general, however, cities have linear growth, both in appearance and in management. By entering one of these you can choose whether to train troops, build infrastructure (necessary for the economy and to have the best troops), or to raid it, destroy it or, more simply, sell some of the buildings already built. Each city produces a certain amount of mana and money, which go into the global economy of the kingdom.



Compared to the previous

The Age of Wonders series consists of four chapters (including Age of Wonders III). Few people know that the former, simply called Age of Wonders, was co-developed by Triumph Studios and Epic Games. Released in 1999 by Gathering of Developers, it was a great success among strategy lovers and had two sequels: Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne (2002) and Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic (2003). The latter was a stand-alone expansion of the second chapter, full of content. Unfortunately, the crisis of the turn-based strategy led Triumph to abandon the series and try other paths, at least until last year, when it announced the arrival of Age of Wonders III. In the meantime, there have been two collections. The first, called "Master Collection", came out simultaneously with Shadow Magic and included the first two chapters. The second, called "Anthology", was published in 2006 and included the entire collection. If you are interested, the old episodes can be purchased on major digital delivery sites such as Steam or GoG.

Heroes and battles

On each map there are generic enemies, usually placed in defense of some resource, and the inevitable opposing kingdoms, which represent the bulk of the problem. The main objective of each mission is the complete destruction of the opponents, with the conquest of the capitals and the killing of the heroes. Speaking of heroes, it should be noted that in each mission you will lead a main hero, to whom the search for spells and the capital are linked, and secondary heroes, who have their own spells to use in combat, but have fewer resources than the main hero. . In any case, whatever types of heroes you have available, the important thing is that they survive: under penalty of immediate defeat (with patch 1.09 the developers have fixed some biases, fortunately, and now for example you are not automatically defeated if the hero is mentally manipulated). Speaking briefly about the searchable spells, we explain that there are three types: the passive ones that are always active, which affect the management of the empire, the strategic ones that must be cast and that have effects on the general map and the combat ones that must be used in the section tactics. And finally, we come to talk about the tactical part, in no uncertain terms the best thing about Age of Wonders III. This is the section in which troops must be moved into battle, trying to outclass the enemy army (or to limit the damage, by doing as much as possible). The troops are deployed on the field based on the relative position they had on the strategic map (it is possible to attack enemies from multiple sides, obviously having more armies available). Then, after a brief overview of the area, we move on to the actual action. The factors to be taken into consideration on the battlefield are really many and we certainly do not pretend to exhaust them in these few lines.



The more cities grow, the more territory they can exploit.

What we can tell you is that the units must be moved individually and that each has its own specific characteristics, with maybe different skills available. For example, there are units poured into melee, others equipped with bows, some with blowpipes, others with slingers, there is no shortage of magical units, or those that know how to do a bit of everything. The battleground, on the other hand, will have a different morphology depending on the square on which you fight. In the case of a city or a fortress, there will be walls to protect the defenders, walls in which the attackers will have to create breaches, or that they will have to evade with attacks from a distance or with flying troops. In each turn it will also be possible to use a spell among those available, to obtain different effects (direct attacks, greater movement speed, various upgrades and so on). In short, the fights of Age of Wonders III really offer many facets and are done very well, also thanks to the good artificial intelligence, which knows how to engage the player. In general, we are faced with a very good game as a whole. Too bad only for a few flaws, which we will talk about in the comments.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 a 3.40GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Video card: nVidia GeForce GTX 660

Minimum requirements

  • Operating system: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Processore: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.4 Ghz o AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ @2.6 Ghz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Video Card: nVidia 8800 / ATi Radeon HD 3870 with 512MB or Intel HD 3000 integrated laptop with 3GB of system memory
  • Disk space: 10 GB
  • DirectX: 9.0c

Recommended Requirements

  • Processore: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.4 Ghz o AMD Phenom X4 9900 @ 2.6 Ghz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Scheda video: nVidia Geforce 460 1GB o AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB

Comment

Digital Delivery: Steam, GoG, Gamersgate Prezzo: 39,99€ Resources4Gaming.com

8.0

Readers (16)

8.5

Your vote

Age of Wonders III is a welcome return to the PC gaming scene. A return that moreover brings with it excellent quality, not without some defects, in a certain sense attributable to the entire genre. While on the one hand it is nice to be able to play long and articulated campaigns, with very large maps to explore, on the other hand it is clearly felt, especially in the advanced stages, that the accumulation of increasingly powerful troops is the only weapon to obtain the final victory on every occasion, since the pitched clashes are always fought against well-fed armies, usually with special troops. Sure, the tactical part remains excellent, but something more could be done in terms of unit and resource balance (even if the first big patch fixed several things). Apart from that, lovers of turn-based strategy at the Master of Magic can play it safe and buy the latest Triumph effort, because they will spend several tens of hours together just to conclude the two main campaigns, and then devote themselves to random maps and to multiplayer, perhaps waiting for some substantial expansion.

PRO

  • Two very long campaigns
  • Excellent tactical part
  • Lots of units
AGAINST
  • City management is too linear
  • You have to accumulate super powerful troops to win
  • Automatic fights sometimes give absurd results
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