IGN Preview of Age of Empires: Mythologies
The PC real-time strategy series Age of Empires went turn-based for its portable debut back in 2006. Its transition was a smooth one, resulting in a worthy strategy offering for the Nintendo DS called Age of Empires: Age of Kings. For the sequel, Age of Empires: Mythologies, the developers are wisely not messing with the formula too much. If you were a fan of the first game, you'll feel right at home in this mythology.
The previous DS entry in the series was developed by Backbone. Mythologies is being handled by Backbone's sister studio, Griptonite, which brought The Sims 2 and Shrek SuperSlam to the DS. It's running on a modified version of the Age of Kings engine. Some players felt battles ran too long in the first game, and Griptonite has tried to shorten them to around 20 minutes each for Mythologies.
There are three civilizations to play as: the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Norse. The single-player campaign starts you off in Egypt, although you'll be able to play as any of the three in multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, Mythologies will be playable over Wi-Fi, a feature players missed in Age of Kings. For local multiplayer matches, single-cart play will be an option.
What sets Mythologies apart from other Age of Empires games is that it uses fantasy creatures and gods appropriate to each civilization. In Egypt you'll battle scarabs and the jackal-headed god Anubis. In Greece, heroes Hercules and Perseus show up, as well as cyclops, harpies, and centaurs. You'll be able to call on the gods to use "god powers" and rain meteors down on your enemies or prevent them from attacking. Once you've built a shrine you'll be able to choose a god to worship.
The turn-based strategy gameplay is very similar to other rock-paper-scissors games like Advance Wars. Players have a variety of melee and ranged units at their disposal, and each is strong against a certain type and weak against another. There are also hero units, recognizable characters from popular myths that will lead your army into battle. Boss battles are also here, against titans like the kraken and hydra.
Age of Empires: Mythologies should be out later this year.
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