Age of Empires: Mythologies DS Review
Another PC game on the DS. Meh.
Age of Empires: Mythologies is a turn-based strategy game based on the PC game Age of Mythology by Majesco. I should preface by saying I'm not much of a PC gamer (for one, I use a Mac) and I also am not a big fan of western style games (I perfer Japanese games). That being said, I really couldn't find a lot to like about Age of Empires: Mythologies.
I'm not sure there even is an over arching story line. You play through three different time periods with three different mythological backgrounds: Egyptian, Greek and Norse. You fight battles and acquire resources so your empire can grow. I'm feel a little cheated in the no story respect. Unless you consider the myths of each empire as part of the story, there isn't much going on besides mindlessly fighting and building so you can fight some more. I'd like a kidnapped princess at least!
There is a lot to do in Age of Empires: Mythologies. You control your forces in turn-based battles, you gain resources, employ villagers to build for you so you can churn out more resources to support more troops you can lead into battle. However, none of it really seems like it's worth anything. There are vauge commands like "Those guys are attacking our turf, let's get them!" Okay, but why?
The controls work well. You can use the directional pad or the touch screen and stylus to move troops (although you have to press A to actually get them to move). However, when you attack there is a rock-paper-scissors formula for how much damage each unit takes that you have to keep in mind (Fire Emblem for the GBA was similar). When the attacks happen, however, there is an annoying little cut scene showing them engage in battle. It looks more like a bad historical reinactment. I wonder how many of them LARP?
The coolest thing about the battles is the ability to use mythological figures in them. However, it seems like you don't get to use them as often as the name suggests. You are really stuck with your boring old mortals most of the time. Oh, and each unit is totally random. You don't get to choose who fights, or even have names or faces for them besides their rank. It makes the whole game a lot less personal. I really didn't care whom I lost because I didn't have an attachment to them. If the game at least developed some characters I could get behind it more. As it is, I'd rather just play a good game of chess.
Graphics and Sound
Maybe the graphics are much improved from the eariler Age of Empires game that made it to the DS. They are quite realistic and the settings look nice. However, the battle scenes are really silly looking. I mean, the movement is jerky and blurry, and the animals run like they have lopsidded legs. I laugh every time.
Sound wise it is repeatitive and boring. The units in battles do speak, but they say the same five lines over and over until I want the enemy to finish them off. The music is forgettable, although that also means it wasn't annoying enough for me to take note of it.
Boring, Um, I mean, Box Art.
Age of Empires: Mythologies probably has a lot to offer to the gamers who like such games. I know it has gotten high reviews almost across the board, but I can't agree with them. I felt disconnected and bored as I played. There were no stakes set, no story explained to me and nothing I was fighting for (that I cared about). If you want to have fun with a turn-based stragegy game, pick up Disgaea DS.
If someone asked me to recommend a DS game to them, Age of Empires: Mythologies would never cross my mind. There are a bunch of other better games out there for the DS, or maybe it is all a matter of preferences. I don't care for this style of game, but if you enjoyed the PC version you will probably like this one. But if you want a strategy game like Fire Emblem pick up Disgaea DS because this is not for you.