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Age of Empires III pc Game Reviews
Age of Empires III
Critic Score
Metascore: 81 Metascore out of 100
User Score  
6.7 out of 10
based on 52 reviews
Read critic reviews
How did we calculate this?
based on 87 votes
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Age of Empires III offers gamers the next level of realism, with advanced battle physics and unparalleled visual detail. The new game picks up where Age of "Empires II: Age of Kings" left off, placing gamers in the position of a European power determined to explore, colonize and conquer the New World. This time period features stunning scenes, from towering European cathedrals to courageous tribes of Native Americans, and spectacular combat with Industrial Age units like rifled infantry, cavalry and tall ships bristling with cannons. Age of Empires III excites strategy gamers with new game-play elements, including the concept of a "Home City," new civilizations, units, technologies and an immersive new single-player campaign that will span three generations. [Ensemble Studios]

PUBLISHER: Microsoft
DEVELOPER: Ensemble Studios
GENRE(S): Real-Time Strategy
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2005

What The Critics Said

All critic scores are converted to a 100-point scale. If a critic does not indicate a score, we assign a score based on the general impression given by the text of the review. Learn more...

An absolutely fantastic title with superb graphics and tight gameplay. Single-player or multiplayer, no matter what your skill, you'll get hours of joy out of this sucker online or off.
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Times Online
In short, AoE III is yet another masterly triumph.
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There are so many new additions in this game that it will boggle your mind. This is one of the best looking games, much less an RTS game, that is out on the market currently.
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Worth Playing
The new additions do much to add new depths of strategy.
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A phenomenally awesome RTS, and stays true to all the games before it.
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With 24 campaign missions and endless replaying online, unless you have an aversion to RTS games you’ll want to give it a try.
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PC Gamer
Balanced, innovative, gorgeous. Truly worthy of the series. [Holiday 2005, p.52]
Gamers' Temple
Classic real-time strategy action in a beautiful new wrapper.
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Electric Playground
Combining solid game play, stellar physics, and some of the most vibrant graphics available on the PC, Age of Empires III is the alpha male of the RTS pack.
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Adrenaline Vault
This game is pure, unadulterated fun.
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PC Gameworld
There is nothing terribly new or original here, but this still offers a very solid RTS experience.
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The home city concept adds a new twist, making the game slightly more interested than it had been before.
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PGNx Media
The game meets the bar set by previous games in the series though it doesn’t really revolutionize the genre.
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The unit design and the range of opportunities in both the single player and multiplayer missions will definitely get your strategic juices flowing.
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Gaming Illustrated
The gameplay of the title is the core strength, and getting through the single player campaign will suck you in for uncountable hours into the night.
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Games Radar UK (Pre-2006)
Gorgeous to look at and wonderfully well made, but it's not a revolution. [PC Gamer UK]
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Gaming Horizon
Fans of the first two should pick it up for sure, and other RTS fans would be smart to do the same.
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It has all the addictiveness of the earlier titles, but probably less replay value since there are more interesting and creative RTSs out there.
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Gamers Europe
All in all, Age of Empires 3 is a top-notch game. Not too hard on the specs either, it’ll let you away with 256mb of ram and a 1.4ghz processor (ugly but perfectly playable).
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Pelit (Finland)
Age of Empires 3 does not let you down. The game is as polished as it can get. Great for people who love multiplayer matches. [Dec 2005]
Computer and Video Games
It's surely the best-looking traditional real time strategy game out there at the moment, and more importantly it's a real blast to play. Boom! [PC Zone]
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It is a finely constructed, accessible real-time strategy game with a brilliant soundtrack, tactical warfare with intricacies too long winded to go into here and highly addictive gameplay.
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There’s some good gaming here for people new to the franchise, but some parts will feel old to experienced AOE vets.
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Game Over Online
It’s a little difficult to call a game like AOE3 dated because so much work has been done on the graphics and interface, but under the hood (with the exception of the home city concept) AOE3 is all "AOE2."
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Game Informer
Hopefully Ensemble will focus a little more on substance than style with its next game. [Dec 2005, p.184]
Those looking for a complex and interesting real-time strategy game with fantastic good looks and some historical flavor will find just what they want in Age of Empires III.
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Ultimately, AOE III has clearly won the battle for graphical supremacy, but for all its improvements elsewhere, it has yet to win the war for RTS dominance.
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Next Level Gaming
At its core Age of Empires III is basically like any other RTS.
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Total Video Games
The single-player stoy mode takes in three generations of the Black family over a number of missions, and once that challenge has been reached there's plenty of Multiplayer action to be had.
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There’s certainly enough depth to be found for RTS fans, but once again, it falls a tad sort of our expectations.
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Armchair Empire
I was hoping for a revolution, but instead, I found an excellent evolution.
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Top it all off with a delicious graphics engine and you’ve got an Age of Empires game for modern machines that sports daring new design ideas for the modern strategy gamer.
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An RTS that does feel a little dated bar a few bells and whistles, although the fans of the series will likely feel right at home.
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Game Chronicles
The additions to the game don’t alter the basic strategy that much. So while this is a solid RTS title, it certainly isn’t breaking any new ground.
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Games Radar
There's no question that Age of Empires III is enjoyable, and the strong multiplayer modes make it worth owning. It's just that it doesn’t strive hard enough to truly usher in a new age of the genre.
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A game with great potential that sadly hasn't been fully developed. No matter how much you may like certain aspects of it, the fact that the retail code feels so incomplete and technically lacking is inexcusable.
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Jolt Online Gaming UK
There are hours and hours of RTS fun to be had in Age of Empires III, but the problem is that we’ve all come to expect more over the years from our real time strategy games, and you can’t hide a lack of progress with shiny graphics and lovely physics-related cannon exploits.
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PC Format
Hardcore RTS fans are well catered for. Casual players should look elsewhere. [Christmas 2005, p.98]
Eventually even the most diehard series zealots are going to begin to ask themselves why they are still in the same place playing the same game they were playing nearly a decade ago. While the genre has grown, the series that helped to spearhead games of this type into the public eye has stayed disturbingly static.
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In the end, Age of Empires III truly feels like a continuation of the 1999 classic. If that's good enough for you, then you'll definitely want to check it out.
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A nice update to the series. But especially with the way other historical RTS games have advanced the genre, I was expecting more innovation from the game (and developer) that started it all.
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Technically splendid, but lacks the soul and the focus that made its previous games such powerful experiences.
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While AoE III fails to bring a great deal of new content, it does a great job of summing up the last couple years of strategy and combining it with the look and feel of the RTS titles of yesteryear.
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Age of Empires III takes the conservative approach to the conundrum of how to craft a new experience that remains faithful to the original. While that ensures fans will immediately feel at home with an old friend, it's questionable whether it sets another standard, or merely follows its own.
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Yahoo! Games
Age of Empires III would be a damn fine RTS if it came out five years ago. Instead, it's some impressive modern technology and bold gameplay ideas unfortunately saddled by an outdated take on the genre.
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The single player campaign is very playable, very enjoyable, and also very long.
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Even with the new home cities, gameplay feels tired and characterless. Bombarding players with shiny baubles and inconsequential gifts can’t hide that.
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Sydney Morning Herald
Unfortunately, the emphasis on economic management and the lack of precise unit control means combat lacks finesse. Like real-time strategy games of old, the best tactic is usually to simply amass a huge force and crudely rush at overwhelmed opponents.
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Game Revolution
The steps it has taken in the gameplay department since Age of Empires II are negligible, but at least the new card-based bonus system adds an element of customization and depth to the genre. This result is as detailed as a history book, and about as much fun.
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Gamer 2.0
It manages to avoid complete failure with the marvelous card decks, but pales compared to modern strategy titles.
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Computer Gaming World
Delightful, disappointing, and frustrating.
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Computer Games Magazine
The kind of design innovation that could make this game great, yet ends up demonstrating the game's schizophrenia. [Jan 2006, p.56]

What Our Users Said

Vote Now! The average user rating for this game is 6.7 (out of 10) based on 87 User Votes
Note: User votes are NOT included in the Metascore calculation.

N Jacobs gave it a1:
The fact that there is no save and load (!) in multiplayer games (even LAN) is a complete deal-breaker. Should have been stated on the package before we wasted a significant amount of money to play family LAN game. What were they thinking?. Very disappointing. Aside from that, the gameplay seems dumbed-down from AOE2, which would be tolerable, but the no save is not.

Hallowfax gave it a5:
I expected the campaign to be better than it's predecessors, I wanted not only it's graphics good, but a wide variety of gameplay options. My overall review is varied, I just have to give it an in-between rating.

Randall S. gave it a7:
The campaign definitely isn't anything to write home about, it gets boring really quickly. The multiplayer is good for kicks, but it has some serious flaws. I'd recommend Age of Mythology for a good RTS. I went back to it after a couple weeks of AoE3. The units are fun and unique, you don't need to deal with cities which end up to be just an annoyance, and it actually matters who you pick when you advance through the ages. Definitely a top notch RTS. AoE3 was somewhat of a disappointment, but it is a good game.

Tom gave it an8:
A great follow up to the other AOEs but definitly not as good as the 2nd AOE.

Dan B. gave it a0:
Clearly a complete disappointment compared to the amazing and wonderful Age of Empires 2. This game lacks in all areas that a great RTS game has ever had. Limited towers? What is up with that! Units that all look and feel the same? Wow that was real innovative! Railroads you cant build walls over or gates over, wow, just what i want, a nice gaping hole in wall. Age of Empires 2 was an amazing game. Its sad to see that they desired to drop the ball on the Zone supporting the game so now you cant even find anyone to play online anymore. They lost a large community just to push everyone toward Age of Crap 3. Ensemble Studios has defiantly took a turn for the worse. The card system is just stupid. It makes anyone that doesn't know how to get resources quickly and efficiently suddenly become really good at the game with a click of a button. The peasants don't have to return to the town center or lumber mill to receive the resources makes people not think about how they make there base before they build is because hey, you can have that 1 guy in the middle of the forest on the other side of the map getting resources for you and he doesn't have to run a mile to return them, he just happens to have a massive infinite strength to be able to hold it all just for you. I thought about giving it a 2, but then i thought, thats too generous. This game is the worst game ever made and should be avoided by all RTS Enthusiasts. Trust me, it is not worth it. Complete and udder failure just like Red Faction 2 was to Red Faction 1.

Fred B. gave it a5:
This game does not live up to its predecessors. The gameplay is much too simple. While Age of Kings and Age of Mythology contained many unique units, AoE3 basically has only a few different kinds of units with some variation in fundamental stats and graphics. This is the game's main problem. The game makes up for this by focusing on special traits for each civilization, but this is not enough. The home city system is a good concept, but it also gives the player too much of an advantage over computer opponents, which do not appear to use them. Trade routes are a good feature of the game. They add strategy by setting fixed locations to try to control. Native Americans are another good feature, though the lack of unique units makes for squandered potential in this area. The campaign was also unsatisfactory. The scenarios were too short and most of them were just the same build-and-destroy scenario on a different map. It quickly becomes repetitive and boring. Finally, unless you have the best graphics card ever, don't play maps with a lot of water. The game tends to slow down severely whenever a ship or dock is taking damage.

Bob B. gave it a10:
A must have for strategy game enthusiasts.

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