Tag Archives: Age of Empires

If you wish for peace, be ready to wait in Battle Ages

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One of my more fonder early gaming on a PC moments was the time I spent in Age of Empires, a history-based real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. Yes, despite my natural disdain for the majority of RTS games out there, save for things like Kingdom Rush and the random run of a Command & Conquer: Red Alert skirmish, I did have a good time with that one, as it was a much more methodically paced foray into building up your camp and defending it when deemed necessary. It was definitely more Civilization than Warcraft, and that’s probably why I did better at the whole goal of trying to maintain peace for years on end. I’m into peace, majorly.

Anyways, Battle Ages is without a doubt no successor to Age of Empires, but it tries to guide the player slowly through different historical ages and creates one-off scenarios to do battle with other players’ camps or in-game missions. The problem is, right from the start, it’s a free-to-play game, and that means progress barriers for those unwillingly to pay money to knock those walls down. Like me. I started playing Battle Ages back in October 2016, and I guess I’ll consider myself being done with it as of this month. There’s still a new age to reach, as well as four seemingly unattainable Achievements, so I’m ready to uninstall the whole thing as soon as this post gets posted. Boom.

I’ve dipped into Battle Ages almost daily, whether to collect coins or begin researching a soldier or upgrade a building, because all those things are important to growing a strong, survivable settlement, as well as heavy on time. Naturally, the timers begin short, with some ranging in the 15-30 minutes range. A few, such as for upgrading landmines or walls, are instant, so long as you have enough free workers available for the job. By the end though, you’ll be waiting up to 5-6 days for some processes to complete. You could, of course, use money to bypass these timers via the use of jewels, the game’s special currency, but you don’t need to, if you are patient enough to wait. You will earn some jewels as you play, and I ended up burning a bunch to instantly have enough coins to push my civilization into the next era.

At some point during my journey to earn more gold so I could upgrade quicker, I broke some sort of peace treaty. This meant that, while I wasn’t playing Battle Ages, other people playing the game could attack my settlement and steal my hard-earned coins, as well as deplete my stock of soldiers. Boo to that. There were times that it felt like I was going nowhere, earning just enough gold to repair my bombs and restock my army tents. You can also go through a number of campaign missions where you attack a settlement and try to utterly destroy it, and these range in difficulty, but the most annoying thing for these is that, after you do one, you need to restock your army and call-in help before doing the next one. I eventually stopped doing these early on and stuck to timers for earning money and fame…which is probably why it took me so long to reach the Industrial Age.

So, with all that said, my time with Battle Ages has come to a close. I don’t see myself acquiring the four following Achievements left unpopped on my account:

  • Moving on Up (Acquire 2,500 trophies in battle)
  • Sticky Fingers (Steal 1,000,000 coins from the enemy)
  • Hold the Line (Achieve 250 defensive victories)
  • For the Win (Achieve 250 offensive victories)

If anything, Moving on Up seems permanently glitched, having been stuck at 40% for me since last year. Unless I’m doing something wrong. Either way, whatever. No Achievement for lowercase trophies. Well, when I get that next free-to-play, lots-of-timers itch and Fallout Shelter isn’t doing the job, I also have Battle Islands: Commanders from the same publisher 505 Games to get into, with that one focusing on World War II.

Showing off my cultural superiority in Civilization Revolution

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Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution is one of the two free games Gold members get this month on the Xbox 360. It’s not particularly shiny or new, releasing back in June 2008 for all the expected systems from that time period, meaning the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and iThings. It’s a simplified turn-based strategy game that mixes historical figures and cartoonish graphics in a fairly addicting manner, seeing that I only played a single round so far, and that entire fight saw Rome dominating all the other cities after just under two hours of back-and-forthing it.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve never actually played a Civilization game before this. Hey–please don’t throw rocks. Oh, sure, I bought Civilization V back during Thanksgiving or Christmas last year when a crazy Steam sale was running, but I’ve still not loaded it up once. Okay, okay…maybe throw a rock for that, but please, not the face. Back in the day, however, I did enjoy a lot of time with Age of Empires on the PC, watching brainless grunts evolve from the early Stone Age all the way to the late Iron Age. I’ve previously talked about my dislike for many RTS videogames, but those are usually military-based and tower defense-focused, and I do enjoy ones more about…well, teaching a group of people how to read or build a stone wheel or harvest crops from nearby fields. Yes, in Civilization Revolution there’s still combat and a need to protect your city while also possibly attacking another, but you can also just grow in culture, money, and fame, and that’s pretty dang cool.

Now, there are four roads to victory in Civilization Revolution:

  • Domination: Capture and hold each of the other four civilizations’ capital cities.
  • Technology: Be the first to launch a spaceship and discover the planet Alpha Centauri.
  • Cultural: Acquire 20 Great Persons, Wonders, and/or captured cities and build the United Nations wonder.
  • Economic: Amass 20,000 gold and build the World Bank wonder.

As I mentioned before, my one game so far took about two hours, and that’s seemingly just how things go. You begin by building units and buildings and Wonders, and each of those things take X number of turns to be completed. While that’s happening, other cities are growing too. Some may befriend you, and others will grow jealous or angry or scared and declare war. You can stave off some fighting by giving other city rulers money or technologies you’ve learned, but it’s never a guarantee for eternal peace. So it’s a lot of small planning and waiting, and I eventually began working on a Cultural victory, building the United Nations wonder to cinch the deal. However, strangely, I didn’t get the Achievement associated to fulfilling this quest, instead earning the one for a Dominance victory. Not sure what that’s about…

A couple quick side notes: I find it hilarious that the Xbox 360 shortens the name of this game to Civilization Revolut’n on all of its dashboard menus. Certainly they could have fit the whole name on there, right? There have to be games with longer titles than this. Or maybe this was just Microsoft not knowing what to do with longish titles back then, seeing as they also ditched Sid Meier’s name too. Also, while this might not matter to many, a few of the Achievements in this game are worth odd amounts, like 3 or 9 Gamerscore; initially, I was freaked out by this, but eventually earned all of them odd ones to balance my Gamerscore back out to a nice even number. That’s just how wild and loose those early days were with the Xbox 360.

I definitely see myself doing a couple more rounds with Civilization Revolution, at least to try out some of the other cultures, as well as attempting some different win victories. Unfortunately, none of this will happen until the weather gets warmer and the living room isn’t painful to sit in for longer than half an hour. Until then.