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Combining the features of hit games Dune II and Civilization, this strategy adventure proves to be one of the more challenging and graphically advanced we've seen in some time. We were floored by the program's highly detailed graphics, based on an isometric, two-dimensional design, which presents a world of medieval warfare in which you can practically feel the gritty action. Even when compared to more contemporary graphics, the game's soldiers and weapons, the program environment, and especially the interface elements will satisfy players. The interface is user-friendly and features plenty of options, including a great control system. Each of the 13 nations involved in Age of Empires II has its own strategic advantages over the others, and most units are put together on a "ro-sham-bo" strategy. The game includes historical scenarios as well as "skirmish" modes and multiplayer options. The game's choice of music adds an appropriate tension to the gameplay, and in a nice touch, the warriors of different nations speak in their native languages. Overall, we can't wait to get our battle gear on again. Any fan of historic action games who hasn't yet experienced Age of Empires should be sure to at least download this demo version.
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