Age of Heroes III : Orc retribution S60v2 176 x 208

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Age of Heroes III : Orc retribution S60v2 176 x 208

Post by d4d0 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:19 pm

Age of Heroes III : Orc retribution S60v2 176 x 208



gaming divide between two particular game archetypes, with players often having strongly polarised reactions to each. We ask you: Are you all about uzis and shotguns, or swords and spells?

Obviously, classifying a gamer has never been quite that mundane a process, and thankfully things continue to get more diverse as gaming becomes ever more mainstream.

However, Age of Heroes III: Orc's Retribution should instantly appeal to those who consider themselves to be on the beard-stroking, staff-caressing end of the spectrum. In a classic tale of orcs and elves, you start the game off controlling a small band of the aforementioned orcs in a grand, mountainous environment. And your first encounter with a fairly modest band of elves sees you getting your posterior served to you on a silver but bloodied platter.

However, it's all part of the story and after getting severely thrashed, you find yourself in the abode of an orc elder who tells you to gather up all the allies you can find and wreak vengeance upon the elven scourge that has taken over, erm, Orc-land.



Age of Heroes III takes a strategic view on combat, giving you control over several different units from a reasonably attractive, if simple, top-down perspective. So, rather than just fighting one-on-one, you are effectively taking part in a full-scale battle each time you enter combat. While you're just making your way around the landscape, though, your orc army is represented by a single unit.

Movement occurs in turns, and you have a specific number of 'squares' you can move in a turn. Combat is equally turn-based, although obviously here you can attack as well as amble about the battlefield.

For veterans of strategy games, this may sound like the usual fare, but the genre is not a particularly well-travelled road on mobile, so it's not unreasonable to question how well the game works on the format. The answer? Not too badly at all.

To try and quicken up the gameplay, three speed options are available. On the highest, the units move around like fleas on Red Bull, which unfortunately makes everything look a little cheap and flimsy, but on the lower levels there's a greater feel of solidity. It doesn't make the game desperately slow either. Combat is nippy enough but still retains a sense of strategy, thanks to the different types of units available, and the inclusion of such battlefield obstacles as gates.

Unfortunately, where Age of Heroes III disappoints is in its interface. Although the main navigation screen is firmly set into squares, it appears fairly fluid visually. This means that when it seems quite logical that you can go somewhere, you won't be able to if there's even a slight shrub or log in the way. Instead, you're met with a blunt 'Impassable Area' pop-up message.

It may not sound too irritating here but once you've read it for the 65th time, resentment soon sets in. Making this worse is the fact that it's often not clear where the path that leads from one screen to another actually is.

The controls, meanwhile, are not responsive enough. It may not seem like a big deal when the gameplay has nothing to do with split-second timing, but much like the navigation issue, it soon starts to annoy. This is worsened by the fact that at the beginning of every turn, whether in combat or simple navigation, the cursor reverts back to your unit rather than staying where you left it at the end of the last turn.

It's not so much of an issue on the navigation screen, where you can set a path and simply press the '#' key to continue along it each turn, but the incessant, clunky tapping from one side of the screen to the other during combat grates.

It's a pity these quibbles turn out to be such gameplay roadblocks, because Age of Heroes III has a decent amount of content in it. Not only are there a number of different unit types at your disposal, but your squad also levels-up, can collect power-giving artefacts, and can use magic spells considerably deepening the strategic opportunities.

However, it's clearly disappointing to find such easily fixable problems affecting the experience. Age of Heroes III is hardly Age of Zeroes III, but it certainly isn't up there with the best of them (even if it uses a slightly different game style, Ancient Empires II is a far better bet, for instance).

As it stands, then, this isn't the game that's going to convert the uzi and shotgun brigade

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