Age of Empires: The Age of Kings Reader Review
I've spent long periods of time playing this game. It's not particularly enthralling, but it's pretty satisfying to defeat your opponent and the turn-based system leaves you saying, "Oh okay, just one more day" a lot.
The game tells you how difficult the different missions are supposed to be, but I found this had little to do with the actual difficulty. In reality there is a lot of variance, and the most fiendishly frustrating missions will test you to try more strategy than just "collect, build, attack". The AI opponent can be quite adept at strategic moves like blocking escape paths, and it's pretty important to choose carefully which units go head-to-head. (Don't put your archers face-to-face with the cavalry...)
The most irritating aspect to the game is that when you skip the battle sequences you don't see the damage report. You'll want to skip the battle sequences eventually though because they get monotonous (during a long fight you will grow particularly weary of hearing the battle cries). Also when there are too many units on the screen, the action slows down noticeably.
I agree with the criticism that the maps are too small, but it does mean that conflict comes sooner rather than later. Passivity is not an option here.
In terms of value for money, if you enjoy turn-based strategy games then this one will give you plenty of play. Recommended.
7 / 10