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System Requirements Requires Age of Empires III 1.4GHz CPU 256MB RAM 2GB HDD Space 64MB 3D Video w/ hardware T&L Windows XP Rated T for violence Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs expansion pack takes place during the American Revolution. In the single player campaign you unfold the story of Nathaniel Black and his grandson Chayton. Nathaniel allied with General George Washington and helped him win a few victories. Chayton worked with a local sheriff during a gold rush and met up with General George Custer. He also had to make a choice and decide which part of his heritage he would defend. As you can imagine from the title you can play as various Indian tribes including the Aztec, Iroquois, and Sioux. Some famous chiefs like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull make an appearance in the single player campaign.

What do I get with this expansion?

There are many nice additions that make this a worthwhile purchase. There’s a whole new single player campaign adding a total of fifteen missions divided into two acts. There are also six new maps (one is completely random) and three new civilizations (Aztec, Sioux, Iroquois) to play. There are new home city cards and buildings, including saloons, where you can hire outlaw bandits with gold. A new victory mode has been added called Trade Monopoly, which grants a victory to the person controlling the majority of the trading posts. Another new addition is the ability to lead a revolution instead of advancing to the imperial age.

Playing as the Indians

Each tribe offers unique units and special advantages. The Sioux are good with horses, the Iroquois use artillery and siege weapons making them slow but strong, and finally the Aztecs have a strong infantry. All the tribes have war chiefs that boost the units around them, and the effects are tribe specific. The fire pit is available to all of the tribes. By having your villagers dance around it they can spawn healers or warriors, increase experience, unit production, or the population limit.

Multiplayer

When you launch the multiplayer mode it will automatically patch your game for you. As of this review it’s up to version 1.02. There are a good amount of players and games available to join. There are three game types: classic, standard and treaty. Standard mode is the only one that allows the Trade Monopoly victory. Treaty mode is divided into games of 10, 20, 30 and 40 minutes of peace until the treaty expires.

Graphics

The graphics have not changed with the expansion. The cut scenes appear to be pre-rendered but look good. Although the graphics don’t blow you away they are pretty good for a RTS (Real Time Strategy). The units look unique but when grouped together it’s hard to tell them apart. Fortunately the interface is pretty good and it’s easy to micro-manage your units.

Sound

Again the sound hasn’t changed too much since AOE III. The voice acting is well done and I like the background/theme music. The sound effects are good and each unit/weapon has their own sound effect.

Appropriateness

There’s a lot of wars and fighting happening in this game. A majority of it is over greed, unfortunately. This game is pretty clean other than the violence. There’s no blood, gore, swearing or sexual content. There is discrimination of the Indians and Chayton is caught in the middle since he is half white/half Indian. The Fire-Pit dancing is part of the Indian culture, though some may not like its use in this game.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this expansion, especially the single player campaign and story line. The added features are good and definitely improve the game. The asking price is $30 but I managed to get mine for $20 on sale. I feel like I definitely got my money’s worth. I recommend this to any Age of Empires III owner.

Final Ratings

Game Play 18/20 Graphics 7/10 Sound 8/10 Interface 5/5 Stability 4/5 Appropriateness 43/50 -5 for cold blooded murder -1.5 Characters are portrayed with stereotypical biases -1.5 magic used by player (Fire-Pit)

Overall 84%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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