Age of Wonders 4

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Dr. Gnome

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Apr 24, 2023
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"Age of Wonders 4" has finally hit the shelves, and I've been dedicating a few hours each day to explore its realms since its launch. The Age of Wonders franchise holds a special place in my heart; it's arguably my ultimate favorite in the annals of computer gaming.

For the uninitiated, "Age of Wonders 4" is a turn-based strategy game that falls within the 4X genre. The game sets you up as a wizard-king or champion, the ruler of a realm, and presents a variety of paths to victory—magical, domination, and others. The game allows you to customize your experience with different races and paths. In my recent playthrough, I portrayed a feline-humanoid wizard king, a master of dark magic, specializing in undead units and spreading terror among the populace. I've also played as an angelic elf with powerful healing and buffing abilities, and a barbarian rat creature that resided underground and rode a spider. The game is filled with such wacky possibilities. They included a dire penguin as a unit!

The franchise holds a sentimental significance for me. In the early years of my marriage, during our mid-twenties, my wife and I bonded over countless hours of "Age of Wonders 2." We spent almost a year, post-work, delving into the game, chatting, and creating shared memories amidst the chaos of college and the transition to adulthood. This shared passion naturally extended into the third and fourth installments of the series.

For those who are familiar with the Age of Wonders series or have played the new release, what are your thoughts? Personally, I appreciate most of the changes they've incorporated, with one exception - I miss the detailed descriptions of the units. I mean, who wouldn't want their dire penguin described in dire detail?
I played a few hours of it last week, and I like it so far. It's reminds me of the old Heroes of Might and Magic games crossed with Civilization. I was playing on the tutorial map, so I was just dealing with free cities and marauders. I haven't gotten to see what a war against another faction is like yet.

I haven't played with any of the faction customization options yet. I wanted to get a feel for how things worked, so I just picked a generic human faction to start off. I'll probably start a new game next time I play and make my own faction now I have a feel for how things play.

It's nice looking game. I like the way you can zoom all the way in on the map and look around at the rolling terrain from your units perspective.
It is very visually pleasing if you like the high-fantasy art style, which I very much do. I haven't heard the M&M/Civ cross before, but that makes sense - some people have compared it to a game called Master of Magic but haven't actually played that one. :smile:

I'm going through the 5th portion of the story campaign now and a "basic human" package is what I took for my hero for this run; I tried it first with rat people living underground but the location and weird aggression of the AI when I started in that spot made me restart the scenario. I don't think the AI/campaign was really made for somebody to play that 5th part starting underground but if anyone manages to do it at a difficulty above normal I'd love to hear how. :grin:
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