Age of Wonders III
Top Critic Average
A war worth sinking your teeth into, on both its magical fronts.
Age of Wonders 3 does the little things right, but struggles on a larger scale.
Despite some familiar trappings and a shortage of genuine wonders, Age of Wonders 3 delivers a more tightly focused experience than Firaxis' behemoth Civilization series, to which it initially appears to owe so much. In doing so, it proves that even after a decade away the Age of Wonders series can still stand proud beside its modern-day contemporaries.
The turned-based battles will leave a lot of strategy fans happy, but I wish you could fast forward through the rest of the game
Age of Wonders 3 is a challenging power fantasy
I don't find it quite as exciting as Warlock II, which has such an unusual and habit-shattering structure, but they are very different beasts, despite appearances.
I'm not sure if anything is worth waiting 11 years for, but if it was, it would be Age of Wonders III. This isn't Duke Nukem Forever, shoved out the door to exploit ravenous fans. Nostalgia has a lot of weight, and this definitely feels like something that could have existed over a decade ago when we were swimming in turn-based strategy, but that's not why it's great. It builds on its past rather than just using it as currency. The familiar sits beside the modern, the fleshed out classes, the deeper tactical combat. It's the best that Age of Wonders has ever been.
Like Warlock 2, this is a game that's trying to be more creative with the fairly rigid 'Civ' template, and combined with the tactical battles and challenge of a hostile world, this is definitely one of the better strategy games to come out over the last year or so. We hope long-term fans of the series are as impressed as we are with this game, and for anyone new to the franchise, we recommend jumping in as soon as you like.
Presentation is great and the AI plays a good game. The strategic layer is competently done but the highlight of the game, by far, is the fantastic tactical combat. Age of Wonders III is a must for anyone that will enjoy spending a lot of their time controlling the fights rather than just clicking auto-resolve.