Posted on 06/24/12 @ 04:23 PM (updated 06/25/12
I've always enjoyed playing ES's campaigns but have always been irritated by the visual and historic inaccuracies. This file contains two mods aimed at correcting these for the "Attila the Hun" campaign.
The first changes the graphics for the units so that they will be more historically accurate when playing the "Attila the Hun" campaign.
The second changes both the look and gameplay to be more historically accurate when playing the "Attila the Hun" campaign. For example it removes the Huns abilty to farm, adds spear throwing cavalry (genotaurs), makes bombard towers fire ballista bolts, and turns trebuchets into rock trhowing ballista like those used by the Romans.
This is NOT a total conversion. It is designed exclusively for the Attila the Hun campaign and will probably make everything else look a little funky.
Installation and deistallation instructions are included.
Special thanks to the makers of Rome at War, All roads lead to Rom
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It has been a while since I placed this mod on my "reviews to-do list". The great migration of the tribes is one of my favorite episodes of European history and ES already pleased me with making a campaign on Attila, the probably best known personage from that era. Now Dave3377 has taken this a level further, using his modding skills to recreate this historical events even more accurately. I finally found time to praise and criticize his efforts, which will hopefully give you a good impression of what you are about to download and him some suggestions for further polishing.
This mod has a very specific topic and its effects are very much limited to boosting one particular campaign. None the less, from the perspective of those passionately ignited with the great migration of the tribes and ancient nomadic societies, the mod is of high usefulness, quite succesful in simulating the Hun lifestyle. It is also very novel, for as far as I know this is the first published attempt to make a mod about the equestrian nomads of the Eurasian stepps.
As much as I wanted to rate usefulness and quality independently of each other, but the half a point detraction reflects a limitation in the usefulness, which is indirectly due to the quality. While the quality is pretty high, some minor flaws I will discuss in more detail later on, impact on the mod's function to accurately recreate the Huns' era. None the less, this mod is currently the state of the art of how accurately one can enjoy playing an equestrian civilization with Age of Empires. As I am writing this, Dave3377's mod is the closest you can get to experience the nomadic feel.
Dave3377 is already known for high-quality unit-moddeling and combining this with some data-editing he offers a quite far-reaching change in the Attila's campaign visuals and gameplay. Inspite of many positive surprises this feels more like a first draft of what can be an incredibly good mod with only a few further changes. Here is more detail on what I find improvable:
In the historically correct edition the Huns train sheep instead of making farms. I love the idea. It reflects historical reality. But the translation to gameplay could be better. Let stay that the sheep cost food, that has some logic to it... but 50 food!? Every 10 seconds I was having difficulties to decide whether to train a sheep or a sheperd and my food storage was growing painfully slow...
The buildings were not changing through the ages, which was slightly disappointing. Already within Attila's lifetime the Huns had made a transition from nomads to half-nomads and this could have been moddeled by changing the wood-to-skin ratio in the appearance of the buildings (more wood = more settled). Apart from that the buildings were functionally succesful in creating the atmosphere of a nomadic tent-settlement, but while alot of effort was gone in the design of the units, the buildings were merely glued-together yurts (it works, but it could be better).
Vikings and Mongolians had their names and architecture changed, but as soon as you left the campaing to play a random map the illusion was shattered. The Vikings still speak ancient Norwegian and have the same unique-units. It is not a dramatic issue given that the mod aims at altering the campaign only, but with just a few more changes the illusion can be kept alife. With data-editing you can transfer the Persian spoken in the game to the "Alans" and "Skythians", you wouldn't even need to import language-files from outside. And given the vast amount of units you have already created and that exist in the blacksmith it wouldn't take much effort to make individual unique units for the Skythians and Alans, either. I also did not understand why the Aztecs had their architecture changed. They don't even appear in the Attila campaign.
Overall I was very pleased with the mod and can recommend it to every fan of Attila in particular or ancient nomads in general. If I sound painfully critical, it is because I see a great potential I want to support and many of the things I suggested are relatively easy to implement. The author should feel encouraged to further work on the project, while all the consumer needs to know is that this mod does what it promisses, even though there is room for improvement.