Posted on 01/06/14 @ 09:04 PM (updated 06/02/14
***Updated to v1.1 on June 2, 2014***
|Number of scenarios:
-Fixed "random" crashes that some were experiencing by removing all multiple gateposts in each scenario (there were hundreds of them, causing some change ownership trigger effects to affect more than 300 objects and thereby cause a crash).
-For some reason, playing on Fast speed in the 2nd scenario can cause random, sporadic crashes (1 out of 10 times at most) right when you defeat the Duchy of Remsgau (Green). To avoid this, save often and play on Normal or Slow speed, or, if playing on Fast, switch temporarily to Normal or Slow when dealing the final blow to Remsgau.
This campaign was designed by Andreas Marscheider (aMa), webmaster of AgeArena and longtime brilliant AoK/AoC designer.
All credit for the design and story is therefore to him. I (HockeySam18) have only translated the campaign from German to English.
I can say from experience that the scenarios are quite difficult and progress in difficulty throughout the campaign. It would be advisable to save often. Additionally, Moderate is the most balanced level, though those unfamiliar with certain gameplay styles may still struggle. Standard is quite easy and is for beginners, while Hard is a good challenge even for AoK/AoC experts.
The story, though it has a certain historical context, has no intended similarities with any figures, living or dead. The plot and design is entirely that of aMa's making.
See the readme files for more info. Comments and reviews would be much appreciated and will be responded to!
Now enjoy this great classic of aMa's
After the Third Crusade, the young Sir John de Falls returned to his homeland. Meanwhile, 10 years have passed since the last time he saw the local castle. He also wonders just what has become of his young sister Joan, who now would have to be a woman. After a long sea voyage, they finally reach the local coastline. As he goes ashore along with his longtime and loyal companion in arms Wilhelm, he does not know about the ill fate of his family.
The entire family has now been ousted by the Marquis of the country Count Richemont. He of course was anything but pleased when he learned that the young Sir John unexpectedly returned from the Holy Land. Even John could not know that his father, the old Count de Falls, was killed by Richemont's sneaky henchmen, to take possession of his property.
So Richemont therefore sent those assassins again to make sure that John de Falls never reached his old family estate ..
When the young Sir John left the ship and went ashore, waiting for him already were alleged envoys of his father ...
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"Outlawed" is one of AmA's older scenarios, which was released at AgeArena in 2002 but is only available in English since last year, courtesy of HockeySam18. As it is to be expected from a 4-scenario campaign designed by arguably one of the best AOK designers of all time, this game leaves very little to be desired. However, since comparisons with Ulio are impossible to avoid in this case (both campaigns have 4 playable scenarios if I remember correctly, and both were released in the same year by german scenario design legends), I will just go ahead and say that Ulio is still better in a few respects than this campaign, for me at least, and I will explain why in the review.
You get to play as John de Falls, a teutonic knight returned from the crusade that finds out his family domain has been taken from him and is forced to become an outlaw. Yeah, it basically starts off like Robin Hood, but don't worry, it changes soon enough.
The gameplay, which alternates from fixed force to build and destroy, is definitely enjoyable. I am not a huge fan of build and destroy, which is what perhaps 50% of this game is about, but the author has managed to break down the game into segments with alternating play styles, thus avoiding boredom. The second scenario had a bit too much b&d for my taste and it wasn't as varied as the others until the very last part of the game. I had the most fun with the last scenario, the segment in which you are pillaging the enemy's supply lines was pretty original and enjoyable.
This is the weak point of the campaign for me. I am not a good b&d player but I believe that even for my level of play, standard difficulty should provide a challenging but beatable game, which didn't happen. The first scenario was definitely beatable, and I beat it on moderate, but the others were just crazy as far as difficulty goes. Even after switching on standard I was hardly able to beat them, and not without cheating a little bit. There is also a big discrepancy in difficulty between the fixed force and the b&d segments, the former being mostly just too easy, and the latter being much too hard. I believe the AI plays the same for all difficulties and the advantages the player gets when playing on lower difficulties are just not able to make up for that.
This was certainly one of the most creative campaigns I've played. There are numerous custom sound files which provide atmosphere, a lot of unique gameplay ideas such as the raiding of supply lines that I have mentioned before, not to mention the splendid map design. As far as visual effects go, there is one very nice portrayal of an active volcano which is more than impressive for 2002 standards and still holds up today.
Map Design: 5
This is where the game really shines. The maps are really a feast to the eye. Everything from terrain to human settlements looks its best, and that's all the more impressive considering the map was created in 2002, before all the tools appeared that make things easier for map designers. I have only one small problem with the maps - they don't really help the player in the B&D segments, mainly because the foresty landscape allowed very little space to build up or even maneuver more voluminous units such as mangonels, rams, etc.
This is, I believe, where Ulio really gets the upper hand on this campaign. The story is decent, but it's pretty much a standard one and will leave very little room for surprise, as will the characters. However, it is clear from the get-go that the emphasis will be put on gameplay rather than on the story, so there is no reason to deduct any points in this category.
Furthermore, the instructions, hints and scouts sections are extensive and there was no point during the game in which I didn't know what to do.
Even though this game probably won't make it in my top 10 all-time favorites list, it is definitely one of the best and the most epic games to come out at the blacksmith in 2014, and as such it definitely deserves the download. I would recommend it particularly to good b&d players and to those who are not afraid of a challenge and don't give up easily. Also, be warned: regardless of your skill, you have quite a few hours of gameplay ahead of you before managing to beat this!