Posted on 04/11/15 @ 01:15 AM (updated 06/23/19
Age of Kings: Realms is a project to consider more of the medieval world. Built on Forgotten Empires, it brings the total number of civilizations to 42:
Armenians- From Yerevan to Cilicia, defend your lands from a multitude of foes.
Balts- Form a mighty commonwealth to subdue the encroaching crusader.
Bamars- Command the rise of Pagan, Ava, Hanthawaddy, or Taungoo.
Bohemians- Forge an invincible army powered by innovative tactics and the fervor of your people.
Bulgars- Carve out a domain under the hooves of your armored cavalry.
Burgundians- Raise a varied army from Eurpoe's finest mercenaries.
Chimus- Challenge the Inca for supremacy of the Andes.
Dravidians- Control the land and the sea in the struggle for South India.
Dutch- Protect your economic interests with powerful militia armies.
Helvetians- Revive the discipline of the phalanx in battles once ruled by mounted knights.
Jurchens- Contend with the Han, Khitai, and Mongols for a Golden Dynasty.
Khmers- Dominate Southeast Asia with vast armies, cultural strength, and mastery of war elephants.
Malays- Establish a grand thalassocratic state across the islands of the Southeast.
Mandinkas- Build an empire upon gold and salt.
Moors- Strive with foes all across the Mediterranean.
Muisca- Lead the armies of the Zipa or the Zaque to victory.
Tufans- Descend from the Himalayas to forge an enduring empire.
Turcomans- Rule Khanates from Anatolia to Manchuria
Viets- Drive out would-be conquerors with relentless guerrilla tactics and subterfuge.
In addition to the new teams, a few other features are included:
Randomized variation of cliffs, wolves, birds and more in every random map
New architecture for many civilizations.
Custom random maps with capturable locations and respawning wildlife, and more!
Balance updates taking direction from the latest DLC changes.
Display your superiority with a wonder of the world- not only will many tremble and surrender before its glory, it will increase both the size and wealth of your empire.
Many new editor objects and trigger effects are added.
Comes with an installer for simple setup.
Current version: 1.93
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Age of Kings: Realms is a mod that adds on to the original game including the Forgotten Empires mod. Many new civilisations have been included adding much more diversity to the game. The design of each civilisation has been carefully placed together to make a unique civilisation that is unlike any other. The added custom maps create a new experience resulting in new styles of game-play that is refreshing for the player. The introduction of new units as well and eyecandy objects provides the designer with a highly versatile editor.
The quality is well done and everything has a polished feel about it. As this mod will continue to grow as new versions are released, the current version falls down at balancing of civilisations. The added ones are balanced facing each other but appear to become overpowered when versing the original game and FE civilisations. Many of the new editor objects are useful or aesthetically pleasing however some of them don't seem to fit with the game and jar with it's surroundings. The re-introduction of the slaver unit is well done and has no bugs I have come across yet and makes a nice addition. Most of the new custom maps have been well made and create good quality although some need balance when coming to relics.
AoK: Realms is a good addition to anyone's mod collection. If you are looking for more civilisationss or a variety of game-play this mod is for you. Future versions of this mod will bring great promise. Nice work Vardamir!
Realms is one of the most ambitious mod projects I have seen since Age of Chivalry, the Forgotten and the Portuguese Civ Mod. I've been rubbing my hands to review this uncut diamond for quite a while now as I hope to see it shine even more bright in the future.
For those who still possess the original, non-HD version of the Game, Realms is an extremely easy to install, play in parallel and uninstall vast expansion. Without changing the original civilizations or those added by the Forgotten (non-HD version) it adds a sheer million of new civilizations, eye-candy and game-play features. I regard this mod pack extremely useful as it gives regular players, lazy as me to enter the HD era, the opportunity to profit from an ever expanding array of exciting new cultures to play with. In that regard Realms can be seen as a parallel expansion to the ones introduced for the HD game, although it is mostly walking its own path, exploring some civlizations (like Armenians, Moors, Balts or Bohemians) not found in any HD expansion.
As much as I would like to compliment an ambitious project of this scale with a higher score, I also want to seriously encourage the author to work even harder on details, that might be regarded cosmetic by some, but which are vital to the concept of "immersion" (how easily as a player you can merge with the reality of the mod and forget it is not an official expansion).
A great deal has been done in the right direction. Each new civilization comes with its own history file, stream sound and the figures used in the history files, while not unique, are in the style of the original game. Every unique unit has a unique graphic and sometimes even the architectures are unique-ish, all helping the issue of immersion and the quality of the game experience, BUT...
The more an author has done in this direction, the more irritating are the rough edges when you see them. Why are so many civilizations using the same command-interface frame? (The Armenian use the Hungarian frame, the Balts and Bulgars the Slavic frame etc. ...). Why not ask other moders for more fitting speech files. You might not find actual Baltic that easily, but Polish would be a geographically and culturally closer match than Russian (I can personally help find a good quality speech file collection, preliminary hint: fr_steve is still reachable), similarly Bohemian does not need to be a uniformally German speaking civilization, although I generally like the Idea of showing their connection to the German world (If the idea is that multi-lingual civilizations don't fit with the original game and are only introduced since Age of Chivalry, I'd like to remind that the Britons' monk speaks Latin, but all other units Old English).
That being said, the Mod has a lot to offer in terms of novel game play features, units, techs and sometimes very creative solutions as to how to represent the historical features of some civilizations, like the fighting Wagons of the Bohemians, which I liked very much :)
All in all, I will leave a 3.5 in the quality section, because I think with a bit more effort on the issues mentioned we can have a mod with an overall 5 score market value.
I highly recommend Realms to novelty seeking players, who can't get enough of choices, more civilizations, more population headroom and generally more of everything! Especially I recommend following the mod and I am looking forward, personally, to future updates :)