||Age of Kings HD
|Number of scenarios:
The original Aztec campaign focused on the Spanish invasion paying little attention to the events which preceded it. This campaign will provide you with a more accurate vision of the history of Tenochtitlan. However, you will look at it not as an emperor but as a warrior.
1) tags like "REAL HISTORY", "DOUBTFUL HISTORY", "UNREAL HISTORY";
2) many proper names and years;
3) minimalism everywhere (or just lazy?);
4) an incomplete last scenario with an accurate form of the island where Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco were situated (why don't you use it in your campaign?)
Aztec Imperial Strategies by Frances F. Berdan and others.
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"The Aztecs, 1376 - 1473" is a prequel campaign to the ES Montezuma campaign promising to bring a more historically accurate approach. Unfortunately the scenarios are quite simplistic in their construction, with perhaps the original ES materiel being preferable.
The gameplay took a variety of forms from fixed force to build and destroy but i found the pacing to be lethargic while being very simple. Take mission two, which is very similar to a random map on yucatan, but first you must travel to a base site, then build up a town using villagers but are not able to afford a town center from the start, so you must build a lumbercamp as if you are playing a match of land nomad. The traveling fixed force missions were quite lengthy with inadequate difficulty and boring terrain to traverse, with little option but to follow very linear paths. I found myself extremely bored and
I found the missions to be quite lacking in any kind of challenge or difficulty. The B&D style missions offered no more challenge than a random map skirmish, except with those you can at least customize the AI opponent and match settings, and this is not a particularly interesting situation to face in a campaign. Situations such as during the siege when the player was required to set fire to farms underneath towers with murderous attack bonuses is not particularly appealing either. The difficulty was quite low with single opponents in the B&D's while the other situations such as battles or sieges typically gave the player a straightforward win without a great deal of thought.
The campaign did make an attempt at varying the gameplay throughout its seven missions, and has the existing framework in place to make a good campaign with more execution in all other areas. The scenarios suffer from a great deal of simplicity however and the mechanics in certain missions such as the siege mission are decent ideas they need to be developed a bit more. Investing time into making a story and weaving it into the campaign was a good concept but its only thinly explored. The gameplay needs to more put into it to give the campaign its own character and be a bit more varied from a random map skirmish mode.
The strangest part of the campaign related to creativity is its use of AoE2HD while utilizing the original dataset. This a big missed opportunity;the HD Edition brings many beneficial improvements, and if one is dissatisfied with its bugs\shortcomings then one should use the Userpath1.4 which brings it owns improvements and beneficial features. Making a campaign for 1.0c is somewhat pointless at this time and places too many restrictions upon designers, unless they are veterans and just want to do so for some reason.
Map Design 2
The mapping was quite poor, and in addition often made a poor fit for the gameplay. Instead of having believable or authentic paths the player is often navigating through 1 tile wide clearances in jungles with little explanation, with fixed force journey scenarios sending the player down a several tile wide path without the slightest deviation or break up in the terrain. Often straight up random maps are used and adapted without any detailing improvement. The final scenario is abysmal with a city consisting of road1 without trees and vast blank areas. Overall there is very little to assess here;its no better than a RMS Yucatan and worse at points.
There was a story linking together the scenarios which established events leading up to the ES Monstezuma campaign which is a good starting point for the campaign, but it needs a great deal of fleshing out and improvement. The writing was of not much quantity while the dialogue lacked somewhat in plausibility;the mission with the spy and the "hotchick" was particularly head scratching and unprofessional. There were a goodly amount of typos and the like, which slightly detract from the experience. The objectives were fairly clear and i didn't experience much confusion over what to do during the scenarios.
Final Summary; The author shouldn't be thrown into despair, yet a good amount of effort would be needed to upgrade the campaign, part of the problem with making 7 scenarios at once is its 7 times the work to go back and change them. Ramp up the difficulty, make it faster paced, and overall the map design so that its a more hand crafted affair rather than retooled random maps would be my suggestions. The story could become more in depth and engaging as well, as its a good opportunity to make this a strong selling point.