In five scenarios you will accompany the cunning Venetian leader Enrico Dandolo in his ascent to ultimate power. Fight with Venice on land and water against your rivals Byzantium, Pisa and Genoa. Travel to the magnificent metropolises of the Mediterranean like Venice, Zara or Ragusa. If all that is not enough, the dramatic events of the Fourth Crusade are still waiting for you. Can you ultimately defeat the greatest empire of all time? Figure it out!
||Age of Empires II (2013): Rise of the Rajas
||Build and Destroy
|Number of scenarios:
*A complete new Age of Empires 2 campaign with 5 nice single player scenarios.
*A variety of media files created specifically for this campaign: videos, sound effects, images, and banners.
*A historical campaign set in the 12th century. Crusaders and important battles are included!
*10 self-made videos that tell the most exciting part of the Venetian history.
*Classic Build and Destroy gameplay with special challenges and surprises.
*Three difficulty levels.
*To install the campaign please move the files to your mod folder.
*The campaign is only available in english.
*Due to the many new content downloading will take some time.
*To fully enjoy the campaign, I recommend making sure all your videos and sound settings are working fine.
*I used the immobile/aggressive AI and my own custom AIs.
*Requires The Forgotten, African Kingdoms and Rise of the Rajas DLC
|Author||Comments & Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
the game closes after the intro campaign
The game closes after the 1st scenario. I'd give it a 2/5
Dandolo offers a 5 scenario journey depicting the leader of an Italian Merchant Family and the up and down fortunes of Venice herself. Considering the rarity of such releases it should be considered a must-play regardless of the rating here, and I would recommend giving it a go. Every mission here is a build and destroy in nature, though mission 2 has a Fixed Force flavor.
My enjoyment of the campaign was fairly decent despite the lackluster difficulty. The B&D were smooth to play and reasonably quick to setup in and get going;I've played a lot of old B&D lately, and one common flaw is starting the player in Fuedal with few villagers and no resources while the enemy is breathing down your neck with castle or even imperial troops. No such thing happens here and the games provided fairly smooth build ups, and without any excessively long games which is another plus. The combination of starting armies and villages worked well throughout, and the campaign avoided saddling the player with useless baggage for the most part. Put simply, the lack of common negatives that plague most B&D is a good plus here.
The variety and quantity of gameplay offered was good also. Having five scenarios that built up upon each other helped the player get more invested into the Venetian cause. My favourite scenario was the finale, where we needed to conduct some lightning strikes on key locations within the heavily fortified constantinople. There were also optional objectives in every mission and different ways to play, which offers a good deal of gameplay as well. Less experienced players will likely get more out of this campaign and quite enjoy this variety, but unfortunately for me the scenarios were so easy to steamroll I didnt feel too incentivised to replay to see how I would handle it differently.
My current understanding of balance revolves around the idea of balance=difficulty X challenge. The difficulty of the campaign was quite low despite playing on Hard while the challenges offered by the campaign were fairly good.
The difficulty was so low at parts I actually stopped paying attention to the screen and focused on some desk work while waiting for resources to accumulate or units to travel the map. I would describe most levels as a cakewalk;to give an example, in mission1 you need to take out the castle of your rival, and they have a decent army they will counterattack with after you give away your landing position. But after this, they only train a trickle of spearmen and the odd mangonel since their economy cannot support any more, and I won the mission with almost all of my resources unspent. Only one mission seemed reasonably difficult, the finale, and thats mostly because of the nice double threat from a relic and wonder victory prompting you to move faster. Even in this mission, I had the assets to put down four castles in the middle of Constantinople, and didnt even need to defend my trebuchet with units afterwards.
The challenges offered were decent and some missions were quite interesting. Preventing the pope's emissaries from converting crusaders was handled somewhat better than some other attempts at this concept I've seen. The missions were often spiced up with side quests that helped out making progress on the main objectives or just made the scenario easier in exchange for some temporary difficulty. The finale had a nice way of encouraging the player to be more aggressive instead of sitting back passively as happens in most such scenarios. That said, the challenges were a bit simple in terms of trigger complexity so while they are good they are not mindblowingly fantastic either.
In summary for this section the difficulty of the campaign is so low I would briefly consider a 1\5 rating, but the challenges offered drag the score up to a 3\5 instead. The players engagement suffers because of the lack of actual risk and losing seems like a near impossibility for anyone who has played the game for awhile. I would highly recommend focusing on more difficulty next time, and consider making medium difficulty the one the author uses and tests, and including a hard mode which is 2x-3x as difficult to the point the author cannot fathom how it is beaten in order to cover a wider area of players. And make standard for the soccer dads out there, or guys fresh off the ES scenarios, etc.
This campaign has a lot of varied missions with multiple ways of approaching them, and also provides optional side objectives to spice things up as well. The usage of sound effects and little bits of music ingame are a good idea. Im not sure there was anything in there that I hadn't seen before, but the main point of being creative is synthesizing elements seen elsewhere with your own life experience to produce a piece of art with your own identity, and this campaign does well in the section.
I wouldnt have minded the inclusion of a soundtrack;considering the file size, you might as well go for it and kick restraint to the wind. It only took a few minutes to download anyway, and the 56k dialup era is thankfully long behind us.
The cinematics were especially impressive and nicely put together, though they needed some music and sound effects to take them to the next level.
The campaign has a lot of nice touches like the background campaign map, but unfortunately because I played the campaign as a standalone mod it does not display correctly;I believe you need to subscribe and play to make it work correctly.
Story and Instructions 4-
The story of Dondalo tells the tale of Venice prior to and leading up to the fourth crusade. The way each scenario can build up upon the last reminds this reviewer of the strong advantages a multipart campaign has with increasing the players engagement even if the story does have a few chinks in its armour. The overall tenor of the scenarios were a bit lightweight in delivery, mostly letting the player go at it without dragging things out with lengthy cinematics or exhaustive dialogue. The downside to that is that the story elements didnt have too strong an impact on the playability and enjoyment ingame. The writing in the historical and scouts reports sections felt a bit threadbare and minimalist as well, especially with the historical section only recapping what the cinematic said. I would like to see a more indepth look at the background setting and possibly some text pointing out things that are not historical within the scenario because of gameplay reasons.
I dont penalize works for bad voice acting, but I have to say the voice-to-speech program here actively undermined the experience at multiple points.
Another point is that the dialogue is a bit shakily written with incorrect word choice and tenses of words being wrong and sometimes articles missing. The dialogue makes it clear the author isnt a native speaker which is a bit unfortunate, but theres no away to avoid noticing the negative impact it has on the story delivery.
In summary here, I like the story overall despite the flaws and its a positive aspect of the campaign.
Map Design 3
Mapping consists largely of gaia object detail work and terrain mixing, but also includes aspects such as the impact upon the gameflow. In this case the latter prevents the score from dropping even further, as I found multiple areas inferior even to a random map. However, the gameplay was usually well served by the mapping, and the B&D in particular were fairly smooth and accessible. Many scenarios, and I've been replaying a lot of bad old scenarios from the smithy lately, have horrific mapping that damages the B&D in every way from difficulty in placing buildings to bad pathfinding to resources stacked in awkward places. This map does well to avoid these pitfalls.
Where the mapping is weakest surely has to be the water mixing, where I find it inferior even to what you can obtain with, lets say, the ES Baltic RMS. There are large, vast sections where most of the water on the screen is almost a single variant of ocean with maybe a few splotches of another type. In a campaign about Venice on the water, this really undermines the experience, especially considering how HD Editions strongest asset is arguably its 5 water palette which allows for incredible water creation. Even in the many areas where an adequate quantity of water mixing was attempted the poor shading technique results in terribly choppy and blocky water. This lacks an organic and smooth effect, and looks almost like some computer generated maps I've gotten from utilities. I would encourage the author to download and examine my own Mediterranean Pearl found here on the blacksmith, which contains a printout for easy accessibility, as a reference for good water.
Even on land, the lack of understanding regarding terrain mixing shows very clearly. The single tiles of land terrain such as dirt4 when placed atop grass stand out very clearly and looks poor. I would recommend the author avoid using advanced terrain mixing altogether and just use blocky chunks of small and medium sized brushes instead of the tiny brush in this case. Bad terrain mixing tends to look worse than no terrain mixing at all. This topic is too complex to handle within a review, so I may (hopefully) end up putting some screenshots to demonstrate the issue in the playthrough thread.
Conclusion: Despite Dandolo receiving what some consider to be a low 3.8 I do have a favorable impression of the campaign, and definitely hope the author continues on and makes improved campaigns like this on in the future. Its certainly worth a playthrough and I recommend downloading it. Note that subscribing to it on steam will probably give a slightly better experience rather than manually installing it.
I did the first level, it was incredible.
If the other levelsare good too, I will give 5 star.