"Annidus the King" is a campaign heavily influenced by the Atilla and Mongol ES campaigns, and is heavily derivative of both in scene usage and dialogue. Unfortunately the main downfall is that the scenarios are largely just random maps that have been tweaked a bit and a lack of custom AI support meant the enemies played very poorly. All in all it falls short of the ES materiel it seeks to emulate.
The early maps fell into the category of skirmish mode materiel, albeit with the player having some heroes and a bit of story to follow. The maps were exceedingly easy with the player's heroes having attack buffs, enabling him to rush the enemies early on. Later when this was not as feasible, the player had enormous resources available to pump out the dreaded Mangudai which shred all opposition without effort. Besides this the maps were quite uncomfortable to play, such as in mission 3 when an allied AI is in your town and will put large buildings like castles and universities next to your TCs where you wanted to put farms. In addition the AI are left to the default settings, so they spam walls everywhere, change alliances freely, and this all creates a very poor experience.
Some maps were won before fulfilling or even finding the objectives, while others seemed to not have proper trigger endings even when all enemies were defeated so i had to cheat through. Mission four seems broken, or at least i couldn't get any triggers to fire and give me villagers like the objectives said. Mission 5 had a neutral inhabitant player given infinite resources, which was quite annoying as they began spamming wonders and castles in ways that im certain was not planned for.
Representative of the balance was the way in which the player can straightforwardly win scenario one. He has two ranged horsemen heroes with beefed up attack, and these two units were enough to win the scenario without the creation of any additional military assets whatsoever, against three AI in unrestricted B&D mode. The scouts report billed grey as the mightiest enemy, and they did have over a dozen cavalry archers and many support units, but with some hit and run tactics to lure their vast numbers into confined spaces they were annihilated in a matter of minutes. These heroes could run into their woodlines, mining camps, and farm areas, kill every villager and even kill off any responding army with ease. This state of affairs continued directly into scenario two, where i managed to defeat both enemies within just a few minutes by searching out their base ASAP and parking cavalry archers, mangudai, and my heroes around their TCs, picking off villagers until they finally resigned.
Mission three didn't have this issue, with hordes of enemies that were difficult to kill off with just the rush tactic. However it was an extremely easy mission with the player having resources to make 3 castles right off the bat, and the map containing resources in the zillions. I had 4k stone at the end, and many of the maps in the campaign suffered from this resource saturation problem.
As alluded to in the opening, the campaign leans heavily on the ES model, and many scenes and dialogues seemed like they were based directly off the ES missions. This is not inherently bad, for a creative campaign could be made using the ES ideas and expanding and fleshing them out. However there was nothing of the sort here and the scenarios were entirely simplistic in construction.
Map Design 2
The maps on the whole gave the impression of either being modified random maps or custom maps that were crafted to be a perfect match. Either way the terrain was not particularly inspired, and worse was the snowy areas added, as it was extremely splotchy, as if someone had painted a wall by flicking a paintbrush with white paint at it. They are entirely nondescript with no defining features or terrain work that could be commented on much.
There was a storyline throughout, but i had difficulty following it with the interruptions due to trigger issues. Also, the dialogue was presented using the chat function, as opposed to the far superior print instructions method. This forced the player to squint to discern the text and after awhile i mostly gave up and stopped paying attention to it.
Here is my summary of the story:There was once a Mangudai hero and a cavalry archer hero. Both had sky high attack and dreams of conquering Asia. One day they left Mongolia, traveling the continent. They shot dead every man who had on a different color tunic than them. One day they found a land filled with castles that couldn't be shot dead so easily so they went back to Mongolia, recruited many more Mangudai, and then they all teamed up to shoot dead everything in Asia. The End.
Conclusion:A somewhat low effort campaign that ranks a bit below the ES materiel.