Today is the official release date of Microsoft’s long awaited sequal to Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings, Age of Mythology. So, for lunch today Domincia and I went out to the mall and stopped by Electronics Boutique to see about picking up the new game. They had a large pile of them sitting on the floor so we gave it a try. The graphics in the new game are pretty amazing, especially the water scenes. It is done in the same style as Empire Earth but without the changing camera zooms like EE had. Overall, though, the game just doesn’t live up to its predecessor. AoE2 was just too good of a game and we all agree that they should have focused on bringing out a really good expansion pack to AoE2 rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. EE had already covered a lot of this ground and basically they have managed to make easy and hard versions of very similar games. Overall, I think I prefer to play EE over AoM even though AoM definitely has better graphics and sound (however, it is newer and EE has a new expansion pack out that I have not had a chance to see yet.) AoM is easier to play than AoE2 from a total game complexity stand point which is the opposite of what I had been hoping for. Instead of making the next big thing for hardcore AoE and AoE2 players, they simply managed to make a good beginners RTS. Definitely not what we were looking for. And all of the mythology stuff is just really silly and not impressive at all. At least to those of us who have tried it, the mythology just doesn’t work that well in game play. It is such a hard to understand and silly thing that it isn’t really all that much fun.
In addition to playing AoM today, I also downloaded the demo disk from Gentoo of Unreal Tournament 2003. The demo disk is really neat because it boots off of a CD just like a console (or older computer a la Commodore 64, Amiga 1000, etc.) so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your software is compatabile, just your hardware. Anyway, the game came right up and it looks totally amazing. This has to be the best 3D graphics that I have ever seen in a game. You could see individual blades of grass. This game is going to be really popular.
After playing a number of games this evening, Dominica and I sat down and watched Paint Your Wagon. What a great movie. My parents were huge fans of the musical and I grew up with the music from it always playing so the movie is very reminiscent for me. I have only seen the movie a couple of times but I know the music really well. Especially because I used a couple of the songs for audition pieces back in my college days.