I saw on AoE3 Heaven this afternoon that a group of enterprising Age of Empires III fans had designed an expansion for the game–Napoleonic Era. New civilizations. New units. New maps. How could I not take a look?
Thusly curious, I downloaded the install file.
Napoleonic Era adds several new map types, some European, some not, but designed to reflect the worldwide nature of warfare in the colonial era. (The French and Indian War, after all, was the first world conflict, stretching from Europe to North America to the Indian subcontinent.) It also adds some civilizations, such as the Austrians, the Italians, and the United States. And it adds new units, like the Miner, a specialized villager that can only mine.
Once I installed the files I fired up a game–Vinland map, the United States as my civilization.
Color me impressed. It was like the same, but not the same.
Some units were redesigned. Every character avatar–like when the head of state of an allied or enemy civilization communicates with the player–was different. There were new sounds. The tech trees were redesigned. Quite simply, it was like the Age of Empires III I’ve played for a year, but slightly different. In good ways.
If you’re an Age of Empires III fan, as I am, it’s worth the download, even if only for curiosity’s sake. (And for an expansion, it’s a small download–about eighteen megs.) The guys who did this, just at first glance, did a fantastic job. This Age junkie salutes them. 🙂