The 24-mission campaign is very well designed. Divided into three large acts, it tells the story of three generations of the Black family. First Morgan Black, a Knight of St. John races to the New World to stop the Spanish from seizing a powerful natural wonder. Next, Morgan's grandson John and his Native American allies find themselves in the Seven Year's War. The final act shows John's granddaughter Amelia as the head of a railroad company making their way west.
I won't spoil the particulars of the story here but a common quest and a common enemy unite all three acts. The connections aren't always clear at first, but the associations start to build as the game goes on. Putting the pieces together isn't terribly hard but it gives a nice sense of purpose to the whole game and keeps you invested in the action.
While we're talking about the game's story, it's refreshing to see a game that covers this era of warfare without referencing either Napoleon or the American Revolution. While both are fertile ground for strategy game developers, it's nice to get something a little different this time around. Meeting Washington and Bolivar and taking part in the Seven Year's War adds a little authenticity as well as variety. On the other hand, some of the choices -- like finding Russians in Colorado -- may leave gamers scratching their heads in wonder.
The range of missions is pretty broad. There are plenty of defense missions where you have to protect a given structure or a whole town from enemy assault. In other cases you'll have to destroy or capture key structures. Along the way there are plenty of other objectives: rescuing captured settlers, seizing trading posts, liberating Native American settlements and a whole host of other tasks. Better still, many missions combine a variety of these objectives at once. While most of the missions let you build a base and start collecting resources, there are some missions where you have to make do with a set number of troops.
The following are the minimum requirements for a computer to run Age of Empire III:
* Microsoft Windows XP
* A computer that has a 1.4 gigahertz (GHz) processor
* 256 megabytes (MB) of system RAM
* A hard disk that has at least 2 gigabytes (GB) of available space
* A 32x speed CD drive
* A 64 MB video card that supports Hardware Transform and Lighting
* An audio card and speakers or headphones
* A Microsoft mouse or a compatible pointing device
* A 56.6 kilobytes per second (KBps) or faster Internet connection for
* DirectX 9.0c
Age of Empires 3 Expansion 1 : The WarChiefs :
Age of Empires 3 Expansion 2 : Asian Dynasties :