Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is Microsoft’s second instalment to the real-time strategy video game series Age of Empires. After being released for the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems in 1999, the game was ported to the PlayStation2 platform by Konami in 2001.
Set in the Dark Ages, the game lets players choose one of the thirteen playable civilizations and lead it to world dominance. To conquer their rivals, players must stockpile resources to establish towns and raise armies needed to destroy enemy units and buildings. Playable civilizations include the Britons, Byzantines, Celts, Chinese, Goths, Franks, Japanese, Mongols, Persians, Saracens, Teutons, Turks and Vikings. The Age of Kings has several game modes: campaign, random map, and death match. Multiplayer games are also supported by The Age of Kings over the Internet or via local area network.
Ensemble Studios, also the developer of the first Age of Empires game, made a lot of adjustments in the sequel to set it apart from its predecessor. First, the development of a new terrain system with 3D presentation capabilities gave the game a sharper and cleaner look compared to previous games from the genre. Structural units are presented to scale, and architecture from each civilization in the game is distinct and well-rendered. Second, a more dynamic AI was designed to make game play more challenging compared to Age of Empires. There is constant interplay between the enhanced AI and the new triggers system introduced in the scenario editor, and this makes single player campaigns more compelling. In addition, the game engine’s path-finding system was also redesigned to make the movement of player units and coordination of attacks easier for the player.
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