With its lack of innovation, Myth III: The Wolf Age feels more like a giant standalone expansion pack than a new game. It does, however, offer an engrossing storyline that takes place a thousand years before the events in Myth: The Fallen Lords in addition to more of the solid tactical gameplay that made the previous games in the series so enjoyable.
Instead of 2D sprites on 3D terrain, Myth III: The Wolf Age features full 3D, with detailed, fluidly animated character models, some of which even have variants for added variety. For example, the basic infantryman has two models, one armed with a sword and one with an axe. Other graphical flourishes include real-time lighting, wind, and changing terrain. Compared to other genre titles released at the same time, Myth III's graphics are quite impressive and reflect the most significant improvement in the game.
Gameplay remains essentially unchanged from previous releases in the series. In most missions, you're limited to the soldiers you have at the beginning, and there are no towns to manage or resources to gather. To compensate for the absence of an economic management aspect, Myth III gives you much finer control over your troops. In addition to the genre-standard unit grouping, guard, and waypoint options, you can set ten different formations and utilize advanced tactical maneuvers like scatter and retreat.
Taking advantage of a large variety of terrain and weather factors in tactical planning is a must. High ground makes archers more effective, but strong winds blow their arrows off target. Rain and snow diminish your line of sight, while reducing the effectiveness of any fire-based attacks. The game makes a good concession to reality-based combat considerations.
The AI in The Wolf Age is smarter than that found in many RTS games, and is capable of using terrain to its advantage and even luring you into ambushes. Most of the time, you'll be severely outnumbered, which requires careful attack planning and offers a deep level of tactical decision-making not found in many RTS games. Some interesting puzzle-style missions provide good contrast to the pure tactical missions as well.
A few relatively minor problems include unclear specifics as to mission objectives, though usually killing everything that moves will take care of it. At times, though, you aimlessly wander until you accidentally trigger the victory conditions. Path finding is fairly poor, especially when sending a group of units to attack enemies behind an obstacle, as only a few soldiers will actually get there before becoming stuck and standing idly by like idiots.
The game's camera system is unnecessarily cumbersome; tweaking control settings and extensive practice is required to attain a comfort level. The dark and muddy colors of the tactical map make it blend with the similarly hued terrain textures, making it nearly invisible and navigation difficult. Search and destroy missions can also be frustrating since recognizing unexplored parts of the map can be difficult.
Myth III: The Wolf Age is an intense and enjoyable test of tactical skills that will please fans of previous Myth games as well as armchair strategists. Conversely, RTS players who prefer building armies rather than taking advantage of what's on hand will feel constrained by the game's approach.
Graphics: 3D graphics are remarkably good, with detailed character models and a number of visual effects like real time lighting and wind.
Sound: Sound effects and voice clips effectively enhance the realism of battle. A number of appealing but moody Celtic songs fit the game's theme perfectly.
Enjoyment: Myth III offers a level of tactical depth unparalleled by other games in the genre, and is an intense and enjoyable exercise in small unit tactics.
Replay Value: The replay value is limited due to the linearity. Enemy placement is pre-scripted, but you can try completing the same mission using a number of different approaches.
People who downloaded Myth 3: The Wolf Age have also downloaded:
Myth 2: Soulblighter, Myth: The Fallen Lords, Descent: FreeSpace - The Great War, No Man's Land, Lord of the Rings, The: The Battle for Middle Earth II, Lord of the Rings, The: Battle for Middle-Earth, MechCommander Gold, MechCommander 2
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