Age of Empires III. About as good as it predecessors.
Make no mistake about it; Empire Earth IS a copy of Age of Empires. It looks, plays, and sounds the same. The graphics are the same, the interface is the same, the game is the same, right down to the resources and what they look like. The ONLY difference is that this game tacks on more technological development, right up to modern times and the "nano age."
This is a shameless ripoff in every way, but to its credit, it does it well. Age of Empires IS a good game, and so is Empire Earth. The graphics are crisp and easy on the eye, the interface is smooth, the sound is great and the gameplay is just as good as when Microsoft published it as Age of Empires. And it IS an upgrade; there are some nice rules changes, and far more units.
The game has two major flaws. the first is the AI - which, incidentally, doesn't play fair. The computer doesn't follow the same rules the player does, as a result of which computer players are absurdly strong. Even at the lowest difficulty level, giving the player every possible advantage, the computer seems to get free resources and buildings Winning is very difficult, and will only happen with some luck.
The second is that in an effort to expand the game to modern times, the game zips by the technology progression way too fast. Whereas Age of Empires had four or five "Eras," this game has 15. The differences between Classical and Byzantine techs don't seem really apparent when you're buzzing through them at a rate of one era every fifteen minutes. The game's "epic" Civilization-style scope of the entirety of human history seems very contrived against a standard Age of Empires map.
The Bottom Line
Not the epic masterpiece it's being described as, and not a necessary purchase if you still enjoy your Age of Empires II set.