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Usually I'll get all the way through a trailer before I decide whether it is worth covering. However, once in a while I'll come across something that makes that decision much, much easier. Any trailer that features a cup of tea is going to receive plus points. Any trailer that has a cup of tea being stirred atop a monolithic steam punk tank, well, that's a definite post.

See the wonder for yourself in the Age of Wonders III trailer below.

It's amazing what tea can do for a game. Up till that striking image, the trailer for Age of Wonders suggested another fairly bland fantasy world that's been sipping too long at Tolkein's teat. Now I'm quite taken with it. Granted, blending in steam punk to fantasy generica will probably become dull in time for the moment I like it. It's new(ish).

Also, the game itself, from those minuscule glimpses of actual footage, not concept art animated like a South Park episode, looked to show a colourful world with well drawn characters. Considering the developers, Triumph Studios, are responsible for the Overlord games, as well as the previous Age of Wonders games, I'd expect nothing less. The Overlord games were poking fun at the raging war between man and hell long before Orcs Must Die got in on the act.

Due out in August this year, Age of Wonders is apparently "a modern reimagining of the series [...] introducing unique RPG-inspired classes and specializations".

Reading through the details over on the game's website it actually sounds like quite an interesting game, one which is playing with the tropes of fantasy games: "In Age of Wonders 3, we extrapolate RPG style classes to be the leaders of fantasy empires. For example: as a Goblin Theocrat you can build your own holy empire, recruit little goblin crusaders or cute winged goblin angels equipped with flaming weapons, and wage war on your heathen enemies. We want players to be able to choose between lots of different play styles, without being restricted by fantasy clichés, like All Goblins Are Evil." 

Here are Age of Wonders III's key features stripped from the game's website:

  • Explore, expand and exploit a living fantasy world. Discover wondrous locations and gather legendary heroes.
  • Develop your domain, with many classes having the ability to change terrain and climates to suit your needs.
  • All new 3D graphics that provide a crisper and more detailed overview of the world and battle maps.
  • New styles of play are possible with the introduction of RPG style leader classes like warlord, theocrat, rogue and sorcerer, along with a wide selection of specializations.
  • Command a variety of races. Pick your starting race and shape your people’s destiny using your leader’s unique skills.
  • A brand-new tactical battle system renders each battlefield and siege in great detail; new rules include flanking and a massive set of special unit abilities.
  • An epic story campaign with two playable factions; Choose the mighty Commonwealth Empire or join the Court of the High Elves, founded after the reunion of the Dark Elves and Wood Elves.
  • Compete online in extensive multiplayer modes and scenarios.
  • High replay value through random maps, difficulty modes and tools allowing user created content.

I'm going to look further into this one. First, though, I'm going to make a cup of tea.

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