Games like Age of Wonders III offer complex strategy and roleplaying within an immersive and beautiful high fantasy setting. While the game is first and foremost one of empire building, it features significant RPG elements as the player’s leader is heavily customizable and their choice of class will have a knock-on effect on their empire and the unique units the leader can recruit. Dreadnoughts lead steampunk influenced societies whereas Theocrats favor the use of zealous followers and the use of holy magic and warriors.
The player must also choose to lead one of six races, humans, draconians, high elves, dwarves, orcs, and goblins. Whereas before alignment was determined by the race players chose, now it is developed based on the player’s actions and the cultures that they absorb into their empire. When capturing cities of a different race, players can choose to retain the native population and recruit their units or migrate another race to that city in an act of evil for their alignment.
Just like its forefather, Age of Wonders III has a fully fledged singleplayer campaign that is playable from both sides, following the struggle between the human controlled Commonwealth Empire and the Court of the High Elves. Singleplayer scenarios, multiplayer, random map sandbox, and a map editor are all also available. The game is also now fully 3D and replaces the previous isometric view.
Combat is turn-based and allows for multiple armies to take part at once. As well unit combat and abilities, heroes and leaders are able to utilize their magical power to boost unit stats, use magical attacks, or summon in new units.
As in previous games, the terrain is highly important with different races able to gain advantages over the ground they fight on. Dwarves, for example, will thrive in mountainous regions but suffer in the tropics. The game challenges the player on many levels and is essential for any fans of fantasy or grand strategy.