Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties is the second of two expansion packs released for the acclaimed real time strategy game, Age of Empires III. This expansion pack requires Age of Empires III in order to play but does not require the first expansion pack, Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs, to work. This expansion pack was generally well received by critics. It was mostly praised for it's tweaks to the graphics and the new, unique Asian Civilizations.
This expansion adds three new playable civilizations to the game; India, Japan and China, each with their own monk which act as explorers or War Chiefs from previous titles. The game also adds 6 new minor tribes; Sufis, Shaolin, Zen, Udasi, Bhakti and Jesuits, which are not playable.
Indian civilizations starts with two elephant-mounted monks, both of whom can heal nearby units. Villagers cost wood instead of the usual food for other civilizations. Unique units include: Gurkha, Howdah, Siege Elephants, Sowars, Raiput, Zamburak, Sepoys, Mahout Lancers
This civilization starts with two monk units; Daimyo and Shogun. Both have the 'Divine Strike' ability used to finish of guardians or enemies, and Daimyo unit trains and enhances troops. The civilization also has the ability to use most home city cards twice. Unique units include Yabusame, Samurai, Yumi, Naginata Rider, Ashigaru and Flaming Arrow.
The Chinese start with only one monk as well as one disciple. The Chinese monk has the largest attack units of any explorer or monk for any civilization in the game. The civilization has the unique advantage of having a higher population cap than any other; 220 rather than the typical 200. Unique units include: Arquebusier, Meteor Hammer, Qiang Pikemen, Changdow, Chinese Flamethrower, Steppe Rider, Chu Ko Nu, and Iron Flail.
The campaigns featured in the new expansion pack are all based around the three new civilizations. This expansion pack welcomed back the return of the historical campaign from Age of Empires
and Age of Empires II
; meaning the campaigns are based on true historical events instead of a story based narrative style story.
- Indian Campaign: The Indian campaign centers around the Revolt of 1857. The main protaganist is Nanib Sahir, who is part of the Sepoy group that works with the British East Indian Trading Company. Following the events that ensue Nanib sees the cruel and abusive ways of the Company toward the Indian people and he leads a revolution to fight against the British.
- Japanese Campaign: The Japanese campaign focuses on the reunification of Japan; mainly concentrating on the Tokugawa Shotgunate (a feudal regime from the time). Players control the Tokugawa Shotgunate people through several scenarios leading up the the final Battle of Sekigahara. The actual story of this campaign is focused on Sakum Kichiro, a young general in the army.
- Chinese Campaign: The Chinese campaign is based on the expedition of a Chinese treasure ship in America before Colombus. The main protagonist is the ships captain Jian Huang. On their journey to the new world they are attacked by many enemies including Wokou pirates, Indian soldiers, Aztecs, and a mutinous Admiral.
The Export resource, only available for the Asian civilizations, allows the player to hire foreign troops in exchange for this resource and research tech from the Consulate. Exports, like other resources, are gathered automatically by villagers, but the rate at which they can gather it is much slower than the basic ones. This can possibly make it prohibitively expensive to hire a large foreign army.
Four new game modes were added into the game. Three are brand new to the series and one is an old fan favorite. The new modes include;
- Regicide: An old fan favorite and a staple in Age of Empires II. The goal is simply to kill the other players king. Your must defend your king as well.
- King of the Hill: A staple these days, the goal is to capture a fort and hold it for a certain amount of time.
- Treaty: The player can put a treaty in place so no one can attack until a certain time into the game. You can also block the other teams ports
- Treaty with No Blockade: Same thing as above but with no blockades allowed.
Many veteran players of the Age of Empires series lamented at the fact that wonders were missing from Age of Empires III. The Asian Dynasties put wonders back into place again, but they are only available for the three new Asian civilizations. Rather then picking an explorer to advance in age, the three Asian civilizations build a wonder each with their own unique pay offs, as follows: China
| Porcelain Tower|| It generates a trickle of whatever the player chooses: food, wood, coin, experience points, or export points.|
| Confucian Academy|| Spawns a flying crow on a regular basis.|
| Summer Palace|| Spawns a banner army of whatever the player chooses, however, it is slower than training banner armies in the War Academy.|
| Temple of Heaven|| Heals all your units on the map once. It also gives your monk the ability to heal units.|
| White Pagoda|| Increases attack and hitpoints of your monk and disciples. It also allows you to train more disciples.|
| Taj Mahal|| Allows the player to use a 'Cease Fire' ability.|
| Karni Mata|| Provides a gathering bonus to all nearby villagers.|
| Agra Fort|| It is a strong fortress. However, it is still weaker than a European Fort.|
| Tower of Victory|| Gives your military units 'Inspiration' for a short period of time. This means that their attack, speed and hit points increase.|
| Charminar Gate|| Enables the training of an improved 'mansabdar' version of normal units |
| Toshugu Shrine|| A large Shine that increase all other shrine's income. It also provides trade.|
| Giant Buddha|| Reveals enemy locations for a short period of time. It also provides Naginata Riders.|
| Golden Pavilion|| Contains advanced arsenal technology and also provides a bonus of the players choice to all military units. It also provides Yumi Archers|
| The Shogunate|| Makes all military units train faster and cost less to create. It also provides Daimyo units and experience points.|
| Torii Gates|| Increases the civilizations' shipment points by 1.5x. It also provides Samurai units.|
System Requirements As written on the back cover of the box
Minimum System Requirements:
- Operating System: Windows XP or Higher
- Processor: 1.4 GHz
- Memory: 256 MB
- Hard Drive: 2 GB free hard drive space (plus space for Age of Empires III)
- Video Card: 64 MB with support for hardware transformation and lighting
Online/Multiplayer System Requirements
- 56k dial-up Internet Access or LAN