Age of Empires III/YMMV

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  • Breather Level: The Delaware mission in The WarChiefs. You don't even need to go straight away to the first mission, you might even be more interested in exploring the map and getting the treasures, because you're going to need them later. Not to mention that at some point of the exploration, you'll get a Courier Des Bois (a french settler) who can get the supplies scattered across the map for you. And later you'll find a Huron native settlement where you can build a trading post so you can get even more units, which will also come in handy for destroying the ships which hold even more units. You can even get some decent artillery units before doing the first mission. By the time you're finished with the side missions, an otherwise difficult mission becomes piece of cake, and you can get a big army with just a few resources.
  • Complete Monsters:
    • Each and every single one of the Circle's leaders.
    • George Edwardson, Nanib's superior in India. After Nanib convinces some rebels to stop fighting and go home, Edwardson ambushes them and then happily praises Nanib for sending them into his trap. His callous disregard for the Indian people makes it clear from the beginning that he's a bad guy.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • The model of the Mediterranean Home City Cathedral is based on Florence's despite that none of the Home Cities available are called "Florence" (or any other Italian city for that matter).
    • Good luck trying to find a Catholic Cathedral resembling St. Paul's in Amsterdam.
  • Game Breaker: The Sioux Rifle Rider. They have the same bonuses as melee cavalry but they can attack from a distance.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Alain Magnan.
    • Also, Ieyasu Tokugawa.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In Shadow, Chayton was tracking down Crazy Horse in an attempt to negotiate peace between the Sioux and the settlers. Holme trails him and attempts to assassinate Crazy Horse, completely wrecking any chance for peace between the settlers and the Sioux, so he could take the gold from the Sioux.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The snarky remarks made by computer players.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Most players avoid naval-oriented maps altogether due to Arbitrary Headcount Limits on each ship type and the incredible strain watching a naval battle puts on most low-to-middle-end computers. A later patch fixes the performance issues with naval units, but the mortar/monitor/rocket shell explosions will still put a strain on low-end PCs.
  • Sequelitis: The general consensus among fans is that Age of Empires III fell short in comparison to the previous installments.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Using entirely fictional stories backdropped to historical events instead of entirely historical campaigns like the previous games. Especially glaring is the ample material in North American history from the time period used in the game. This does not apply to the second expansion although it does take a few liberties with things (i.e. the Chinese being the first to discover America and erasing proof of their presence). This is especially egregious considering that the first two Age of Empires games had several campaigns, all based on real historical events.
    • The first expansion had Nathaniel Black, son of John Black, as the main character of the "Fire" Campaign (which revolved around the Iroquois), and Chayton Black, the son of Amelia Black, as the main character of the "Shadow" Campaign (where you played as the Sioux). Considering the expansion pack introduces 3 new civilizations, as well as the fact that we didn't learn anything about John Black's father Phillipe in the first game, you'd think they'd have him be the main character of a campaign where you played as the Aztecs (the third civilization introduced) to complete the trifecta, but nope.
      • Morgan and Lizzie had four sons. They split, Morgan raised two (John's father, Phillipe, and Stuart) and Lizzie raised two. We never hear anything of the other two raised by a Pirate Girl, not even in the expansions.
    • Only the Sioux, the Japanese, the Chinese and the Indians are actually playable in the campaigns. For everything else, it's either the Knights of Malta or the Black family. Special regards go to the Portuguese and Dutch, who don't even show up as enemies in the campaigns.
    • Many of the European empires present in the game actually interacted with India, China, Japan, and the rest of Asia quite a bit during the time period covered, but you wouldn't get that idea from the Asian campaigns beyond the British in India.
    • The decision to make the game about American colonization, first and foremost. Imagine how different it could have been if that central role had been given to Old World conflicts with names as suggestive as The Thirty Years War, The Eighty Years War, or the Polish Deluge.
    • The lack of any official Expansion to cover Africa, which had plenty of European colonization and interaction within the time period covered. It is the subject of some fan made expansion, like the "Italy and Africa Mod" and The King's Return.
    • Unlike in previous games, you can't play games with more than two teams, nor have a skirmish game against an AI player using the same civilization as yours unless you make it in the editor.
  • Vindicated by History: While it bore mixed reactions among fans during release, it's since considered by at least some to be a great Age of Empires game in its own right.