One of the most welcome additions in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition are the Art of War Challenges which provide new players and returning players the foundations to improve their gameplay strategies. Like the Art of War challenges in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, I appreciated the limited scope of most missions which helped me learn the basics of the game without demanding too much. With excitement I started completing the challenges one by one until I hit a snag.
When I started the Build Orders challenge it took me completely off-guard. Suddenly I was confronted by a quick-firing never ending list of primary objectives that proved to be quite hectic and it seemed like objectives were marked complete on a delay. At the end of my first attempt at the challenge and multiple replays, I only managed to earn a bronze metal. I hope the team can reduce the difficulty of this particular challenge a little to make it a little less demanding as well as fix the bug with primary objectives completion. Given how demanding the challenge, it’s quite possible that I missed something during the mission which threw off the triggers for completion of one or more primary objectives.
The other challenge which I found more difficult than the rest was Land Battle where you choose a unit composition to counter the A.I. Since I am less knowledgeable which unit counter choices are suitable in Age of Empires III as much as the first two Age of Empires games, this also proved to be difficult. During the first few confrontations the unit counters were fairly intuitive for me but by the end I felt like I was guessing more than actually knowing what to do. For these reasons, I recommend that new and returning players make Land Battle and Build Orders their final challenges.
Regardless of player experience level, what was not clear to me when I loaded up the Art of War challenges was how the grid view of the Art of War challenge missions represented the recommended order of completion. Are the easiest missions top-left and the hardest missions bottom-right or are the easiest missions top row and the hardest missions bottom row? Neither appears to be true. I hope this can be addressed in a future update.
Another thing that I would have liked is that after first time the cinematic was clicked it would go straight into the challenge instead of bringing me back to the Art of War menu. At the end of watching the cinematic for the first time, I was ready to jump into the challenge! Bringing me back to the Art of War menu left me confused.
Overall I feel that the Art of War challenges are just what new and returning players need to become better at playing the game. Most are easy to moderately difficult. This is the right approach in my opinion. I hope that like Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, more challenges are added in the future based upon feedback from the fans. There is a lot of potential with this new feature of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition.
Which Art of War challenge are you most excited about playing? Leave a comment below!