About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)
Age of Wonders II is the wildly anticipated sequel to the award-winning strategy phenomenon.
Delivering an invigorating mix of Empire Building, Role-playing, and Warfare, Age of Wonders II brings turn-based strategy to new heights.
Awakened to join an immortal group of Wizards in the Circle of Evermore, you must restore balance to a world on the brink of collapse.
Explore a world full of mythical creatures and mysterious lands. Build an impressive force as an all-powerful Wizard through dangerous perils and exhilarating challenges.
Dictate the fate of the world from within your Wizard's Tower, a transmitter of power used to channel your ground-shaking spells.
Immerse yourself in a legendary story during a single-player campaign with 20 scenarios full of intrigue, action, and suspense.
Reign supreme over one of 12 distinct and races such as Elves, Frostlings, Draconians, Dwarves, Halflings, Humans, and even the Undead.
Conquer your enemies with over 130 unique units such as steam cannons, airships and mammoth riders.
Specialize in 7 spheres of magic including Air, Fire, Life and Death.
Enlist the aid of more than 30 loyal champion heroes who possess the unique ability to wield over 100 mighty artifacts.
Research and cast powerful enchantments, fierce combat magic, and world altering spells.
Confront rivals in Multiplayer via a LAN or over the Internet for up to 8 players - options include Play by Email, Hot Seat, and the exciting Simultaneous-Turn System allowing all players to move at the same time!
Expectations and Prior Experience
I've already played the first game of the series and it felt promising but primitive, so I'm hoping that a sequel will add polish that the original lacked. That being said, my twelve minutes with this game were expressly for the purpose of checking to see whether the most annoying part of the original's user interface (the fact that it didn't automatically jump to units with unused moves before ending the turn) was fixed and I discovered that it wasn't.
In all likelihood, I'm going to have the same basic problem I had with the original game - however interesting the strategic challenge proves to be, it will be at least partially overshadowed by the physical and mental strain of navigating the game engine. I'm not looking forward to keeping a mental list of all my active units in order to ensure that I don't waste their turns by skipping ahead prematurely, and it is likely that if this basic quality-of-life feature is not present (seriously, Civilization II came out 6 years earlier and managed to get that right) than there are other user-interface bombs waiting for me as well.
That said, I'm a soft touch for turn-based strategy, so if I manage to get into the game early, I expect time will fly by.