To begin with, at first look its a fair bit different from what Age of Empire II fans will be used to which is not only on the visual element. The graphics are very nice and the destruction effects are very well made & different every time because of the engine they used. (Good idea). The naval combat is also very graphicly beautiful but lower spec computers need to watch out as they are more intense than the rest of the games graphics & effects and make your computer work a fair bit harder resulting in possible lag or jagged camera movement. The game doesnt span as many years as Age of Empires II did which is not realy a bad thing but does mean that the units dont change very much over the game. They also introduced an experiance & reward card system for normal games which is a nice addition. On the downside its quite different from Age of Empires II which in itself is always going to happen with a new game in a series but this time around it is quite noticable. This game would have been a great game if Microsoft & Ensemble Studio had combined the much loved Age of Empires II gameplay with the nice graphics & effects of Age of Empires III along with some of the nice new features it offers but left the game fundementals the same.