EQ2 is not too happy with my husband's computer right now, so I'll be letting him use my PC until we figure out what is going on. So I bought an expansion for an old title and been having fun with it, since it really doesn't need a powerful computer to run.
I used to have Age of Wonders and Age of Wonders 2 back in Brazil, but it got lost during my journey here. But GOG "helped me", and it was even cheaper than last time to get both of those games plus the expansion for Age of Wonders 2, called "Shadow Magic".
|Age of Wonders 1|
|Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic|
Combat is always each with their own turn to move. Movement points are in use here too, as well as the special movements, with highlights to the flying units and the wall climbers having an easy way here to conquer towns and towers with walls. The combat map is not just for cosmetics, since large stones and houses can provide you cover or be an annoyance to your archers and spell casters trying to kill from a safe distance.
Magic is another big point it the game. Each hero/wizard will have an affinity sphere of magic, which can be either fire, water, air, earth, life and death, with cosmos arriving in AW2. Having an affinity, there are also different sphere points that will allow you to mix some of these schools of magic. So while you can have an affinity with fire and rain fireballs at your enemies, you can add some points in life for healing spells also.
Your spellbook is shared between all spellcasters. Spellcasting is a hero skill, and not all of them will have it. In such cases though, you can save up experience points and purchase the skill. To learn new spells you either research or find them for sale while exploring. Research and mana regeneration share a slider, so you can either have more mana per turn or spend less turns on research.
|Combat in Age of Wonders 1|
|Combat in Age of Wonders 2|
|Magic spheres as seen in Age of Wonders 2: SM|
Your spells are separated in Global, Unit and Combat. Global spells can affect the world map and summon creatures: eagles, fire storms and blessings or curses upon whole cities. Unit spells can be cast from the world map or combat to buff and heal your units, or curse and debuff enemies. And combat spells, as the name suggests, are only available during combat, being damage dealing or debuffing combat area effects.
Being good, neutral or evil is what makes diplomacy useful. You can make peace or war, or even choose to have an allied victory. It can be a relief in some maps where you are surrounded by all sides, and once allied, at least one of the corners you won't need to be watching for attacks anymore. Also gives you a feeling of how multiplayer could go which is a modality of this game that I have never tried. Other then multiplayer, you can even play by... e-mail. I don't think nowadays anyone would have patience for that though!
|Spellbook as seen in Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic|
|And example of diplomacy in Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic|
Each race has different units. Some of them can be a little alike, such as the fact that each race will have a basic foot soldier unit, and an archer, but they'll still have different stats. And then differences just keep growing, like some races being stronger or weaker against certain kinds of magic.
If you are interested, both games do have demonstrations to download and try to see for yourself what I'm trying to explain here. Also, both editions of the game have active modding communities. AND both games do have map/campaign editors which are shared on that same community, which are their HeavenGames websites.
|The Races of Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic|
The games are available at Steam, Impulse and GamersGate also, but I am not sure if there are any price differences when compared to GOG.