WHILE ENSEMBLE WERE concentrating on putting the final touches to their Stetsons and swinging saloon doors in Age Of Empires III, they only offered a cursory glance at the native population. Now, they've set about putting that right in this expansion by featuring three native American tribes; the Sioux, the Iroquois and the Aztecs.
As well as the expected units and buildings associated with a new race, the three tribes all have access to a Fire Pit which villagers dance around to procure new bonuses, from producing healer units to increasing the strength of your troops. This offers a new slant on tactics and with each tribe specialising in different areas (the Sioux, for example, have a very strong cavalry), the new races are well-balanced and a joy to play.
The new campaign follows the saga of the Black family and is presented with all the slickness you've come to expect from Ensemble, with a host of historically based and wellvaried missions. There are also a slew of other additions, many either new for the Europeans or aimed at balancing the new races in multiplayer.
If you're looking to expand either your single or multiplayer experience of AOE3, WarChiefs proves itself to be a slick affair and caters well for series fans.
However, it still doesn't address the simplistic combat and will make a full game-sized dent in your wallet, thus still leaving us, a bit like the tribes, with some reservations.
Little big chief