Spotlight On Biscuit – Age Of Empires Online

By Quintin Smith on May 14th, 2011 at 12:57 pm.

It's all Greek to m*bang*

In this week’s Spotlight on Biscuit, inimitable UK games commenter Total Biscuit (inimitable unless you have a thick British accent and a pot of coffee that’s more sugar than liquid, anyway) has taken a closer look at Age of Empires Online. A wise choice, seeing as it’s a curious game that’s better seen in motion than read about. Also, I put a rare biscuit to the test- the Boland’s Jam Mallow.

The Jam Mallow is an Irish confection (you might find it in the International Foods aisle if you live in the UK) consisting of a slightly doughy biscuit, on top of which are two rows of small mallow peaks, covered in that kind of pink candy fur. GOOD THINGS ABOUT IT: Excellent mouthfeel. BAD THINGS ABOUT IT: The inlay holds biscuits in stacks of two, which causes the mallow on top of the lower biscuit to stick to the biscuit proper of the biscuit above it. CONCLUSION: S’alright.

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80 Comments »

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  1. King Toko says:

    The yogscast guys do similar videos to this, funny to watch too.

    Edit: I have been looking for those biscuits for ages but I couldn’t remember the name, now I do. Sweet.

    • Antsy says:

      You might want to check out Biscuit and the Yogscasters very entertaining Magika vids.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Shame they haven’t done one for weeks…

      Still, good content from both and it’s great to see TB’s content on RPS.

    • Flappybat says:

      They joy of Yogscast is how crap they are at every game they play. They will balls something up every video, the highlight being when they went to demonstrate death knights in the wrath of the lichking beta and accidentally made dwarf warriors.

    • afarrell says:

      This would be fine except they are also used as actual guides by some sites – an example being my WoW guild wiping over and over again on Magmaw until we decided to look at another guide and realised that all the others were based on a much sounder strategy.

  2. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    I must say despite seeing Total Biscuit posting on Something Awful fairly regularly it is thanks to RPS featuring his great WTF series that I became a fan of his. I have also joined the several thousand strong group of people that follow his efforts to escape Gold League in SC2.

    So thanks RPS and thanks TB.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Indeed, I’ve retired from playing SC2 but still very enjoy watching his trial and tribulations (FUCKING 27 SUPPLY rofl) on ladder. Also Space Pirates and Zombies has him as narrator – good stuff.

  3. Moni says:

    I don’t know why I’m always so glad that a biscuit gets named-checked, because all biscuits are awesome. You can’t possibly name a biscuit that can not be liked.

  4. Zurechial says:

    Boland’s Jam Mallows are usually known as Jacob’s Mikados here in Ireland. Seems to be the same company.
    Wiki: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Jacob%27s_biscuits

    Just in case anyone was interested..

    They are good though. And yeah, sticking to the one below/above in the packet always bothered me too, but if they changed it now I’d be horrified. “These aren’t my Mikados!”

  5. frenz0rz says:

    “Soft, crumbly biscuits topped with mallow and raspberry flavour jam, sprinkled with coconut.!”

    I dont eat biscuits that often, but even to me that sounds bloody amazing. Any idea where I might be able to purchase these in the UK? Got a Morrisons and an Asda near me, but im not too familiar with the sweets/biscuit sections.

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      Try the international foods Irish section in Asda m8, I’m sure I’ve seen them there. And they rock, not had any for years.

  6. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    The doughy texture of the biscuit always gave me the impression, however false, that it had gone stale, thus I have never liked the jam mallow.

    There’s nothing worse than a biscuit that has lost its crunch.

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    Have any RPS commenters (or the writers themselves) tried it? What did you think?

    • D3xter says:

      It’s pretty good from a gameplay perspective, unfortunately you’ll have to install Games for Windows Live (where you have to make a “Xbox Account”), Windows Live Marketplace, Windows Live ID and some other stuff before you can even start to do that…
      Unfortunately I’ve got noone to play it with so far and I’m alone in the Beta so I only played up to about Level10. PvP was especially nice so far as my tactics have always worked out for now (for instance starve the enemy out of gold so he can’t build units or building a wall around my city and forcing him to attack me and lose most of his troops so I can go counter etc.) :P
      It’s a game where you build mass armies and send em into battle so there’s less “micro-management” and the likes like in StarCraft as far as I can tell and the persistant “capital city” concept is interesting, but there’s browser games out there that take it to a different level where you can build multiple cities and you can even attack other people.

    • Mr_Initials says:

      I thought he meant the biscuit. It sounds great but I’m not sure if i can get one in Ohio. As for the game I’ve played it but not to the point of being able to have a great view of the it. Personally I don’t think it is a bad game.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Browser games that take it to a different level with city building… that are real time strategies?

    • Towercap says:

      I have. It’s lovely. Very much an AoE game. Give it a go.

    • mejobloggs says:

      Feels very AOE2 ish. Liking it so far, although… I just want to skirmish grrr. VIdeo did mention level 10 has skirmish or something so I’ll see how it goes

  8. ketch0r says:

    I really loved this video, i actually watched it earlier this week when it went up on his channel, I immediately felt the need to play it in all of its nostalgic yet new glory, i downloaded it and started it up, SORRY WE CANT RETREIVE YOUR GAMERTAG. So I’ve had to push it aside with Bulletstorm, two games I will never ever be able to play because of GFWL.

  9. Sidorovich says:

    Boo. They’ve run of beta keys :(

    • Althilor says:

      Pretty sure if you sign up for an account on curse.com you get a beta key. At least that was what happened a week ago.

  10. hosndosn says:

    It’s free2play, right? There must be a catch. There always is.

    • poop says:

      gfwl.

    • Rii says:

      Oooh, thanks for that lower-case rendition. Flipped a switch in my head and now I have a new nick-name for GFWL: Godawful.

    • mejobloggs says:

      This latest version gfwl seems millions of times better than when I last tried it

  11. Bhazor says:

    When will we get a review for Vindictus and Duchy Original Biscuits (The private biscuits of Prince Charles)?

    • bill says:

      Duchy Originals aren’t proper English biscuits – they’re for tourists who are stuck in Heathrow duty free.

      PS/ I’m disappointed to find out that a Vindictus isn’t a biscuit at all.

  12. El Stevo says:

    I don’t see why you’d wreck a perfectly nice biscuit by putting coconut on it.

  13. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    I can’t help but feel that they’d get a lot more goodwill and sales from people if they’d just remade the original AoE and left it at that, rather than hamstringing (and then kneecapping and curbstomping and everything else abhorrent) the multiplayer by restricting your tech tree by level. And the singleplayer soon gets to become a total chore. Hrm.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    It felt grindy. A quest to get 400 food. Then one to get 400 wood. Then one to build 4 farms…. Just give me a tutorial and get on with the game.

    And I disagree that AoE was nothing but a series of quests. AoE2 had great quest lines. You played as a historic figure such as William “Braveheart” Wallace, Jean of Arc, Saladin… and played through their histories. You felt like you were doing something more than just slaughtering some random barbarians.

    • hi5! says:

      I do miss the storylines found in AOE and AOE2 but I also like the quests in AOE Online. The farming quests, especially, really helped improve my speed/APM’s in PvP. I think that with the addition of the two other races, the game could be really great.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      AoE2 maybe, AoE1? Absolutely not. Have a look at the list of the initial missions, it’s exactly like that – http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/90380-age-of-empires/faqs/49088

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Yeah, AoE wasn’t much into story telling. AoE online feels more like the original AoE.

    • xelgaex says:

      Not all the missions are grind-y. There is some story line based quests as well. For instance you can play through the Trojan war, and control Achilles in several of those missions. That was around lvl 15-20 I think. Before that there was a quest line around helping Agamemnon take the throne of Mycenae from Thyestes. Right now I’m level 28 and I’ve been defending Argos from an invasion by the Sea Peoples.

  15. Lazershow says:

    Wow, I’m kinda surprised, but that this game looks fun. I had written this off after seeing the art style, thinking it would just be a causal facebook type game. I’m glad to see that there is still some actual RTS game play present.

    Now if only this video showed up BEFORE they ran out of beta keys!

    • rhizo says:

      Yea, I’m a little disappointed to have found out about this a few weeks after the “open beta” actually turned into a closed one. I didn’t pay any attention to the game before seeing it here so no big surprise.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s a free-to-play game and they did have an open beta going. You had literally nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time by having a look at it yourself.

      A lot of people turned their nose up at the game the moment they saw the art style. Even more flatly refused to ever look at the game after hearing that it’s F2P.

      These people are morons who let preconceptions and gut feeling override common bloody sense.

    • Lazershow says:

      99% of games that have this type of art style and are free to play are horrible. You can’t really blame people for writing it off.

    • Dominic White says:

      There’s something about judging books by their covers here…

    • Laephis says:

      I think it’s less like a book cover and more like a painting you buy, hang on your wall, then remark how ugly it is every time you’re sitting in your living room. If I’m going to spend countless hours starting at it, I want to at least enjoy how it looks. And AoEO is just not enjoyable to look at.

      Anyway, the whole GFWL thing makes the point moot as that’s my primary barrier to entry.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      What’s wrong with the art style, apart from not being in the super sexy 3Ds?

    • Lemming says:

      Personally I think the artstyle is rather cool. And I like the idea of the game overall. Sadly, its game for windows live only (which it LOVES to mention on the site’s FAQ btw) so its a no sale for me.
      MS cutting its nose off to spite it’s face it seems. This would have made everyone involved a small fortune on Steam, instead they insist on pushing their borked service.

    • Mavvvy says:

      Mark my words….TF2 *Facepalm*

    • Lilliput King says:

      I like it. Looks pretty. I haven’t really seen any Facebook games except Farmville, for context, but I think this looks pretty regardless.

    • jamesgecko says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the art style, unless you couldn’t stand WarCraft III. It’s different from the original games. It’s all cartoony. Unit types look distinctive. It runs well on integrated graphics cards.

      It’s like playing Wind Waker: The RTS.

    • Rii says:

      “It’s like playing Wind Waker: The RTS.”

      I think that’s an insult to Wind Waker. =/

      The art style doesn’t bother me at this point. I’m not sure it ever did of itself. Going back to watch the announcement trailer from last year still makes me want to punch someone in the face, though. It’s a full-spectrum presentation thing. Thankfully the game itself appears less obnoxious than the trailers, although as someone else mentioned I could do with a less cutesy font.

  16. Antsy says:

    This does look quite good. I love the graphic style and I often find myself wishing more games would try something a bit different.
    Game developers have such a broad canvas and so many brushes at their disposal so its a shame that we just see the same things over and over again. Then again I fell in love with the graphic style of Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and all I remember was people complaining that it wasn’t ‘realistic’ and stuff. Come on publishers, try something different!

    • Rii says:

      Wind Waker was brilliant. I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting a DS to play its two aesthetic sequels.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Aside from it being different and pretty neat looking, the graphics are also very effective. There’s no mistaking anything here, it’s all very crisp and clear. The ground has some slight hue variations, but in general it’s very monotone – someone understood that being able to see individual grass leaves isn’t nearly as important as telling units from the background. Rock and cliffs neatly stand out with different colours, and gold mines even sparkle.
      And the animation! You can tell the difference in units by how they walk, and I love the eagerness with which the villagers jog back to their resource.

      I don’t think the line-based 2D images mesh very well with the 3D, and I think the font is on the tacky side, but the 3D work looks great, in my opinion.

    • Rii says:

      Excellent points.

      I think part of my initial unfavourable reaction to the game was that the art style appeared too *generically* stylised, almost offensively bland. But seeing it in motion has calmed those fears. I wouldn’t put it down as one of the greats, but it has a certain charm and is, as you say, very effective.

  17. wazups2x says:

    Looks boring.

    Plus, I don’t play F2P games and I dislike GFWL.

  18. SpaceAkers says:

    Oh, you British folk and your incorrect usage of the word biscuit….

    When will you ever learn?

    • El Stevo says:

      The word ‘biscuit’ means ‘twice baked’. A biscuit as the British would understand it is indeed often twice baked. An American biscuit (actually a scone) is never twice baked.

      I wonder whose usage is incorrect.

    • Rii says:

      So what do Americans call biscuits?

    • Robert Yang says:

      “cookies”… someday you Brits will learn. Someday.

    • Antsy says:

      Then what do you call cookies? You Americans and your half-baked idea’s! ;)

    • SpaceAkers says:

      Dang! Owned by Etymology. It does indeed originally mean twice-cooked.

      It is interesting that in North America, the word really only refers to one very specific (non-sweet) thing, whereas everywhere else that speaks English it seems it could refer to all manner of treats!

      Whatever, there are probably more Americans than all other English speaking places combined, SO MIGHT MAKES RIGHT AS ALWAYS!!!!

      COWER BEFORE OUR ALTERNATE DEFINITION OF BISCUIT!!!

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      If we’re going to fight etymology wars, I’d note that, for example, the word is biscotti in Italian but Kekse in German. So both are justifiable.

      American biscuits (which are nothing like scones, as they don’t contain eggs) are more difficult to explain. Who decided to call them that? But they are generally the closest thing to decent bread rolls available in the US, so I approve of their fundamental existence.

  19. Rii says:

    Having watched the preview all the way through, I have to admit that it looks quite good. My favourite line: “Wolves – resources that kill you.” Thanks, TB.

    One question regarding the FarmVille-esque elements: are there inducements through game systems (possibly related to the offline resource generation) to log-in every few hours to manage your empire or somesuch nonsense? Because that would be a deal-breaker for me.

    • Towercap says:

      The only such instance is probably the resource factories that you build in your capital. They produce 1 unit of resource (wood, stone, cloth, etc) each 30 minutes and have enough capacity for 100 units. So, I guess that’s an incentive to log in each 50 hours and transfer the resources from the resource factories to the warehouse.

      Which reminds me, BRB.

    • jamesgecko says:

      Thinking about it, the Farmville thingie is sort of just a natural expansion of what was going on In Age of Empires III.

    • Rii says:

      Thanks, Towercap. I don’t like it, but I guess 50 hours is *tolerable*. I’m always reminded of Jonathan Blow’s ‘Ethics in Gaming’ lecture in which he condemned these kinds of mechanics as unmitigated evil. And I think he’s right.

  20. The Army of None says:

    I do love the Biscuit Reviews. Broadening my horizons and whatnot.

  21. Grey_Ghost says:

    So if American’s call biscuits cookies, what do y’all call our biscuits?

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      We don’t, those aren’t eaten here. The closest you could get would be a scone and that’s still not really the same thing, just has a similar consistency.

    • Nick says:

      but we should, they are tasty with gravy.. mmm.

    • Wozzle says:

      We don’t even eat that nonesense in Canada.

    • Towercap says:

      Because there’s nothing nonsensical about poutine?

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      England and America are two countries separated by a common language, and apparently food as well.

      Bacon Egg & Cheese Biscuits forever! … or until they clog our arteries and cause our demise.

      @Wozzle Just for that I am boycotting your little ham patties!

      @Towercap I just googled poutine, and really wish I had not. 8(

    • Thants says:

      If cheesy-gravy-fries are nonsensical, I don’t want to be sensical.

  22. magnus says:

    Urgh, gravy and biscuits? Yuk!

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Oh yeah, add some sausage chunks on them. mmmmm…scrumdiddlyumptious!

  23. rocketman71 says:

    Had to stop watching at 20min. Poor AoE, what have they done to you.

    AoE2 was way better. Even graphically, my teeth hurt just watching those colors and those idiots jumping, not to mention that combat between a scout and an archer that takes a fucking minute.

    And AoE2 wasn’t anywhere near as grindy as Biscuit says it was. There was much more variety in the missiones.

    Sorry, AoE online, but you’re going to the dark room, with Wing Commander: Arena. You don’t exist, you goddamned POS.

    And fuck Microsoft for giving us this instead of a proper AoE4. Or a full remake. They can keep their stupid farmville clone.

    • Fattsanta says:

      I agree ENTIRELY, Im really disappointed they jumped on the f2p online bandwagon of bullshit.

  24. DigitalSignalX says:

    Question for TB, at the beginning of many of your vids, what is the voice saying? “Antics?” ? Can’t make it out.

    • Berzee says:

      I think it’s supposed to be saying EPIC.

      I hate the first 5 seconds of these videos. o_O

      But I like the rest of the seconds just fine.

  25. propjoe says:

    The moment he said, “To advance to Iron Age, I need 200 Wood and 200 Food,” it immediately took me back 8 years and I went off looking for my AoE2 disc. God I miss that game. I haven’t tried this yet, but it looks like it might hit the spot.