Nostalgia is a powerful thing in gaming. Many old-school games have gotten a new lease on life thanks to remasters and upgrades. One game that players have been clamoring for is Age of Empires, a truly revolutionary RTS title. Microsoft has finally obliged fans. Therefore, it’s time to take a look at how the game holds up decades later. This Age of Empires Definitive Edition review will take a look at the game, its mechanics, and its pros and cons to see if it was worth bringing back.
Age of Empires Definitive Edition Review Overview
Age of Empires was the quintessential historical strategy game when it released in 1997. The original concept got inspiration from games like Warcraft and Command and Conquer and mixed their elements together with historical aspects to make games like Civilization famous.
It is a game of resource management and strategy, one that requires players to out-think the opponent in terms of not only economy but also in terms of unit choice. A huge number of modern titles descend from this game. As a result, the mechanics will seem familiar even to those who have never played before.
Age of Empires Definitive Edition is a game of nostalgia. It takes a game from 1997 and brings the graphics to a 2018 level. We didn’t find anything revolutionary in this Age of Empires Definitive Edition review, but that’s the point – everything here is built upon a well-used base.
Age of Empire Definitive Edition Main Storyline
This Age of Empire Definitive Edition review took a look at the basic storyline of the game. There’s not much to say. This is a game about combat – historical combat, to be sure, but definitely a game about combat. While there is certainly a historical overlay, the story deals more with fielding armies than anything else.
If you play the campaign, you’ll be thrust into a few military scenarios taken from human history. Your job, if you choose to accept it, will be to build up a small base and to field a small army against an AI enemy. You will have various historical objectives to complete in each mission. Nonetheless, the end goal usually revolves around taking out the enemy army.
Campaign mode was only a small part that this Age of Empires Definitive Edition review found. The series didn’t really start taking the storyline seriously until the next entry in the game, so don’t expect much depth here.
Age of Empires Definitive Edition Gameplay at First Sight
Booting up the game for the Age of Empires Definitive Edition review was a bit of a time warp. Set aside everything you’ve learned about RTS games over the past few years. You’re going back to 1997, an era in which having good enough mechanics was all it took for a game to be a hit. Don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles here. Even though this is a remastered version of an older game, it’s still very much a game from a different time.
Upon entering the game, you’ll notice it still has most of the same options that modern RTS games have. You’ll have a choice of playing through a campaign, playing a random skirmish, or playing against other players online.
Campaign isn’t exactly the well-defined mode that players have come to expect in recent years. Don’t look for a streamlined experience from the game’s sequel either. Instead, you’ll deal with a mode that’s largely the same as skirmish, but that has a few historically-relevant objectives layered on top.
No matter what you’re playing, you’ll be dealing with the same basic type of game play. Age of Empires was the series that largely popularized the rock-paper-scissors dynamic of infantry, ranged, and cavalry units in RTS games.
You’ll spend most of your time balancing building up your resources and fielding the right types of units. You have to focus all resources in an attempt to counter whatever your opponent is throwing at you. Battles are largely games of attrition, with your base’s defenses playing slightly more of a role than in most modern games.
Pacing is frankly weird in the game. It’s much slower to field an army than you’d imagine. However, watching that army get destroyed is much faster. This isn’t helped by some frankly abysmal AI, which almost always seems to favor the enemy. You’ll be working against the system more often than not in order to grab a win.