- Total Score - 9.3/109.3/10
Age of Empires IV is a fantastic sequel worthy of the lineage it follows up.
Developer – Relic Entertainment & Worlds Edge
Publisher – Xbox Game Studios
Platforms – Windows Store, Steam
Age of Empires IV is a long running and classic RTS series that has thrived as of late due to excellent remasters. Even though I’ve got my hands on the previous games briefly, I did know that Age of Empires Online wasn’t quite the game fans wanted, and then the series went dark for quite a long time.
A lot of AOE fans were very happy however, that Microsoft announced part 4, and then started doing significant work to restore Age of Empires and it’s classic status for a modern era. Thankfully, AOE IV is a worthy followup to a storied legacy.
AOE IV comes with the usual assortment of modes you would expect from a fully featured RTS. Similar to Company of Heroes, also developed by Relic, it contains a multitude of different campaigns from various factions. Even better, is the format of the campaigns themselves. Each one, such as the 100 year war, features extensive live footage shot documentary style. This presentation is fantastic as it lends an air of authenticity and real history to all the proceedings.
This is one of the games best features and helps it stand out amongst it’s predecessors. On top of the fantastic narrative angle, the actual core mission design is superb and challenging. A.I on standard or higher difficulties will be a challenge, with good tactics and positioning rather than blatant cheats.
Each mission unique objectives and locations to try out, if you want to sit and try to master every campaign mission…good luck. Even early on, the game will test your skills and tactical decision making on the fly with varied and changing mission objectives.
Age IV is not about sitting back and building a huge base and pumping out a huge army that you will attack move across the map to eventually win. Tactics are king here, with missions often starting off with a very limited number of units. Add on top of the resource management, map control and scouting can get challenging quickly.
Thankfully none of the challenge comes from poor PC performance or technical issues. Considering the huge amount of options, the control scheme has been pulled off very well and becomes second nature, especially if you are a fan of Age II.
Training mode is helpful and recommended as it will make sure you aren’t completely overwhelmed as soon as a battle starts.
In addition to the different factions you also have multiple choices when you advance an age, in the form of unique one off buildings that grant very different buffs. They are varied and offer different tactical options and even contain unlocks that can change up the gameplay significantly.
Age of Empires IV is also a very beautiful game. All the different factions look completely unique. Small infantry units are easy to identify and watching some of the massive large scale battles is a treat to the eyes an ears. Siege fights can erupt and each catapult shot makes a nice impact. Similar to Company of Heroes, the audio is also top notch. Every gun, sword fight, artillery strike an unit call outs are authentic. Even small touches such as unique voices for the different nations add tons of heart to the moment to moment gameplay.
Age of Empires IV is a welcome addition to a classic and beloved series. It plays well and doesn’t sacrifice any of its visuals or depth. It stands with Halo Wars as a great RTS to play, even as a casual fan of RTS titles.