Connect with us


Age of Empires IV Review – The Once And Possibly Future King



Age of Empires IV offers players eight different civilizations to explore in single player and real-time multiplayer. While there is a long campaign that spans multiple civilizations, the longevity of the experience lies in the multiplayer encounters. If multiplayer isn’t your thing, you’re missing out on a good chunk of the game, but there are always skirmishes to take on A.I. at a comfortable difficulty level if you don’t feel like taking on other players.

Age of Empires IV is incredibly secure in its execution, channeling the spirit of Age of Empires II for many of its systems, mechanics, and features. While the Age of Empires III division hit 16 years ago, it’s a bit of an annoying anesthetic to see IV playing things so close to Age of Empires II.

There is a meaty campaign in which the first segment functions as a full tutorial that can teach even an RTS neophyte how to harvest resources, form control groups, and learn how to break fortified fortifications. These campaign offerings are deeply rooted in classic RTS and mostly involve building up strengths and resources and taking out your opponents, but there are some nice surprises here as well. Much of the good stuff here outside of the ordinary involves historical figures leading troops who have been given special campaign abilities, adding a bit of zest and flair to the routine.

However, the most enjoyable aspect of the campaigns was not the gameplay. Instead, I had a blast during the videos and History-style segments between missions. I haven’t had a Magna Carta refresher like this since high school. Some video segments take place in a quirky fashion where ancient battles and history overlap with modern environments. Either way, it works, and I found myself motivated to end every fierce war involving William the Conqueror, King John, and others to unravel the next layer of edutainment. Video thumbnails and bonus history content keep things interesting among many traditional “resource and go” missions.

Within the eight different civilizations, there is a ton of gameplay diversity, even within each culture. Want to play incredibly aggressive? Pick the Mongols and start developing immediately and putting pressure on your opponent. Want to annihilate the enemy from long range? Get English crossbowmen in the ranks! And when nothing but the wrath of the giant elephants is enough, choose the Sultanate of Delhi and tear apart the opposing fortifications. Exploring other unique elements like a culture that does not require any resources to perform research provides a lot of depth. There’s a lot to learn and experience with each faction’s unique buildings, units, and game mechanics, and it’s fun trying out different build orders and routes to victory.

Even if you don’t want to play against other players in multiplayer, you can team up with them and participate in co-op matches against AI. Almost every game you play grants experience points that will allow you to unlock new cosmetics that you can show off with, including portraits, coats of arms, and city landmarks. These don’t force you to play the way you don’t want to, but give those who choose to master a faction a visual flair to incorporate into their matches.

The real-time strategy genre remains alive, fueled from time to time by a few headlines. While Age of Empires IV has no ambition to even gently upend the standards set by Age of Empires II decades earlier, it’s a good way to play a classic RTS today with a bit of polish and of panache.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.