Age of Empires IV Review – Age Of Empires IV Review – The Once and Possibly Future King


Age of Empires IV gives players eight different civilizations to explore, both in real-time single-player and multiplayer strategy. While there is a long campaign spanning multiple civilizations, the life of the experience lies in multiplayer encounters. If multiplayer isn’t your thing, you’re missing out on quite a bit of the game, but there are always skirmishes to tackle AI at a comfortable difficulty if you don’t feel like taking on other players.

Age of Empires IV is incredibly secure in its execution and channels the spirit of Age of Empires II for many of its systems, mechanics and functions. While the divisive Age of Empires III struck 16 years ago, it’s a bit of a dull stupor to see IV play things so close to Age of Empires II.

There’s a beefy campaign in which the first segment acts as a comprehensive tutorial that can teach even an RTS neophyte to harvest resources, form control groups, and learn how to tear down walled fortifications. These campaign offerings are deeply rooted in classic RTS and usually involve building up powers and resources and taking down your opponents, but there are also some nice surprises. A lot of the good stuff here out of the ordinary involves historical figures leading troops who have been given special abilities for the campaign, adding a bit of spice and flair to the head.

The most enjoyable aspect of the campaigns, however, was not the gameplay. Instead, I loved geeking out during History-channel-esque videos and segments between missions. I haven’t had a Magna Carta refresher since high school. Some video segments play out in an unusual way, superimposing ancient battles and history on modern environments. Either way, it works, and I found myself motivated to complete every fierce war involving William the Conqueror, King John and others to unravel the next layer of edutainment. The video vignettes and bonus history content keep things interesting in many traditional “resource up and go” missions.

Within the eight different civilizations, there is a huge amount of gameplay diversity, even within each culture. Fancy playing incredibly aggressive? Pick the Mongols and immediately start expanding and putting pressure on your opponent. Do you want to destroy the enemy from a great distance? Get some English archers in the ranks! And when nothing but the wrath of a giant elephant is enough, choose the Delhi sultanate and tear through opposing fortifications. Explore fromThe unique elements, such as one culture that does not require resources to conduct research, provide a lot of depth† There’s a lot to learn and experiment with each faction’s unique buildings, units, and game mechanics, and it’s fun trying out different building 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 have co-op versus AI encounters. Virtually every game you play will earn you experience points that will allow you to unlock new cosmetics to show off, including portraits, coats of arms, and city monuments. These don’t force you to play in a way you don’t want to, but offer those who choose to master a faction some visual flair to play in their matches.

The real-time strategy genre remains relevant, fueled by a few big titles every now and then. While Age of Empires IV has no ambition whatsoever to even gently supplant the standards set by Age of Empires II decades earlier, it’s a good way to play a classic-feeling RTS today with some slick shine and panache.


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