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Age of Empires 4 Review-War never changes

Age Of Empires 4 – It feels archaic in more than one (Photo: Microsoft)

Sixteen years later, the Age of Empires franchise finally got a new sequel, but is the latest entry too similar to the old one? Or isn’t it enough?

After the release of Command & Conquer in 1995, real-time strategy games have become the most popular game type on the PC, with all Western publishers around the world rushing to create games. Still, in less than five years, this genre was essentially dead. reason? It was as good as almost every game, whether in deep space or in the ancient world, was played exactly the same.

The original Age of Empires, released in 1997 in the midst of the golden age of this genre, is a true franchise jewel and is still remembered today as one of the best examples of its type. It was the sequel to that.years ago The Xbox exists and is a rare example of Microsoft’s release of traditional video games, even buying the original developer Ensemble Studios a few years later.

They couldn’t stop the Age of Empires from going the path of all other real-time strategies, and despite multiple attempts to keep it going, the ensemble was finally shut down and the series rested. Did … all three mainline games and new extensions until Microsoft recently started reviving it with a remaster. All of that leads to this. Not only the new mainline Age of Empires game for the first time in over 10 years, but also the first large-scale real-time strategy of all kinds since StarCraft 2 in 2010.

Each of the original Age of Empires games progressed linearly throughout history, with the first game covering the Stone Age to the Iron Age, the first sequel covering the Middle Ages, and the third game lasting until the late 19th century. .. As you can imagine, Age of Empires 4 is reversing its historical direction, and it’s no surprise to know that this is all a remake of Age of Empires 2 except for its name.

It makes sense from a marketing point of view, but because the game is still very deliberately the same game, there is a genre of real-time strategy, or the basic equipment to revive the Age of Empires itself. It always means it’s not in order.

Age of Empires is always more serious than Command & Conker’s SF Shrock and Warcraft’s fantasy melodrama, but if you’ve played real-time strategies before playing Age of Empires 4, You can certainly understand why Microsoft mandates this approach, but after the first excitement of seeing old school gameplay in modern visuals, you realize that you’re an essential part of the game’s design. It’s a little daunting.

Set in the Middle Ages, the game has eight factions: Chinese, Delhi Sultan, Abbassid, Holy Roman Empire, Rus’, English, French, and Mongolia. These last four get their own story campaigns based on real-life historical events such as the Hundred Years War, but unfortunately there are no individual historical battles or map editors, only skirmish mode.

The civilization that manages the basics is the same in both, just as you build buildings to provide food and resources, and finally barracks and workshops. The false realism of the Age of Empires extends to the need to stockpile resources such as wood and food individually, but otherwise they are mining gold or tiberium. It doesn’t matter.

As with previous games, you’ll go through four tech ages as you play, so at the start of the game you’ll only have access to basic weapons and building types. However, what makes Age Of Empires 4 the most obvious departure from the tradition of the series is that its factions are asymmetric. This means that all Age Of Empires 4 factions are completely unique, rather than basically all troops with the same unit (they look different with only slight differences in gameplay).

This is far from the first real-time strategy to work that way, but due to the perpetual popularity of Age Of Empires 2’s multiplayer, which is usually carefully balanced and nearly symmetrical. Given that it is, it’s somewhat surprising. So while it’s hard to tell how Age Of Empires 4 multiplayer will go down until after launch, Microsoft seems to have already accepted that it’s a necessary sacrifice.

Symmetry is a very boring way to design video games, especially those that seem to be based on very different cultures. In Age of Empires 4, English and French are boring all-rounders, real-time strategy Ryu and Ken, but Mongolia is the most unique in that it is completely mobile and can move without worrying about the bustling city at all. .. .. However, everyone has their own specialties, from the use of war elephants by the Delhi Sultanate to the advanced tax system in China.

There are other minor changes to the series template. For example, holding all sacred sites at once for at least 10 minutes (equivalent to decades of game time) has allowed religious victories. Age of Empires has always been influenced by civilization, not just Command & Conker. Therefore, there is also a mysterious victory condition that you build the wonders of the world unique to your civilization and hold it for 10 minutes.

Age of Empires 4 Screenshots

Age Of Empires 4 – You don’t have to worry too much about total war (Photo: Microsoft)

Religious victory conditions are much more enjoyable this way (previously you had to collect relics), but given the overall point of real-time strategy, whether or not you try to curb violence. It’s very easy to organize everything, that is, just point to and click where you want the unit to move, or who you want the unit to fight against. With many of the complex trade issues removed from Age Of Empires 3, the game feels very streamlined and familiar to beginners.

The game has some minor improvements, such as more flexibility in arranging groups of units and the option to hide them in the woods, but the biggest mistake is the surprisingly poor graphics. While it looks fine on its own, nothing beats the recent remasters, soldiers and Calvary are still roaming the landscape in a very artificial way. Run each other at high speed, stand a little aside and jab lightly.

The physics of combat is very weak, but this seems to be a deliberate attempt to maintain the original look and feel. This seems to be particularly unnecessary considering remastering. I don’t know if that’s the same excuse for why pathfinding is so bad, but it seems to be stuck in 1999. Everything should be obviously like this, and it’s undeniable that the game is interesting, but in the end there’s a nostalgic hollow joy, and as you indulge in too many cakes, you’re done with it By then you will only feel guilty and a little bile.

Age Of Empires 4 is a great real-time strategy, but far from ambitious or different enough to revive the fate of this genre. Given that Age Of Empires 2 still has a more robust multiplayer mode (and generally many options at the moment), it’s arguable whether this is the best game in the series. The world doesn’t need two Age Of Empires 2 games, which feels like it missed the opportunity to create a new beginning for the franchise.


Age of Empires 4 Review Summary

in short: A very capable but unfortunately ambitious real-time strategy that cannot advance either the genre or the Age of Empires franchise.

Strong Points: As a pseudo-remake of Age Of Empires 2, it works very well with simple, accessible controls. Four fun campaigns and asymmetric factions are welcome.

Cons: Disadvantages: The game pays too much attention to Age of Empires 2 and suffers from a general lack of graphics, AI, and, as a result, innovation. Multiplayer is currently an unknown amount and some traditional modes are missing.

Score: 7/10

Format: PC
Price: £ 49.99
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developers: Relic Entertainment and World Edge
Release Date: October 28, 2021
Age rating: 12

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Age Of Empires 4 review – war never changes

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