Age of Empires Definitive Edition Review

Experience the excitement as your spearmen spend several minutes hacking meat off an antelope. Every detail in a game like this matters when trying to balance aggressive scouting of foes while collecting enough food in order to reach the second age quickly.

Each civilization boasts unique benefits: Englishmen may count on religious kings to rally troops during battle, while Mongols enjoy early access to cavalry units.


Age of Empires may not require as much micromanagement as other real-time strategy titles like StarCraft do, but still requires skill to win. Players should prioritize keeping their economies healthy while building units which will aid combat – this includes scouts (an essential part of this genre of real-time strategy), ranged units like Janissaries or archers and artillery pieces.

Recognizing your civilization’s strengths and weaknesses is another essential aspect of this game. Every faction offers something special; neglecting these advantages would be like playing without your full arsenal at your disposal – for example Teutons excel at building castles while Magyars offer cheaper scouts; furthermore every civilisation offers researches which could prove helpful under certain conditions.

One of the best things you can do in AoE is regularly monitoring your villagers and unit queues, since their priorities for working on resources can often shift throughout a match. For instance, having two stone and gold mines nearby could prompt your villagers to prioritize those over berries patches – giving your army access to exactly the resources it requires at any given moment in time. This way you’ll always have an edge against your opponents by having access to all necessary resources when necessary.

Good AoE players know to take advantage of the game’s hotkey system, by pressing the right button they can open a wheel with commands and upgrades for buildings and units, saving time when upgrading and moving units around the map. Furthermore, using a mouse with sufficient clicks per second is paramount.


Units are the foundation of Age of Empires games and offer players numerous tactical options. Every type of unit offers specific strengths and weaknesses; some serve as great counters against others; understanding these dynamics can help players win games by selecting units which surpass those used by their adversary.

Movement speed is an important determinant of unit viability, as it allows it to force favorable engagements or flee from those that would put them at a disadvantage. Furthermore, its pace can impact its microedability as well as raiding and siege effectiveness.

Age of Empires 4 units have unique bonuses that set them apart, such as longbow infantry for England; Greek hoplite line soldiers can upgrade with special helmets that make them faster at defending buildings; while Mongol archers and light cavalry units benefit from Mangudai and Siege Ram upgrades for added advantage.

Players can use the selection process to activate stances that give their unit additional capabilities, such as rushing or firing. The stances depend on a unit’s tags (with pets being an exception), and also vary based on available technologies (for instance the Eagle Runner Knight gains the ‘Stand Ground’ stance when upgraded to Veteran status; or Infantry Breastplate increases HP of all hand infantry including “Shock” units like Flail Elephant).

Age of Empires 4 features not only its standard military units, but also several unique ones such as warrior-monks and streltsy from Age I; fishing boat Lodya from Age II; and demolition ship Lodya from Age III – each an excellent alternative to other naval units.


Age of Empires series features various maps. Some are tailored for specific game types, like 1v1 or 2v2 tournaments; while others have general appeal. Most maps also come in various sizes from small to massive for added variety.

Maps are created using the Terrain Layout Tool, a special program which enables you to use squares as canvasses with various terrain types as bases for their final map design. Furthermore, you can use this tool to specify Biomes and Map Sizes which define whether the finished map will be large or small.

There are two primary types of maps, land and water. While most are composed of land features, such as Arabia, some may contain substantial water content such as in the Middle East region. A combination of factors including player count and map size also determine what kind of map will be generated.

Player can select their desired map options when creating their custom game, such as choosing from among several pre-made maps available within tournaments and Mod Center.

Some maps in the series were created by fans, such as one Skyrim enthusiast who used the custom map editor to craft an RPG campaign using Bethesda’s RPG; reddit user Grouchy_Bluejay4511 plans on uploading his campaign once it has been fully tested for bugs on Steam Workshop. Other users have created city-based maps.


Age of Empires Definitive Edition marks a huge leap forward in terms of graphics and technology since its last game 16 years ago. This edition includes completely revamped textures for units, buildings and landscapes to enhance the overall appearance. Units now sport more detailed armor and weapons; roof tile sets can now be easily distinguished; vessel graphics have also been improved as have water effects like fog. Furthermore, particle effects provide smoke/fire effects as well as improved destruction tech making building rubble look much more realistic (see AoE Instagram for comparison shots).

It’s hard to tell whether or not the graphics have improved from previous games; I can no longer compare, having not played them recently. What can be seen is an enormous step up over the original version and more like modern video game than traditional PC title.

Sound quality has also improved significantly, with deeper and clearer sounds adding to a greater sense of epicness and grandeur. Bow twanging and fletching whooshing effects are especially enjoyable; unit audio more closely matches the original game than AoE:DE which used more clunky high-pitched sounds.

The game features a zoom feature to give you a broader overview of the map or zoom right in on workers hard at work. While zoom settings provide great visual detail, they may increase the number of assets on screen at once and cause performance issues; to address this, adjust to lower zoom levels or use Game Speed option in menu.


The audio has been completely remastered and now sounds crisp and clear – an improvement that stands in contrast to other modern strategy game developments. But its presence can be disconcerting when measured against technical developments that other modern strategy games offer.

Remasters like these serve to show us just how far the genre has advanced since Age of Empires first hit shelves, as newer players quickly realize. While it is an admirable exercise in sincerity, newcomers may quickly realize this game doesn’t fit well in today’s gaming landscape.

Frustratingly, this game boasts some tremendously enjoyable fundamental gameplay that could go much further if the designers had used different approaches; there is no question the system has potential; but instead it appears as though its creators started out wanting a Civilization-meets-Wow experience but ended up creating something altogether different and unwieldy.

There are some subtle nods to modern economics in the game’s stone, tool, bronze and iron ages adding buildings and military units to your expanding empire as it progresses; however, their simplicity leaves something to be desired, especially as warfare overshadows maintaining an economic base – this being one of its primary drawbacks.

There’s plenty to get stuck into here, with hundreds of hours of gameplay (complete with rolling tweaks and the brand new scenario editor), plus an incredible wealth of content for you to explore. Narrated missions provide another layer of immersion and make this package feel complete – newcomers may find some things are best left as happy memories!

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