Age of Empires II was probably the first PC game that I was truly invested in. It provided a great blend of history and entertainment – it helped that the starter campaign featured William Wallace right off the back of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart – someone that I would probably never have heard off otherwise.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition has updated its graphics to today’s 4K standard. The visuals are crisp and detailed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t turn into a bit of a mush when you get into a skirmish. However, you can now zoom in, and out, to get a clear view of the battle field.
However, with the graphic upgrade I’ve also found that it takes up all that much more resources and can be a strain on your computer. While it works well enough on my powerhouse desktop, it definitely takes a toll on my laptop.
Aside from the graphics, what really got me to sit up is the soundtrack. Yes, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition looks good, but it sounds even better. From the fanfare when you click on a castle to the voice acting, it’s all been redone and definitively adds to the experience.
The upgrades and tweaks aren’t just cosmetic though. Under the hood, gameplay and AI have all been tweaked as well. Age of Empires II was a great, solid game, this is better.
You can now finally queue commands and plan your strategy more effectively. My favourite feature though has to be re-seeding farms automatically. It was simply too tedious for me. Wage war and come home to barren fields… not anymore.
The military drag-select feature also means that I’ll no longer accidentally send just about my entire population into battle!
Age of Empires II was a great, solid game. The Definitive Edition is better.
The AI is alot more responsive and interactive to taunts and commands. Assign multiple villagers to task and send your armies to engage enemies on multiple fronts.
Unlike me, the game has learned to be better over the last 20 years by learning from pro players. At the Expert level, the AI will mimic tournament level builds and styles of play against you.
If you prefer an ally, you can command the AI requesting specific strategies or units to reinforce your army, or even tell it where to construct walls to counter, or create, choke points and killing fields to keep your empires safe.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition isn’t light on content either. All content of the past 20 years bundled in one big pack. Including the original Age of Kings and its four expansions resulting in over 200 hours of gameplay!
New content “The Last Khans” add 3 new campaigns and bring the total number of civilizations to 35 with the inclusion of the Bulgarians, Cumans, Lithuanians and Tatars.
New game modes such as Empire Wars provide even more multiplayer options and challenge Missions are available for players who want to learn how to play the game more in-depth and help returning players polish their skills if they want to work their way up in the multiplayer ladders.
Microsoft has also committed to support “Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition” after release, with an emphasis on providing continuous value with continuous updates, new game modes, missions, and scenarios.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is like reconnecting with an old friend that somehow managed to come out better off with the passing of time.