Friday, October 29, 2021

Age of Empire IV is a Blast from the Past

One of my biggest problems with Age of Empire 3 is that I couldn't easily identify the units either because they were too small or too resembling to one another. In a strategy game where you need to create units to counter other units (rock, paper, scissors style), being able to easily identify units is critical. Sure, after a while of playing it I got use to it but it never caught my attention as much as Age of Empire 2 had.

Fast forward almost 16 years and we get Age of Empire IV which, I'm happy to report, is a blast to play as it's more an extension of Age of Empire 2 as it is a follow-up to the Age of Empire 3. The campaign truly shines in this iteration as your presented with a beautiful video that explains the historical event that incur before throwing you in the mission to replicate it.

One of my favorite thing, of any Age of Empire game, is the randomly generated maps and this has made a return here which means that no 2 games, either against bots or online, will be the same. From my few experiences, against bots, I feel like the randomly generated maps are a little bit more generous than they were in Age of Empire 2 in the sense that you get more resources closer to where you spawn. The fact that you don't need to expand as much decreases the need for excessive walls and confine your base in a smaller area unless, of course, you choose to expand more.

We don't have as many civilization options as we used to in previous iteration but the attention to details is superb. Having less civilization does make the game more approachable to new comers as well as it's easier to learn the intricacies of a few civilization than it is for 20. While Age of Empire 2 did have more civilizations, the differences between them weren't as significant as they are here.

Long time fan of the series will surely appreciate the changes in sound design. When many people are walking together, you hear the footsteps and when they engage in combat you can hear the roars and the clashing of the swords but perhaps the most beautiful sound of them all is the sound of a boulder hitting a building at a distance. 

The game is surely more beautiful than its predecessors but there's nothing here that will test your new gaming machine which is probably what the developers were aiming for as this makes the game more accessible to more people. 
I mentioned earlier that an important aspect of strategy game was being able to quickly identify enemy types in order to counter them and here the differences, between units, are different enough to be easily identifiable at a quick glance.

This game is a great addition to GamePass but also a great standalone purchase for those that don't have the service. 

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