That’s right everyone, it has finally arrived – Age of Empires IV is finally here and it’s looking better than ever!
Battling Throughout Time in Age of Empires IV
One part you’ll notice about Age of Empires IV is the campaign mode that plays out actual events from history. You are given four separate campaigns, The Normans, The Hundred Years War, The Mongol Empire and The Rise of Moscow. Each campaign takes you on a journey with multiple missions spanning over several hundred years… Now you’re probably thinking “yeah that’s cool, but haven’t they done that already?” and the answer would be yes, yes they have.
“Hands On History” – Short Documentary Videos
What makes these campaigns stand out though is the short documentary-like videos you get before and after the missions. One video’s played before the mission to set the scene. These are live shots overlaid with digitally animated people and equipment to give you a sense of what was happening at the time. Then you’ll receive the second video after the mission’s completed for more information. They are just little videos expanding on what people used in that time period. Not to mention that they also give you a page from history, which are little bits of information for those curious folks out there (like me).
I honestly thought this was Incredible. As a history lover, I have played Age of Empires since I was a kid. This truly shows that Relic Entertainment knows its audience. Now yes, it may be a little disappointing that the videos are unlockables. However, I personally found it intriguing and an incentive to continuously push onto the next mission. Lastly, it should also be said that there is no intention from Relic Entertainment to do any sort of microtransactions, they simply want to focus on DLCs. This means we should be getting a lot more historical content in the future.
Stripped Back Gameplay
The gameplay in Age of Empires IV is pretty much exactly the same as the previous titles – why mess with perfection? You control one of eight different civilizations. Build up your city, army, navy, and society and then stamp your enemies out of existence. It’s all pretty stock standard. There are a couple of minor adjustments, however for the most part it’s pretty much the same.
New Meets Old With Age of Empires IV
Although if you are new to AOE or it has just been a long time since you’ve conquered civilizations, there are a few missions to help in a section called “Art of War”. You are given four separate missions with a grading system of gold, silver and bronze that instruct you on the different aspects of AOE’s gameplay. From simply gathering resources, to planning complex sieges, it definitely helps you become accustomed to what Age of Empires IV has to offer.
What interested me the most was that Relic Entertainment went away from the system in AOE III, where you can request supplies and packages from your home city. And I for one am quite ok with this stripped-back version of AOE. One last aspect of gameplay to be aware of is that enemies will attack earlier in the game. So be aware that it is a good idea to start building walls and barracks as soon as possible, even on the easiest difficulty.
Age of Empires IV’s Flawless World Design
As for the world design, it looks amazing. From the menu screen overlooking a very detailed earth, to the actual gameplay itself, to little achievements you can do to change your profile picture and banner. The water textures look incredible, the buildings look detailed, and above all, you gotta love watching that animation of a building being constructed. Couple the visuals with some awesome music and it all adds up to an incredibly immersive experience. Honestly, Age of Empires IV is everything I’ve ever wanted from a new title. Everything from the main gameplay, to the little daily quests, equals a game that has a lot to offer.
This is a history lover’s dream game. The gameplay works exactly like we all remember, although the visuals have been massively updated to bring the series into the modern age. Plus, there are countless historical segments to unlock and sink your teeth into. It’s so incredible in fact, I’m off to spend countless hours destroying my enemies. I guess I’ll see you all in…. January.
Relic Entertainment have outdone themselves with Age of Empires IV. They’ve dramatically improved the visuals and world-building of the series whilst keeping most of the tried-and-true Age of Empires gameplay intact; throwing in an incredible amount of historical content to not only play, but also learn from as well. Ultimately, their main ambition was to modernise the Age of Empires formula – and they’ve absolutely nailed it here.
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