It has been more that 16 years since the last major Age of Empires – and in that time we’ve seen the demise of franchise creator Ensemble Studios and a general shift in the design of real-time strategy games. But the good news is that Age of Empires has returned with a fourth series entry, with RTS powerhouse developer Relic at the conn. The game is well worth checking out and I really enjoyed playing it, but I honestly feel that key improvements need to be made from a technological standpoint.
The Age of Empires series has so much history behind it that Relic Entertainment faced a huge challenge in resurrecting the franchise, especially in the wake of the successful remasters for the second and third games. Overall, the game is excellent with much to commend it, delivering an experience that should satisfy series stalwarts while also gently introducing the game to newcomers. As the game starts up, players are immediately introduced to the basic mechanics of the game, teaching you the staples such as resource collecting, technology and the various units’ strengths and weaknesses. On top of that, there’s a dedicated training game type, which goes deeper into how AOE4 works. Even the initial Norman campaign has several defining moments sculpted by the developer to teach the player more about the game’s micro and macro management.