The Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is the ultimate remake of a classic. This is the first entry in what will be a sequence of remasters covering each release in the series. This will eventually lead into a new fourth game and with this initial effort the series is off to a great start. With this release the entire nostalgic experience has been brought back in all its glory while adding and enhancing many of the finer points within the game. There's the campaign which brings a large selection of long story based content to work through. Here you battle with each nation across historically influenced missions. There are many campaigns to work through and within them multiple levels of action. This is then further supported by the ability to easily create your own custom campaign levels. The tools are intuitive, simple and really accessible for anyone to build additional content for Age of Empires: Definitive Edition.
Another local area is the option to engage in skirmishes which were essentially my past time many years ago. Here you setup some parameters, select various map options and then battle the AI. Another huge enhancement to the game is the multiplayer that is provided through Xbox Live. This is lobby based where players join in or are invited to play in private matches if that's your thing. I would have liked some kind of regular matchmaking however as it can be hard to get a match going in this lobby setup. There's of course lan as well if you want to go old school with the multiplayer.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is gorgeous, the visuals are simply stunning yet still retaining the classic look you remember. The animations are excellent and the destruction of the world is just ever so exciting. The RTS style has you working through ages and collecting resources. You send villagers out to mine, collect lumber of gather food to name just a few of the resources. This is matched by the creation of essential buildings and researching better technology. Once you reach a certain threshold you can even evolve an age changing the entire look of your society.
It's easy to control and still feels fluid, yet just like new almost in all aspects of gameplay. I did find that there were some odd difficulty spikes. At times at any difficulty the AI would be ruthless, yet at some points it seemed finely balanced. I'm not sure if there was an update while I was playing or if the settings being altered changed anything. Just want to make a note of that on all difficulties having odd spikes with the AI specifically targeting the player.
This Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is the perfect remaster effort to make a classic shine once more. The RTS genre has finally started to bounce back after so much neglect and to see one of the best franchises return so strong is fantastic. I couldn't really expect anything else from this package as it's great. You get all the classic gameplay you might recall from back in the day while also having something that could be great to attract new players.
The graphics are beautiful, the world feels so authentic and the waves of troops going into battle is ever so epic. I'm just mostly happy to see this series return and that this remake does the first game justice. I can't wait to see what they do with the other entries. It's a full package of epic single player content and of course crazy massive online battles. I love skirmish so that's where I'll probably be spending many more nights battling in.
Read our Forged Battalion Preview
View our Age of Empires Hub
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Review on Windows 10
Review Code Provided by Microsoft