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Review: Age of Empires 4 – Focused Campaigns and Documentary-style Cutscenes

After more than a decade, we finally have a new Age of Empires game.

Age of Empires 4 is set in the Middle Ages, and comes with eight playable civilisations – including the Mongols, the Holy Roman Empire and the Delhi Sultanate.

It was launched on 28 October and it doesn’t stray from its AOE roots – there are still two main options: campaign and multiplayer. Campaign has four different plots, allowing you to relive the Norman conquest of Britain or the rise of Moscow.

Like AOE3, AOE4 lets you start immediately in a battle. Specifically, the Battle of Hastings. It’s where William the Conqueror’s Norman-French army faced off against the Anglo-Saxon army of King Harold in 1066.

For multiplayer, competitive RTS players have highlighted some flaws – including bugs and underpowered civilizations.

There’s also been some criticism online that the graphics should be better considering it’s now 2021 and not 2015. Some even said it looked “cartoonish”. 

One thing that hasn’t changed from the previous AOE games though – the AI still isn’t…the best. Calvary gets stuck fighting one soldier when ten other archers are shooting at them, scouts get stuck going through a forest rather than around it…you get the idea.

Unlike the other AOE cutscenes though, Age of Empires 4’s cutscenes are basically a mini documentary. One can see a lot of thought went into the scripting and filming of it. What’s more, some of them include technology and tactics used during the era (and even in-game). This is truly one for the history buffs.

Overall, Age of Empires 4 is exactly how you would expect Age of Empires 4 to look and feel like. Others may say AOE4 is too traditional but I say its Real Time Strategy format still works, and works really well. Plus, I’m a big fan of those cutscenes.

And I suppose if AOE can get another installment 16 years after the last, it’s not altogether impossible to hope that Age of Mythology gets another run eventually.


By Samantha Chan / November 10, 2021

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