Age of Empires II is a game that has demonstrably lasted the test of time and arguably didn’t need an update; even in its original form it remains a real staple of the real-time strategy genre. However, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition has taken that winning formula and ever-so-slightly tweaked it; not enough to disrupt anything that makes the game some great in the first place, but just enough to bring the game into the modern day.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition brings the 1999 classic into 2019 with admirable grace. The developers manage to introduce very positive changes without radically altering that gameplay which has enthralled legions of fans for decades. Despite some issues, this is an exemplary remastering of a past title.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition has the content to keep you entertained for a time. Unfortunately, the visuals and core mechanics are woefully behind 20 years after its initial release. It's a nostalgia trip for fans given the low price, but it's lacking in this new age of strategy games.
No doubt about it: 'Age of Empires II' is an excellent game. It is iconic, it has rocked many generations of players around the world, it had some genius ideas and its graphics were pretty impressive at that time. But now we are speaking of the Definitive Edition which compiles all DLCs and offers '4K ultra HD remastered graphics'.
First, none of these two last informations appear to be true. Graphics are far from being '4K ultra HD' even if you activate the 'Enhanced Graphics Pack' because yes, it isn't included in the main pack game on Steam, you have to 'manually' activate it as you do it for regular add-ons. Just zoom a bit on characters and you will quickly see what an awful bunch of pixels looks like. Furthermore they released a new DLC in January 'Lord of the West'. It costs 10€ in addition to the 20 that the game already demands. Just indecent. Plus can somebody explain me what is the point of releasing a 'Definitive Edition' if you add some more content right after? Plus this game originally came out in 1999 on PC and 2001 on PS2, don't you think it is time to let it go? They already made a 'HD Edition' back in 2013! That's enough! The last DLC only includes two new civilizations and three solo missions, come on! Can you please let this game live without asking money for each and every detail you add ? Can't you fix long-term flaws like the poor pathfinding or the many reported bugs ?
Anyway I have to admit that the few added animations like the buildings falling apart while being destroyed is great. But it is nothing compared to what the game truly needs in order to be perfect. The nostalgia is definitely here but yeah, play it for some hours and you will quickly discover that this game truly is more than 20 years old.
I truly love it but I can't stand the way players are treated here. Does this nostalgia approach truly needs to be that glitchy and greedy? It's just sad.
The AI is so good that, to be honest, gamers are busier than in previous versions. This is a plus, but they haven't capitalized on it.
The problem is the campaigns. The AI in the campaign is split between stupid and very good. There's no decent difficulty level, and the resource gathering and defense leaves no room for historical fun.
Gamers who are good at custom games and multiplayer will have no problem with this, but for a campaign-oriented gamer like me, it's not even enjoyable, which is why I gave it a low score. I'll be putting it away to wait for a mod with campaign tweaks or a long wait for a patch.
SummaryAge of Empires II: Definitive Edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of one of the most popular strategy games ever with stunning 4K Ultra HD graphics, a new and fully remastered soundtrack, and brand-new content, “The Last Khans” with 3 new campaigns and 4 new civilizations.