As far as video game genres go, Real-Time Strategy (RTS for short) are up at the top my list. Thinking back, I can’t be certain as to my very first introduction to genre, but the one that I remember being the first one that cemented my love for it was Age of Empires II. AOE II was the perfect combination of RTS elements that made games fun, expansive and challenging.
Released in the fall of 1999, AOE II became a staple of our LAN parties. We had a regular group of gamers at the LAN who would always look to get at least one game in during the weekend. Usually those games would last over 4 hours and by the end, we all would discuss the best parts of the game, ready to go at it again.
Over the years, AOE was replaced by the Homeworld series as my go-to RTS games. As much as AOE II has a place in my heart, the Homeworld games probably have a bigger spot, if I really stop and think about it. Fast forward about 15 years and now we get the 4th installment of the Age of Empires series (we won’t talk about the abomination that is AOE III).
AOE IV sees a new development house take over as Relic (the same team that did my beloved Homeworld series) comes on board to help get Age of Empires back to it’s glory days.
Age of Empires IV starts players off with taking the players into a historical video of the 11th century england and is interesting from the point that it is an actual video and not the traditional cut-scene stuff we are used to seeing in video games. After the video completes, players go through an initial game that serves as the tutorial for new and returning players of the AOE franchise.
I didn’t check to see if you could opt out of this initial tutorial, but I imagine you might be able to. After finishing that first tutorial, players are presented with the primary game menu. From this point, you are able to make all the standard selections, Singleplayer, Multiplayer, look at your events and even try to complete a daily quest.
I’m only about 5 hours in, but two things stand out to me so far. One is that AOE IV feels very much like AOE II in gameplay and tech trees throughout the various ages. The second is that, the AI in Age of Empires IV is brutal and almost unforgiving. I initially set my level to “intermediate” or as it was described “the level at which AOE was meant to be played.”
If that’s the case, I would hate to see what the AI is like on higher levels, because so far at the mid level setting, it’s pretty damn tough. Several Single player missions I had to quit and restart from the beginning because I would get so far behind, it was impossible for me to catch up to the AI. I’ve learned quickly to build up armies so ridiculously large as to ensure I won’t face defeat in the field of battle.
That being said, I am still very much enjoying my time with AOE IV and will continue to discover all this latest title in the AOE has to offer.
Age of Empires IV went live on Steam on October 28th.
As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!
Leave a Reply