We’ve been waiting for a full-fledged continuation of the Age of Empires series for sixteen years. Was it worthwhile? Without a doubt, sure. A few new solutions have been introduced to the tried-and-true recipe, providing a breath of fresh air, but the inventors also had a few flaws.
The assumptions stay the same. We begin the game with one building, a few people, and a scout. We gather raw resources, extend the base, and build an army to attack other players in the meantime. Aside from two ways to win, which we shall discuss shortly, we beat the adversary simply by destroying his base. In terms of basic resources, the authors made no substantial adjustments, and we now have four options: food, wood, gold, and stone. There is also a traditional foundation structure. We commission the building, dispatch workers to enlarge it, and wait for the new structure to be erected. There are no checkpoints in charge of creating resources, which is a solution seen in newly published RTS games.
Fortification construction saw significant alterations. Walls and gates are no longer just blocks since units can stand on them. We are not compelled to destroy the walls in order to breach them; instead, we erect moveable towers beneath them and send men up to seize control of them. The whole system is reminiscent of the Fortress series and brings a big change in gameplay. The ancient centuries of darkness, feudalism, castles, and empires have not been altered. The promotion system, on the other hand, has been redesigned. Instead of a straightforward upgrade from the main building, we must construct a particular structure available for a certain civilization, known as a Landmark in the game. Aside from the apparent move to a new period, these structures allow you to acquire special perks. The accessible civilizations are, of obviously, one of the most significant changes and innovations. There are now eight of them in the game, which is one fewer than in the second half of the series. However, the architects made certain that there were significant variations between them, going well beyond conventional unit bonuses or unique troops.
In line with their nomadic past, the Mongols, for example, can pack up buildings and relocate them elsewhere, while the Delhi Sultanate may perform technical research for free, but at a high cost to the pace of labor. Of course, each civilization includes normal perks, such as increases in the pace of food acquisition, gold mining, or the availability of unique troops and structures. However, the gameplay has also changed. There are additional stealth mechanics in the game. We can conceal forces in the forest, rendering them invisible to hostile soldiers – this is a more common choice in campaigns than in skirmishes. There are three possible outcomes. The first is dominance; in order to overcome the adversary, we must eliminate all structures in the Landmark group. The second, as mentioned in earlier portions, is the creation of a Wonder, which is a building that is unique to a certain culture. However, after climbing, we must sustain it for several minutes in order to obtain final victory.
The third option is to use religious forces to take over holy sites shown on the map. The game ends when one person or team captures all of them. This requires a perpetual battle for map dominance. You can’t keep building an army in a fortified base indefinitely since the adversary may just take over these locations and win without a battle. The graphics appear to be adequate. The updated version of the second portion looks better, but the developers only achieved one goal: readability. Even during the most intensive battles, we can readily identify individual troops, which is critical in this genre. The optimization is faultless as well; the suggested configuration will allow you to play the game at high graphic settings. We continually hear music from the selected group in the background, which changes according on whether we are silently growing or battling. Equally essential, the units speak their civilization’s language, therefore there are no immersion-breaking instances in which Chinese infantry speaks English.
Single-player campaigns have always been a big part of the franchise. It’s the same with “4”, which has four sets of tasks relating to the Normans, the Hundred Years’ War, the Mongols, and Moscow. The manner in which the campaign is carried out separates this section from the others. Instead of dull literature, we get full-fledged, short videos that depict the events leading up to a certain operation. The images of marching and battling warriors placed against views of contemporary towns and castles are stunning. Following the completion of each task, we have access to extra video materials in which we may view replicas of weaponry and siege machines in operation. The campaign’s playability is also commendable. The first mission of the Hundred Years’ War is an excellent example. Instead of traditional expansion and combat, we participate in a knight’s tournament. We build an army by accomplishing easy chores, and then we compete in a staged tournament. We may heal units and make changes between rounds to better prepare for the next one.
There are hardly no phases in the campaign when we may extend our base and build an army. Instead, we are continually attacking enemy castles and fortresses, fighting offensive battles, or defending ourselves from further enemy onslaught. Missions also have hero units with unique powers. All missions are fast-paced, so there are never dull times. Aside from the storyline, we may also engage in skirmishes in the game, both with AI and with other people. Maps are produced at random depending on a set of criteria and the size and kind of terrain specified when the match is created. On the battlefield, up to eight people can interact. Age of Empires 4 is not without issues, however. Aside from the unique artwork, which not everyone may like, the most alarming aspect is the poor degree of artificial intelligence. Computer adversaries operate in a highly systematic manner, frequently sending victims to their deaths. Although this is a staple throughout the series, it is worth noting.
Age of Empires 4 is a deserving successor to the well-deserved cult franchise. Gameplay enhancements, considerable faction distinctions, and several methods to build your civilization provide long hours of diverse, terrific fun, especially in multiplayer mode.