Review: Age of Empires IV

It took sixteen years before we finally got a successor to Age of Empires III. Finally we got to work with Age of Empires IV from Xbox Game Studios. This game was announced four years ago and we've been eagerly awaiting its release ever since. Can this new game in the series live up to all expectations? Does it bring out the same nostalgic feelings of its predecessors? You can read all this here in our review.

Age of Empires II was one of the first real time strategy games I played on my first PC. In that time I played the game almost daily and I must have played a lot of hours and played the CD-ROM gray. I played Age of Empires III for a while but for me it was a lesser game compared to its predecessor. Later with the HD remake, the nostalgic feelings resurfaced and the lack of a new part in the series. At least for now, that lack has been removed with Age of Empires IV. All I thought during the first trailers was: please don't suck!

Gameplay Age of Empires IV

And luckily Age of Empires IV doesn't do that. As soon as I started my first game I ended up in a game that is old and familiar. Don't change it if it ain't broken, I'm a huge fan of that myself. The basics of the game have remained much the same as its predecessors. You start with a town center in the first time period of your people. From there you start developing an economy of your goods. At the same time, you discover your surroundings and start building your army with the first troops. If you are further with that you can develop your people to the next time period.

In the next time period you unlock new buildings to create new troops and better troops. In addition, you can improve your farmers, troops and buildings so that, for example, they collect food or wood faster. Troops do more damage or are better protected and your buildings will also become stronger. One of the first "new" elements I noticed in Age of Empires IV is that the AI ​​has been improved a lot. The AI ​​really plays the nations as they are described in the game. If a nation is known for its urge to conquer, you will notice that immediately in the game. These people will regularly come and fight with you. Regardless of what difficulty you play, the AI ​​plays the chosen people quite accurately.

Age of Empires IV looks stunning

The graphics of Age of Empires IV have improved a lot. Simply put, the game looks great. The buildings look detailed just like the various troops. The map you play on looks great for a top down game. When you zoom in on the action, your troops' actions look good and smooth. Even with a lot of troops on top of each other we hardly see frame drops or anything like that. But it's not just the graphics in the game that look great. Because in addition to the skirmish games that are played most often in the Age of Empires series, there is of course another "story" mode. In this mode you follow four peoples and their historical battles.

During the “story” mode of Age of Empires IV, the missions are accompanied by videos. These videos were shot in real time at the locations where these historic battles took place. For example, in the first chapter you go to England and we see several beautiful locations where important battles were once fought. With an overlay, the game paints the situation over the real-time video. This gives you an idea of ​​what it used to look like at the locations as they are now. A beautiful contrast between the present and the past.

Verdict

Age of Empires IV is largely the same as its predecessors in terms of gameplay. The graphics have been greatly improved in sixteen years, making the game look great. The videos you get to see during the “story” mode are beautiful and fun to watch. Certainly with the overlay of the battles of the past on the contemporary appearance of the area. Improving the AI ​​in the game has been successful. Every nation you fight against feels so real and now it doesn't seem like you're playing against a single AI, but against different AIs. On the other hand, there is very little innovation in the game and that can be disappointing for many players. For me that wasn't really an issue and it just brought back those nostalgic feelings of its predecessors. The game lives up to most expectations, but nevertheless we expected a little more innovation. Hopefully this time we don't have to wait sixteen years for the next part in this series.

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