Age of Empires IV

Icon - Calendar Released: 28 Oct 2021
Icon - Edited Reviewed: 22 Dec 2021
Platform: PC

Age of empires iv

In retrospect, I'm not really sure what I was hoping for from this. The idea of AoE2 with better graphics sounds great,, but in reality it loses it's shine pretty quickly. AoE 4, at least to me, feels pretty much exactly like playing AoE2 with better graphics & a few really minor improvements - like archers being able to stand on top of walls. Depending on your point of view, that's either a good or bad thing. From the original videos I'd hoped for something really impressive; like full building destruction, new mechanics etc. The graphics really feel like the bare minimum upgrade; they feel ok - but not "wow". However - the cinematics and history side of it are fantastic.

Pros

  • Paths form dynamically between buildings
  • Good voiceovers
  • Destruction animations are nice, and buildings keep smouldering after they're destroyed
  • The first campaign mission (Battle of Hastings) is a good introduction to unit type advantages
  • The cutscenes between missions in the campaign are documentary-level good. They're really well produced and very interesting. On top of that, there's also extra educational videos unlocked by playing.
  • Elevation matters and gives you a longer view distance
  • Archers can stand on walls now
  • The main campaign missions sort of take place like a documentary too. The narrator describes "what your army did" as you play the mission, and describes how history played out, as you make those moves. The campaign really is excellently produced - but the gameplay itself is kind of uninspired

Cons

  • It's basically just AoE2 with better graphics and some minor improvements
  • If you get it from Game pass, be aware it's 220gb because they download all the 4k videos as well. On Steam it's only 28gb
  • No 'auto explore' for scouts. No patrol for units.
  • It's kinda pretty, but it's lower quality graphics than I was expecting. Feels like they did the bare minimum to make it look ok.
  • Can't zoom out far enough
  • Can't change the mouse button that drags the camera. I hate using middle mouse for anything. Moving the camera around is a real pain in the ass
  • Population cap is still 200, 20 years later
  • The keybindings for buildings change between missions
  • Clicking and dragging selects all units including villagers. It should only select military
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