A Return to the Familiar Past.
Age of the Empires II – Definitive Edition is the 3rd release of Age of the Empires 2 and honestly, this is what Age of the Empires II – HD should have been, graphics have been given a total overhaul and look beautiful in 2019, the audio score has been given a polish and the familiar crackle/hiss of Age of the Empires 2 music is thankfully missing.
Age of the Empires II – Definitive Edition brings with it all of the original Age of Empires 2 Content, the DLC from Age of the Empires II – HD as well as it’s own content, bringing your campaign count to 27, an astonishing high number, considering all previously released campaigns have been touched up with better voice acting (where needed), AI and mechanical improvements, looking at campaigns alone you have roughly 500 hours of content for a new player.
The new campaigns are incredibly well written and scripted to perfection, I found myself enjoying the new campaigns as much as I did the original ones, something that sadly Age of Mythology never achieved with overwhelmingly hated Age of Mythology EX: Tale of the Dragon DLC, one of the only “Age of Empires” Products to have a mostly negative rating.
Age of the Empires II – Definitive Edition brings the civilisation count to 35, near triple its original release, and with every civilisation offering its unique units and bonuses, supporting a vast array of playstyle from endgame defenders to bloodthirsty early game raiders. Shrewd traders to zerg, no matter your playstyle you will find a civilisation to match your playstyle.
Authentic to its Roots, Yet improved in every way.
While Age of the Empires II – Definitive Edition is clearly Age of the Empires II, and fans of the original game will feel right at home, the minor quality of life changes like automatic reseeding of farms and rebuilding fishnets is a nice change and one that allows you to focus on actual strategy decisions and not mindless chores.
Smarter than your Average Bear.
The AI was never particularly bright in Age of the Empires II, and while it went back to school for Age of the Empires II – HD, it was still on the basic side, however it seems in the years since 2013 the AI has gone to university and now is one of the better AI in any RTS I have played, and while its not jawdropping, they can catch you out far more often,
I enjoyed watching the ai plan its attacks on my base, I even enabled the “Marco + Polo” cheat combo so I could have a look at their preparations, and notices how often they tried flanking manoeuvres, 2 and 3 prong attacks, and even feints, I was thoroughly impressed by the work the developers put into the AI and they deserve to be commended.
Worth a Buy?
Age of the Empires II – Definitive Edition has a massive player base with steam and windows store crossplay, you are looking at a peak CCU of around 50k players, Its available on steam and windows store for £15, as well as being part of Xbox Game Pass for Pc.