Tomorrow, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, Microsoft’s grand facelift of a real-time strategy classic, releases.
With revamped graphics, remastered audio, a slew of new single-player content, new civilizations, a few choice quality of life improvements, refreshed multiplayer features, and dedicated servers, it looks to offer a nostalgia-infused trip back to one of the most iconic RTS games of the late 1990s.
Part remaster, part remake, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition hopes to turn the tide on the disappointing 2013 HD revision. Microsoft hopes to draw in players of a certain age. But, also introduce a whole generation to the medieval tactical warfare and economic management that made its name.
Reviews from the gaming press are pouring out in anticipation. While the consensus is positive, performance issues and path finding gripes weigh down what is now the best iteration of Age of Empires II. It holds a Metascore of 81 currently.
Here’s a round-up of what the press has to say.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Reviews Round-Up
While this undoubtedly goes several steps further than the HD version and the first Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, it also makes me even more eager for a dramatically different take on Age of Empires 2. You won’t find that here. This isn’t for people looking for something new; it’s for people who are already enamored with the original game, who I still count myself among, and for fans it’s the best version of the best Age of Empires game by a wide margin.
No amount of rehashing graphics or tweaking root code will ever fully reclaim the sense of wonder of playing this game two decades ago. But, if Forgotten Empires’ two objectives were what I suspect – to do the game the presentational justice it deserves, and to package this game’s nostalgia in one place – then I think Definitive Edition wholly succeeds. It’s not Age of Empires IV, but it’s a great step toward the full return of one of PC’s most iconic franchises.
Yes, there are some issues with the game — especially when it comes to performance — so those lacking modern gaming hardware will likely need to test things out to see if it can run at an acceptable framerate. And hopefully, the game will be further optimized in the future for those of us still struggling with what should be adequate hardware.
Even with the issues I mentioned at the top of mind, I can’t wait to jump back into Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and continue uncovering the smaller changes that I’ve yet to see. It’s a true update to one of the greatest RTS games ever made, and it’s never been more enjoyable to play.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition offers an overwhelming wealth of content through hundreds of hours of campaigns to play through, refined to make them more entertaining. With an improved AI offering more engaging battles (although it still doesn’t understand the concept of diplomacy or trade) as well as improved visuals and audio, drawing you right into them, you’ll not find yourself bored at all and will no doubt keep returning to the skirmish modes. At a cheap price and offering so much, it’s impossible not to recommend the game. This is what the original Age of Empires: Definitive Edition could have been. As a standalone title, it’s fantastic and one that I’d recommend to anybody and everybody.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition has the content to keep you entertained for a time. Unfortunately, the visuals and core mechanics are woefully behind 20 years after its initial release. It’s a nostalgia trip for fans given the low price, but it’s lacking in this new age of strategy games.
A great classic returns to PC and it’s still a great RTS experience. The Definitive Edition enriches the formula with a few quality of life improvements while maintaining its core gameplay overall intact, but at the same time, there are some flaws, especially on the technical side. Still, the nostalgia operation works and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is the best way to enjoy the classic Microsoft RTS today.