Age of Kings advances to the contemporary era in a remake that improves its interface, graphics and playability.
Age of Empires is one of the first names that come to mind when we talk about strategy games. Ensemble Studios revolutionized the genre with a system that kept the player in constant activity, having to divide attention between the protection of the kingdom itself and the conquest of other lands. Building and maintaining an empire was not easy, but a fun project that could last for hours.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition arrived last 2018 with a bittersweet taste composed of outstanding graphic improvement and insufficient artificial intelligence. Microsoft has taken note of the virtues and defects of this remaster and aims to compensate with Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, which will be released on November 14 for Windows PC. In FreeGameTips we have accessed its closed beta, and today we bring our first impressions of a game that has known us as addictive as the original.
Advance to the contemporary age
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition brings a remastered version of Age of Kings, set in the midst of the Middle Ages, after the fall of the Roman Empire. In a historical fantasy that we reviewed the stories of great historical figures, 35 initial civilizations are included, to which the Bulgarians, Lithuanians, Cumans and Tartars are added. At first glance, we observe a very grateful graphic improvement, where the details and textures have been very spoiled, and the animations look much more fluid. At the sound level, the same ambient, refined and catchy music is maintained. The voices of our troops are almost identical, although this is where we have found more technical failures. For its part, the font has seemed the least careful aspect; It is only readable if we choose the sans serif option, and its integration into the environment makes us rough, with some blurred letters on some screens and an excessively minimal size in the notifications. As for the menus, these are very intuitive and more accessible than in the original. Added support for mods, map editor and a section for Mixer, which will facilitate streaming sessions.
In the main menu, we observe that in addition to the Campaign and Multiplayer mode, the Challenge Missions and Historical Battles have been added. However, in the beta we have only been able to access the campaigns of William Wallace, Joan of Arc and Attila the Hun. As for the Scottish mission arc, this is a very detailed tutorial that will refresh the memory of the game system, as well as bringing the genre closer to novice players. We have also accessed the Multiplayer Mode against other players (with crossplay between Xbox Live and Steam), although the connection has not always facilitated us, in addition to waiting in the accessible rooms. We have also accessed other games as spectators, an ideal mode for esports and very useful for learning new strategies.
The age of the kings
In the campaigns, a network of missions that brings freshness to the history of each hero and historical character is maintained, where we put into motion all the strategic gears that the Age Of Empires system allows. With the objectives set, we have some room for creativity, but always watch out for the threat of the enemy. Regarding the behavior of AI, it has seemed right. On the other hand, the automatic actions of our army suffer the same defects as in the original game: it is easy to lock on a route and on some occasion we had to load the game because the troops could not get back on track.
We also welcome further improvements in control: we can determine the default behavior of the army and the exploration and movement around the map is quite agile. Also chaining successive tasks and creations is quite comfortable. In addition, the on-screen menu is very intuitive and easy to manage, and the response of the controls has been very satisfactory.
As for the location, we have texts and voices in Latin Spanish. The translation, although imperfect, is correct and maintains the epic tone of historical accounts, as well as the clarity of the clues provided by the characters in our campaign. Occasionally, we have found some failure of untranslated texts or errors of meaning that have had consequences in the game, such as heading west when the place of interest was in the east. However, we trust that these little bugs will be solved in the face of the game's release.
There is much to explore in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, such as its new game modes and the deepening of its online games, as well as campaigns in the mission. All in all, we expect the font to be refined in new updates, as well as specific failures. For the rest, the graphic and gameplay improvement has left us with a very good taste and has awakened us to return to a historical fantasy in which we became masters of an empire to build, protect and expand.