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Age of Empires 4 Final Preview: Wololo Like It’s 1999

New chef makes subtle changes to a signature dish

Age of Empires 4 review English
Age of Empires 4 goes toe-to-toe with 1999’s Age of Empires 2. Source: Image captured during Age of Empires IV Technical Stress Test. Source: Relic Entertainment.

Was the 16-year wait for Age of Empires 4 worth it?

  • Light infantry units, especially pikemen, specialize in nullifying cavalry charges with bonus damage.
  • Light ranged units are fragile damage dealers that are quickly cut down by light cavalry raids.
  • Armored infantry and cavalry units soak up punishing damage and are countered by heavy ranged units.
  • Siege weapons lay waste to defensive structures unless beaten by infantry/cavalry or an anti-siege weapon.
Age of Empires 4 HRU English multiplayer
Rebuilding town centers lets dead allies rise from the dead in Age of Empires 4. Source: Image captured during Age of Empires IV Technical Stress Test.

Age of Empires 4 gets a lot right

Age of Empires 4 Abbasid Camel gameplay review
Oversized camels aside, Age of Empires 4 carries the iconic AoE legacy forward. Source: Image captured during Age of Empires IV Technical Stress Test.

Age of Empires 4’s graphics are impressive save for its divisive aesthetics

Age of Empires 4 siege weapons list gameplay
Age of Empires 4 promises lumbering siege weapons and then some. Source: Image captured during Age of Empires IV Technical Stress Test.

Asymmetrical civilizations are Age of Empires 4’s biggest draw

But at times, Age of Empires 4 stumbles on its own cape

  1. Aesthetics takes precedence over visibility at times. Dust clouds the battlefield at the slightest hint of movement. The attack animations, while serviceable, can turn stale. Multiple attack animations are a trick Age of Empires Online pulled off to great effect.
  2. Unit upgrades are not as physically distinct as Age of Empires 2. When Crossbowmen could move up to Arbalests 16 years ago, why settle for a Spearman switching to an Elite Spearman?
  3. The game’s interface, while simple, could have been civ-specific like StarCraft 2. The simplified tech tree view isn’t as deep or intuitive as one would expect. Shift-clicking to plot unit routes doesn’t show flags the way Age of Empires 2 did.
  4. Heat-seeking cannon and arrow shots are Age of Empires 4’s biggest offenders. Gracefully maneuvering around cannon fire served micromanagement bliss back in the day. And now, there’s no friendly fire from siege units to dodge either.
Will Age of Empires 4 live up to the expectations? Source: Eurogamer.

Age of Empires 4 is vying for the throne of its immortal past

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Antony Terence

0.2M+ views. 5x Top Writer. Warping between games, tech, and fiction. Yes, that includes to-do lists. Words in IGN, Kotaku AU, SUPERJUMP, The Startup, and more.