Age of Empires 4 – The List Review
Welcome to our first ever “The List Review” segments on GamesReviews.com. We are looking at Age of Empires 4, kindly provided by Xbox Canada, and reviewed by Seth Roffel. List reviews will be quick reviews on popular franchises where the core gameplay is well known, but some of the specific ins and outs of the title might not be so apparent. So, without further ado, our The List Review for Age of Empires IV!
If you have played an Age of Empires game before – and it really doesn’t matter which one – the gameplay loop will be very familiar. Gain resources, build villagers, gain more resources, build and empire, build an army, and conquer the world. This has been the loop ever since the games first came out, and that continue to be the loop here.
That isn’t to say Age of Empires IV doesn’t have unique features. There is one or two ways unique civilizations work – one which gets you a bonus for all connected buildings to your town centre, for example – and new ways of moving up ages, building landmarks instead of choosing in a menu. This new landmark feature also brings about a new victory condition – destroying all of someone’s landmarks!
Some features are even gone from past titles – remember when you could queue up 5 units at a time for production? That’s gone, as Age of Empires IV goes back to the 1-at-a-time philosophy, which we personally enjoy. The game has also seen a graphical overhaul, and a brand new way of presenting campaigns – using real world film showing historical sites as they exist today, and then overlaying an outline of the battle you are about to enjoy. It’s the complete project for sure, and even if you aren’t going to dabble in online play, the host of fantastic campaigns make it an easy purchase for any real time strategy – and frankly any history – fans! But let’s get into our lists, first the negatives!
- Civilizations feel too similar from what I have played, the big noticeable change has been the Mongols who can pick up their bases and move their camp. I once raided with a small army at the beginning of a game to mess up the economy and came back and the buildings were all moved.
- The Ai difficulty jump from Intermediate to hard was massive, I was crushing them on intermediate and got smoked on hard.
- Ai had good moments, and some bad moments: while on bridge they were trying to cross my army was just sitting there taking them all down; the enemy kept just trying to run pass without fighting.
- No scenario editor, not a big deal for me but for some people who enjoy creating scenarios that could be a downer.
- Campaign is amazing, arguably one of the best to date. They give very informative information about the battle you are about to partake in, and tell the a story around it. And there is a lot of campaigns to play given the fact so much work went into them. The 4 campaigns looking at different periods in history.
- New mechanics: charging causes more damage than simply just attacking in previous games, so units first attack deals more damage than the next one.
- So far the maps I have played on all seem really unique. Visually it looks great, though comparing to the recent Age of Empires 3 Definitive Edition, it is not leaps and bounds better.
- The music and sounds are really good, especially hearing the voices of which ever civilization you choose.
- Late game walls are great – big stone walls can no longer be taken down with men, you must have some siege units, which historically and logically is probably more accurate
- Going on walls with archers is a great touch as well, especially around bridges.
Overall, I would give the game a 9/10, with the only major problem being the lack of civilizations to play as. I had no game breaking bugs, or issues with the game. It looks similar to Age of Empires 3, and plays as a mixture of that and Age of Empires 2. Having a choice at aging up is similar to 3, while unit productions, and the economy are similar to 2. But from top to bottom, it is a solidly polished title with lots of upside!