Microsoft surprised the world when it released its awesome strategy title Age of Empires in 1997. The most recent release, 2018’s Definitive Edition, takes a lot of the core game that was released back in 1997 and updates it for modern audiences.
How to Download Age of Empires
You can download the game from Microsoft Store. To begin, click on the Download button. You will find it located at the end of this review. And if you like the series be also sure to check out and download Age of Empires II HD (2013) and Age of Empires III: Complete Collection (2009).
The Game Review
Back in 1997 spawning a series of games and even spin-off titles, Age of Empires was the right combination of good-old-fashioned arcade gameplay and considered, traditional real-time strategy mechanics.
To be sure, you still select a civilization (each with their own attributes and special units), you still build a base (or nation), and then you wage war on your opponents across the map StarCraft style.
There are so many different inspirations going on in Age of Empires at the same time that it is hard to imagine it became both a classic and an inspiration itself – but it did.
It never loses what made it a good game but, instead, gains quality of life enhancements that help take it into the modern era.
Tailored for gamers that would otherwise never consider a real-time strategy game, Age of Empires draws heavy inspiration from StarCraft and, before that, WarCraft. While Blizzard’s games often had you engaging in campaigns interlaced with epic storylines and colorful characters, Age of Empires relegated that kind of thing to the scenarios and put the epochs-spanning conflict at the game’s heart at its center.
Probably one of the only games outside of the Civilization series where you can send a horse cavalry up against tanks, Age of Empires not only put players in charge of a civilization’s resources but also its progress and development.
Like in other real-time strategy games, research benefits the players in terms of opening up new buildings or units for construction. But to engage in research often takes resources away from warfare and building defensive structures. Balancing the dueling needs of advancement and defense form the core of much of Age of Empire’s gameplay but reacting to other players is a huge part as well.
One of those games wherein the tactic of the zerg rush used to be game breaking, now Age of Empires is more streamlined and this is not possible. After all, if the devs intended everyone to fight to the death with masses of the cheapest unit available, they wouldn’t have included nukes.
The original might have suffered from the zerg rush problem, but the Definitive Edition does not and, in fact, has great multiplayer and matchmaking options.
Graphically the game does look its age but that rarely matters with a strategy game. The game is mechanically sound and hitting on all cylinders even with the tweaks demanded by modern gamers.
Fans of the older title and newcomers alike will find a lot of classic gameplay to love in Age of Empires, though its innovations and contributions may not be as readily apparent now as they were then.
- Excellent real-time strategy game
- Solid action and fast-paced gameplay
- Updates are minimal and don’t damage the classic game people love
- It’s an older game at this point
- Existing between games like StarCraft and Civilization might make you want to play one of those instead
- Wouldn’t a new game be better than a “Definitive” version of an old game?