Age of Empires II HD is a downloadable game created by Microsoft Studios in cooperation with Ensemble Studios and Hidden Path Entertainment. The title includes both Age of Empires II: The Age of the Kings (originally released in 1999) and its expansion an Age of Empires II – The Conquerors. These games were available not only for Windows but also for Macintosh and on PlayStation 2. AoE II HD was released in 2013 and can be run only on Windows machines. There is no version for Mac, PS4 or Xbox One. The gameplay is not different from that what we have been treated to in the original titles, but the new version of the game has received improved with graphics and is optimized for the newer operating systems. The civilizations and campaigns from the first games have also been preserved, as well as the historical setting – Age of Empires II HD is set in the Middle Ages.
How to Download Age of Empires II HD
The game can be downloaded from Steam. Just click the Download button at the end of the review.
Age Of Empires II HD has received three new official expansions. They are:
- The Forgotten, issued in 2013
- The African Kingdoms from 2015
- and Rise of the Rajas issued in 2016
The Gameplay in Age of Empires II HD
AoE II HD is a real-time strategy game, so during the gameplay, you will not witness turns of any kind. You will be able to lead one of the eighteen historical nations, including the Vikings, the Aztecs, the Huns and the Japanese. The goal for the player is to lead his or her people to splendor and develop their civilization better than their rivals can. Each of the nations has different strengths, they also differ in technologies and styles of architecture they know. For example, some nations receive a harvesting bonus, while others cannot control specific military units. The victory can be achieved by various methods and you should pick a nation that is well matched to the chosen winning method in order to get the best profits.
There are two single-player modes in the game – the standard gameplay and the campaign. The campaign is story-driven, and each subsequent chapter relates a part of it. During this game, you have to complete various missions and send specific units to carry them out. Interestingly, in one mission you deal with Joan of Arc.
The standard mode allows you to play alone (against the computer) or to compete in multiplayer – with another online player (such a feature was missing the original version from 1999). At the beginning of the game, you can choose:
- the type of map (for example, forest),
- the number of units in the game,
- the method of winning,
- the nation, which you will lead,
- the number of players,
- the game speed,
- and a few other settings.
Thanks to Steam Workshop, AoE II HD offers the possibility to work with the fan-made modifications. These can be downloaded from Steam. Such mods make new games more unpredictable.
Another interesting option, also available because of the connection with Steam, is the ability to save the game in the virtual cloud. In addition, you can also play online or view other player rankings.
Winning the game is possible if you meet one of the following criteria:
- gaining an economic or military advantage,
- or building and defending a world wonder for a certain time.