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Review - Age of Empires II HD (PC)

Ludono

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Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment

Publisher: Microsoft

Platform: PC

Release Date: April 9th, 2013

ESRB: T for Teen

 

 

The "Age of" series has a long running history of fantastic strategy games, spanning from the original Age of Empires, to Age of Mythology to the recent online focused Age of Empires Online, but Age of Empires II is arguably the best game the franchise has ever produced. It seems that Microsoft knew this, and tasked Hidden Path to breathe new life into the (now defunct) Ensemble Studios masterpiece. So does this supposed timeless classic hold up after all these years, or is this just a superficial money grab?

 

 

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The most obvious change to the game is the ability to run the game on modern systems. I own the original disc version of both Age of Empires II and it's expansion The Conquerors (Both of which come included in this release) and was unable to play them properly. The HD edition has increased the max resolution of the game to 1920x1080 (The original was somewhere around 640x480) as well, as you might have guessed, adding widescreen support. This makes a WORLD of difference when playing, the extra screen real estate helps you survey the battlefield with ease.

 

 

1En.png

 

 

 

Aside from the increased resolution and widescreen support, there isn't much else that's been added to the game, visually at least. A large portion of the improvements made to HD edition of the game are the ones you can't see (at least not directly). Hidden Path has gone and revamped the multiplayer for the game, taking out the old system in place and replacing it with a system that actually works. They've also integrated this multiplayer system with Steam so you can invite people to your lobby directly from your friends list. I played an online match with resident Podunk member DrPixel. We started a 4 player lobby, with 2 AI players + us (AI can fill in for human players). Originally we were all playing independently but before long Pixel proposed a truce and a shaky alliance to join forces against the Koreans and Britons. Almost 2 hours (

) later we emerged victorious...and utterly bewildered at how so much time had past. Obviously, the multiplayer has not lost any of its luster.

 

2En.png

 

 

 

The final addition to this edition of the game is the addition of Steam Workshop. The "Age of" series has always had a dedicated modding community with all sorts of custom units, maps and campaigns available to download. Even if you aren't a modder, you can still upload to the Steam Workshop thanks to Age of Empires II robust map and scenario editor. You've always been able to create your own maps, as well as custom campaigns in these games, but Steam Workshop makes it easier than ever to share your creations with others.

 

The game does include both the base game as well as the Conquerors expansion pack which adds a second set of campaigns set in more exotic locations such as the Middle East and the New World.

 

If you're looking for an entirely new Age of Empires game, the minor additions made to this game probably won't fit the bill, though I'd still recommend it. However if you enjoyed this game back in the day, or are interested in Real Time Strategy games, then you should definitely pick this up. The game is available on steam, priced at a very reasonable $19.99.

 

 

Pros:

 

+ The best Age of Empires game, now playable on modern systems

+ Functioning multiplayer

+ Steam Workshop support

 

Cons:

 

- Not a lot of new additions added

- No way to change resolution in menu (defaults to your highest resolution)

 

 

 

Overall: 9.5/10

Fantastic

 

Age of Empires II HD is a worthy upgrade of a much beloved strategy game. Whether you're a returning fan of the series or just a strategy buff in general you should definitely give it a try.



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Pretty sure my Laptop can't play this but I do love the Age of Empires series and own a few of the older games. I use to love being Japan and dressing them in Blue lol.

 

9.5 is pretty high but I guess you really like the series and game as well.

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What kind of loser copies the GP format? (although technically not entirely). Alright, it is neat to know it isn't some cash grab... well, not entirely. I'd probably be more interested in a new Age of Empires than revisiting one I played a bunch in the past though.

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Pretty sure my Laptop can't play this but I do love the Age of Empires series and own a few of the older games. I use to love being Japan and dressing them in Blue lol.

 

9.5 is pretty high but I guess you really like the series and game as well.

 

Pretty sure any PC/Laptop that's come out in the last 8 years can run this. After all, it's just a 10+ year old game running at a higher resolution.

 

I agree, a 9.5 is quite high, in fact it's almost a perfect score! I felt however, that because this represents the pinnacle of the series, and is one of the greatest RTS games ever made it deserved that. Obviously it does have a few, very minor, flaws hence it not getting a perfect score.

 

 

What kind of loser copies the GP format? (although technically not entirely). Alright, it is neat to know it isn't some cash grab... well, not entirely. I'd probably be more interested in a new Age of Empires than revisiting one I played a bunch in the past though.

 

The kind that's too lazy to make his own! (What did I miss?!)

 

It is and it isn't. On one hand they've barely added anything new and re-released a 10 year old game. On the other hand, they're only charging $20 for it (and that's before a 50-75% off steam sale) and allowing people to play the game again on their modern systems.

 

I'd love to see a new Age of Empires as well, but in the meantime I'll gladly revisit one of my old favourites :)

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Dat shoutout. :P

 

My review will be up.....eventually. I've never played an AoE game before (though I loved Age of Mythology as a kid), so I might talk more about the game itself then the new features haha. :D

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