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Jason Clement posted a article in MicrosoftWhen you think of real-time strategy (or RTS) games, there's a few that reign supreme in peoples' minds. Chances are that if you didn't think automatically think of StarCraft, you probably thought of Age of Empires, and believe it or not, but the storied franchise is finally making its grand return more than 10 years after the last numbered entry: Age of Empires III. Microsoft Studios revealed the announcement about Age of Empires IV at their Gamescom press conference earlier today, and it's set to arrive exclusively on Windows 10. Don't expect the game's original developer, Ensemble Studios, to be the one working on it, however; the company was shut down in 2009. Instead, Relic Entertainment -- known for their work on the Company of Heroes and Homeworld series -- has officially taken the reign on this project, making it the first of such with another publisher besides its owner, SEGA. Little else has been said about the project, but Microsoft Studios did mention that remastered versions of Age of Empires II and III are also in the works, so expect to hear more about them in the next year. Check out the announcement trailer below. Source: PC Gamer Are you surprised/shocked/elated that a new Age of Empires was announced?
DrPixel posted a blog entry in Pixels N' StuffDeveloper: Hidden Path Entertainment/Ensemble Studios Publisher: Microsoft Studios Platform: PC Release Date: April 9th, 2013 Age of Empires has gone through a good number of games by now, including a spin-off or two (Age of Mythology, anyone?), but it hasn't really touched on its roots at all. That's changed now with the release of Age of Empires II HD on Steam this week. It boasts adding new features and a nice little coat of HD paint, but are they actually worthwhile additions to spend $20 on? I'll be honest- I've never played an Age of Empires game before. I did play (the fantastic) Age of Mythology quite extensively when I was younger, but that's a whole other diamond in the strategy game mine. The Age of Empires series, particularly the first 3 games, are simple to the core yet still incredibly fun to play. You try your hardest to take out the enemy, which can be AI bots, other players online, or a mix of the two. You build hordes of units to first collect resources for your soon-to-be mighty kingdom, and then either smash, diplomatically ally with, or sneak in a victory with your wonder against your opponents. There's tons of units, buildings, and civilizations to play as. Also, there are plenty of map choices, with randomization being the most fun option of course. I can definitely see why everyone and their pet horny toad seems to love this game, as I do too now! This new HD edition comes with some new and some old extra tidbits of course. Firstly, the Conquerors expansion pack is included, which basically adds to every aspect of the game. Next up is the general modernization of the game. It now runs on modern versions of Windows with no problems, has widescreen support, support for resolutions up to 1920x1080, and even support for multiple monitors. Oh! Who could forget the "HD" tag too? The lighting is improved apparently and the textures look a bit better. It's not awfully much but overall it is definitely much prettier to look at. Steam Workshop is included with the game to help making downloading or uploading maps, campaigns, and mods for the game loads easier than it was in the days of the 90s and early 2000s. I'm glad more games are using Steam Workshop, and this seems like a great canidate for it. At the cost of this comes a few things that did end up annoying me a bit. To start with, the graphics themselves haven't seen much of a "HD" change as to be expected by the title. It still looks great for a late 90s game, but an actual HD overhaul would've been great. The resolution also seemingly can't be changed, as it takes whatever your desktop resolution is. With this being an expanded version of an older game, I'd expect it to at least let you change what resolution you want the game at, but this is just a small nuisance really. I'd also like to say that the multiplayer is absolute gold in this game. There's a new system in place just for the HD version, and while I'm not sure how it differs from the original multiplayer system, it is certainly quite stable, if a bit laggy. Playing with a fellow GP buddy (Ludono), we had a cubic kilometer of fun in the few games we played. Each game takes multiple hours to finish usually, though it is possible to save and re-load games you've played with others luckily. The experiences we had were both ridiculous and awesome at the same time (have YOU ever seen massive armies of Spanish conquistadores plowing their way through anything in their way? I bet not!). There was only one time when we weren't really enjoying the game, and that was when we teamed up against 6 A.I. opponents who promptly ganged up on me early on in the game, forcing us to quit early and start anew. This was completely due to the randomization of the map though I think, as my buddy was on the opposite side of the fairly large map. However, every other moment of our time spent in the multiplayer portion of the game was very fun and we really enjoyed bashing each other's brains out in one game and then teaming up to fight fiercesome A.I. opponents the next. Anything goes in a game of tactics and while Age of Empires II HD isn't overly heavy on it, how you win (or don't!) is up to you. Is Age of Empires II HD still a worthwhile addition to the very prestigious series it's a part of? Definitely! The new additions might not be that huge, but they serve their purpose well for making the game actually playable on modern computers. The game is a classic by far, and while it may not be the most HD-realistic, ultra-modern portrayal of combat in the Middle Ages, it's still an incredibly fun one. Check it out here if you're interested: http://store.steampo...com/app/221380/ I give this game a: 9/10 Want to win a copy of the game? Register (if you haven't already) and comment below telling me your favorite strategy game of all time- or, if you don't have one, tell me your favorite ancient (let's say, pre-1500 A.D.) civilization! Contest ends Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Get entered now to win this great game before it's too late!
If there's one series which was the cause of many falling in love with the RTS genre then it is definitely Age of Empires. The PC-based series has seen three main renditions but also spin offs such as Age of Mythology. So far, only Age of Empires III and Age of Empires Online have graced Steam but they are about to change this. Age of Empires II HD is set to arrive on the service on April 9th. This game is upgraded from the original Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings which came out back in 1999. All the original levels are still there ready to be replayed by fans or experienced for the first time by others. Even the expansion pack's levels are thrown in. What purpose is there to buy this version if you already own the original? All the bells and whistles of Steam, of course! Age of Empires II HD includes achievements, cloud saves, Steam Workshop funtionality, online play, and of course all displayed at 1080p resolution to fulfill the "HD" part of its name. Those who pre-purchase the title on Steam are granted access to it a few days earlier (on April 5th).