Age of Empires logo. Age of Empires is a series of historical real-time strategy video games originally developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Studios.The first game, Age of Empires, was released in 1997 and the series has spanned five major titles and several spin-offs, selling over 20 million copies to date. Age of Empires is a historical real-time strategy game created by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft in 1997 for Windows. It's one of the most popular video games franchises ever created. The series, made of 4 main titles and spinoffs, has sold more than 20 million copies.
When it comes to strategy games do you get much more classic than Age of Empires? This is the game that started it all and it is crazy to think that this game came out the better part of a quarter of a century ago! It is a series that has gone from strength to strength and today I am taking a step back in time to see how it holds up.
Starting From Scratch
Age Of Empires 3
When you go back and look at a classic like this it is really hard to do so. On the one hand, I have very fond memories of playing this game and as a result, I can truly appreciate how this was a game-changer when it was released. On the flip side of this though, I am not sure I would ever in a million years expect someone new to the series to jump into this over one of the newer games in the Age of Empires series.As far as the presentation of the game goes, it is not bad. This is an older PC game so you have to keep that in mind, but the visuals are not all that bad and there is some very nice sprite work here that tugs on those nostalgia strings. It is worth noting that a Definitive Edition of this game was released a little while back that did improve the visuals.
Take It All
The goal of the game is that you are in charge of an empire. There are just under 20 for you to choose from and you have to make sure you are taking care of your people. What is cool is that the empire you choose will actually dictate a large portion of the early part of the game such as the resources and so on that you have. You will want the resources for your own empire, but so will others which can lead to war You cannot just take what you want and try to steamroll over the other nations. Well, you can try, but eventually, it will catch up to you. You have to shake hands and try to play nice at times, but never be scared to go to war when it is required. In going back and playing the game I did actually like how scaled back it was in comparison to what we have now. It made things a lot simpler and I still did have a fair bit of fun with it.
I think if you played Age of Empires back in the day it is worth going back and taking a look at it. The game holds up better than you would think and the more “basic” nature of it is actually part of its charm. It is really lacking in-depth and features in comparison to the modern games, but I still think there is something good here. For a player new to the series I would recommend checking out one of the newer games.
Final Score: 7.5/10
- The dated visuals do have some charm
- It is not super complicated like some modern games
- You will find that the different nations each have their own personality
- It is one of the most classic strategy games of all time
- Even now, it is an addictive game
- The visuals are quite dated which some might not find charming
- The game is lacking in features compared to the modern entries
Third edition from Microsoft's Ensemble Studios brings well crafted RTS
Age of Empires is a long standing RTS with a great pedigree and the third edition is no different. Players choose one of eight playable nations and progress through building a colony city and raising it up through time from the Discovery Age up to the Imperial age. Players gather resources, building buildings and raise up armies to oppose their enemies on the map. Each nation has specialties and unique units / buildings. Spanish elite units, for example have the Espada Rodelero, Garrochista Lancer, and Tercio Pikeman which no other Nation has access to. The units and buildings are all historically accurate and are generally represented correctly within the game.
Age of Empires III doesn't hold many surprises for any player familiar with the RTS genre, but it does have a few interesting unique mechanics. Players will build buildings, gather numerous resources and train up an army, but the way to gain access to more buildings and units is to advance tot he next age. Each 'upgrade' from one age to the next has a set resource cost associated with it and will allow the player access to that age's new units and buildings. Players will have to make a decision as to whether to spend their resources on upgrades or on more lower cost units in their current age. Apart from the active city that the player is building there is a second 'Home' city that can be upgraded, is persistent across missions and garners several benefits. Shipments of materials and troops are the most common way for the Home City to help its offshoot. Other interesting ideas is a Political system that will make different effects in game and aid the player.
Age of Empire III is a great looking game, fully 3D with the ability to zoom in and see what all your workers are up to in their daily lives. Zoom out and watch your army clash with the enemy on sprawling battle lines. Models are detailed and towns are full scale buildings instead of the caricature of buildings that some RTS games rely on to represent their structures. The result will be a city that looks like a city populated by to-scale workers, soldiers and horses. This is a great looking game that scales very well. There aren't any cut scenes apart from the opening trailer.
Age Of Empires Free Download
Age Of Empires 2 Definitive Edition
- Diverse units, buildings and nations have lots of tactical options to explore and exploit
- Visually stunning game with large towns and detailed models
- Great additional mechanics with the Home City and Politics systems
- Length of games might be a little much for some players just wanting a casual experience
- Large tech trees and many different systems mean a learning curve for new players