Well, if you’ve been following Kotaku for the past week, you have a pretty good idea of what I think Age of Empires 4. But this is your chance to tell your other Kotakuers whether you think it’s a purchase or not. Return to the form for Age series, and to RTS? Or just another sequel that doesn’t capture the originals’ X-factor?
Most community feedback I’ve seen seems to point in the direction that most people love it, even though there are the usual problems – StarCraft players want it more like StarCraft, AoE2 players want it more like AoE2, etc.
Some even said they would keep going AoE2: Definitive Edition. I personally think these people will get around – AoE2: FRA will not disappear, but more will find out AoE4 has a similar lightning bolt in a bottle.
There is, of course, valid criticism. There is no ranked mode at the moment, although there is an underlying elo-matchmaking system. The user interface has always needed a little work, such as making it easier to click on small devices that overlap, or to get rid of the large Dynasty box that blocks your view when playing as Chinese.
These are things I expect to be fixed over time, and we have seen during the pre-release period that developers are constantly implementing community feedback.
As for the overall push of the game, I think it gives me everything I want Age.
It also respects my time more. Some people struggled with this idea in my last post about it. It is a simple case of subtractive design. If you can provide the same experience in less time – the same strategy, the same mind games, the same fighting micro – you should do it.
As Sid Meier said, a game is a series of interesting choices. But in an RTS game with long stretches towards the start of a match where a player does nothing, what interesting choices are made then? Every action in the early game, every house placement, every villager assignment, every technology, should have an interesting choice behind it. It should never be busy.
StarCraft 2 moved in the direction Age of Empires 4 moved in that direction, and I think other RTS games will too. I think there’s still fat to cut from the RTS formula.
I’ve played a lot AoE2: Definitive Edition in recent times, and just as much as I love it, the early game has a lot of thumbs up. In those moments, I wish it was a shorter fight. Age of Empires 4 do us a favor here and we will praise it.
I also love the asymmetry of factions, though I have not yet given Rus enough time to really learn its early game. I feel the Chinese are still the weakest, but I keep choosing them because I love the siege weapons.
What about you? What are your favorite / least favorite parts of the game? Would you recommend it? Why?
Tell us about it in the comments below, and if you have any great tips, let us know here too!