Relic Entertainment and World’s Edge development studios come together to bring you Ages of Empire IV the 4th installment of the series (Not including re-releases). Published by Xbox Games Studios Ages of Empires IV gives you a fresh take on the medieval times RTS. Featuring single-player campaign mode and load multiplayer customizable modes that can be played against other players or AI. You can play Ages of Empires IV via cross-play between Steam and Xbox Live on PC at the price of $59.99 for the base edition.
The campaign is like watching the history channel, literally. Most of the cut scenes are live-action with graphical overlays. It would have been so dope if they got the main narrator from the History Channel! Four campaigns can be played on four difficulties in story mode including Normandy, Hundred Years War, Rise of Moscow, and the Mongol Empire. I feel like the campaign is like one really long training mode. Don’t get me wrong I love watching these types of documentaries on the History Channel, but I just couldn’t get invested in the story. From a production standpoint, it was great but I think the delivery was a bit lackluster. There is an official training mode called “Art of War” where you can earn medals to show your skills. You can also queue single-player skirmishes with a custom setup or your choice of preset modes. This game has “Giga” replayability options!
A little over a month out from release now and patches have dropped so I would expect the game to run smooth. I did run into a few small issues but overall, a well-developed game. When you play in windowed mode you can not seamlessly move your mouse over to your other monitors. While it doesn’t affect gameplay it’s a huge quality of life feature, I hope they address it sooner than later. I also had some issues with unit selection, on rare occasions I would highlight a group and they would not get selected. I also noticed sometimes when ordering units to stop after a few seconds they would engage again. Once again, these bugs happened in very small doses, and I am actually very impressed with the quality of development.
Ages of Empire IV is moderate-paced RTS with 1v1 rounds lasting between 20 – 40 minutes. I didn’t queue any 8 player matches but I am sure they would last substantially longer. I really like the balance between defensive structures, land units, and repair speed. Siege weapons against structure timing feels right also, but digging them into the ground every time you move them? I know it’s historically accurate but it’s mad annoying. Relic Entertainment and World’s Edge did a great job with the age tier system. Prerequisites earn you landmarks which advance you into the next age and provide you with a buff or utility. Higher tier ages offer new technology, units, buffs, and structures. All I am going to say at this moment about the races is Mongol and French are definitely top tier but this could change at any moment this early in its development. In the end, it’s all about good micro and resource management. A phenomenal gameplay experience from top to bottom for all the micro-loving gamers.
Age of Empires IV will live or die by how well its multiplayer is balanced. As of right now ranked has not been released so the developers still have time to use custom game data to make balance changes. Some races do need buffing, but overall I think it’s in a solid place right now. Ages of Empires IV has all the makings of a competition quality RTS. I expect to see more Esports tournaments pop up once ranked mode goes live. What I would really like to see more than anything is an 8-player free for all type tournament with group play. I am actually getting pumped for this! Multiplayer is really good and hopefully, will only get better. If you are a true RTS fan you will most definitely enjoy Ages of Empire IV.