Our Rating: 8/10
The Age of Empires III trilogy is finally complete in its remastered form. Having enjoyed the definitive versions of the two previous games, you can say that the studio has done a great job in modernizing this strategy classic.
You may already know, but let us remember that Age of Empires III is a real-time strategy game. It is focused on an era characterized by exploration and colonization by the great European empires.
In Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, Microsoft tries to ease this 13-year gap by using the title’s reworked graphics. 2D square sprites leave the scene and new textures come into action, remade from scratch, with 4K resolution and everything. Just have a computer and monitor that support it all.
This new outfit brings an absurdly high level of detail. Checked very closely thanks to the game’s zoom up to 4X. From the weapons wielded by the units to the smallest pieces of the Colosseum falling apart, you can see absolutely everything.
The game is divided into three primary campaigns, reinforced by extra content packs that added new challenges and historic battles. Outside the campaign, there is also the Skirmish mode, which is a kind of free mode. You can test the two new civilizations that World’s Edge added to the game, namely Sweden and Incas. This mode includes many options, which will allow you to explore various types of scenarios and possibilities.
Each civilization still has a Capital, but this component of the game seemed somewhat confusing and without any purpose. There are several options for personalizing the capital, both at the cosmetic level and in terms of the advantages. It guarantees the player during the matches. The idea seems interesting to us, but it could have been better implemented.
The campaign will be the main attraction for most players. It consists of several missions that add some diversity to the gameplay – although within the limits of the typical structure of the genre. A mission begins with the player building some kind of base, having to act in order to fulfill the proposed objectives without ever neglecting to care for and improve his base. To do this, you will need to find a good balance between maintaining a stable economic power and the strength of your military capabilities.
The Good, the Bad, and the Overall Experience
The most obvious change, of course, is related to the graphics improvement. It includes resolution up to 4K, much higher quality textures, more elaborate animations, and high attention to detail. Everything seems to have been the object of attention and care. From the world map to the individual worker. The structures, the dynamic effects of explosions, and the conflicts between armies.
This excellent graphic revitalization work is accompanied by good sound effects and a remastered version of the soundtrack. All of this allows Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition to remain relevant today.
Going beyond the visual aspect, the soundtrack and sound effects also received very special treatment. Now the game’s themes are all orchestrated. The sound is much more real to our ears, without giving that feeling that they were made on a synthesizer. The same goes for the narration, lines, and general sounds of the title, all remade from scratch.
But one point that can be a bother is the imbalance of the difficulty of the game – something that is more evident from the campaign “Glory of Greece”. In the second mission, “Acropolis”, you start with two or three scouts and are attacked, without exaggeration, in a matter of seconds. No matter how fast new soldiers are created, what you see is a real blitzkrieg that is not overcome even reducing the difficulty from moderate to normal or easy – the enemy onslaught comes as fast as and at the same intensity as before. The way is to hold the ends and turn around 30, literally.
Speaking of the army, there is a huge difficulty for military units to organize themselves automatically to attack a specific target. Instead of positioning themselves around the enemy, they try to force their way through those already in action and end up doing nothing or the other. You can work around the problem, yes, by selecting each of the “disoriented” units and positioning them manually – which besides not being practical is not recommended in combat of large proportions. The result of that is frustrating deaths for nothing.
Overall, the new outfit presented by Age of Empires: Definitive Edition catches the eye and captivates both old and new players. The problem is that the level of satisfaction that the game provides can vary depending on that audience.
Certainly, those who grew up playing on the PC in the 90s will not be surprised by the absurd amount of text that the game uses to contextualize everything. Nor will it be surprising at the slower pace at which things unfold.
The tutorial campaign, for example, takes an hour to complete, something unimaginable by today’s standards. For this public, this AoE appears as a cozy and familiar haven full of good memories.
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is still a good strategy game. The developers have enriched the content of the title by adding historical battles, tutorials on their gameplay mechanics, and two new factions.
Despite the 4K and revised textures, the AI behaves strangely at times. If we add to this the recurring concerns of pathfinding, this tends to weigh in the balance. Nostalgia sometimes gives way to frustration. Without upsetting its principles and trying to bring the best into a dated formula, Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition nevertheless retains its charm for lovers of strategy.