Age of Empires 4


Jun 26, 2007
There’s just over a month to go until the release of Age of Empires 4. The AoE franchise feels like it’s in a very healthy place at the moment, with a very healthy multiplayer scene around AoE 2’s Definitive Edition and new expansions out in the last couple of months for both AoE 2 and 3.

So the fourth instalment has a tough job in needing to bring something new to a franchise whose 16- and 22-year-old predecessors are in their second heyday.

Last weekend there was a technical stress test that made a version of AoE 4 freely playable to all. I was unable to play, but fortunately YouTube is full of gameplay videos and recorded matches. My first impressions… it looks really good! This match in particular was really exciting and showcases the naval side of gameplay.

I was cautiously optimistic when I learned it would be returning to the medieval setting, but I think they’ve injected just enough novelty while retaining the core AoE feel. It feels like a nice combination of what works from both AoE 2 and 3. I particularly like the more asymmetric faction design — if they can get the balance right it will be really interesting to play around with the different civs.

It also helps that it will be available in the Xbox Game Pass, so I am counting the days until the 28th October.

Did anyone get a chance to play the stress test or beta? Any first impressions from CivFanatics?
One of my flatmates bought it, and has reported favorably on it. He was more of an AoE2 than AoE3 fan; felt there wasn't enough contrast in the graphics in 3 and that 4 fixed that.

I'll probably pick it up on a five year lag; I haven't played a traditional FPS other than maybe a game of AoE3 in years. Was really into AoE3 back in the day though, I played it more than Civ IV for the first year and a half after both of them shipped. Hopefully AoE4 lags less when you have 8 players with 200 units each. Those were always fun matches in theory, but kind of slogs once the armies met and you got 1/10th of a frame per second. I'm not sure if that ever got fixed, but at least it didn't when I was active.
I already had Game Pass for Flight Simulator/Forza/Halo/Sea of Thieves/Humankind purposes, so could happily play at launch without dropping £50.

I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s a definite improvement over AoE2 and 3 for me, I think the asymmetrical civilisations work really well. Obviously there are some bugs and balance issues, but the core of the game is immensely playable and satisfying. 3v3 is the most I’ve played so far, but no major performance issues.

The campaigns are pretty decent too — I actually like the documentary style videos you unlock, even if the hammy historical re-enactments of AoE2 are sadly missing “El Cid will fall to my blade!” :lol:

The starting 8 civs are honestly enough to ensure variety, although I’m looking forward to the inevitable addition of the Japanese and Byzantines in the hopefully not too distant future.
Top Bottom