Reviews - Updated on April 12, 2022

In the dark times that have come for RTS, even re-releases of old strategies look like a noticeable, exceptional event. So it happened with Age of Empires: Definitive Edition – a re-release of the strategy that created its own subgenre, which is already two decades old. Once upon a time, Age of Empires managed to combine intense battles straight from Warcraft II and Total Annihilation and historical development, albeit primitive.

The gameplay foundation of Age of Empires isn’t too outdated, aside from the clunky controls and a thousand little things that have become bad manners these days. Well, the game looks, of course, very unpresentable even against the background of other 2D strategies of the end of the last century. Can the Definitive Edition iron out all those shabby corners and make a classic that doesn’t scare young warlords away?

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition обзор

The corpses lie for a long time, covered in blood, but still disappear after a few minutes.

Dangerous restoration

Almost immediately you realize that in terms of graphics, this task is completed. Jerky and as if soapy sprites were replaced by tracing papers from three-dimensional models, the detailing of which is not lame even at maximum magnification. Yes, in Age of Empires of the 1997 model, camera scaling was added – however, when changing the “zoom”, the whole picture awkwardly “jumps”, as if the mouse wheel changes the resolution of the game as a whole. However, this does not prevent either surveying a good quarter of the map without moving the camera, or looking at the base and soldiers.

In historical strategies of this kind, it is especially important to colorfully depict each nation in each era so that falsehood does not surface. The first Age of Empires dealt with this by giving each cultural group of nations their own set of building “skins”, which made the bases look authentic, for all their crude utility. We understand that no one lives in these houses for four population units, does not wash dirty trousers and does not give a slap to his son. But these houses look as if they are still living – there are pots with something edible on the roof, the surface of the water in the trough is refreshingly swaying, and the wind is surely rustling in the branches of the cypress at the gate.

This 2D magic extends into the architecture of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition with ten times the power, thanks to the detail and desire of the artists to saturate the image of each building with the essence of the nation that built this building. Where half a dozen pixels flickered in the old version, menacing golden lions grin in the new version. Or they don’t grin – after all, you can’t see their muzzles, they are too small. This, perhaps, lies the subjective shortcoming of the new graphics – there is not enough schematicity in which an inquisitive mind could see even lions, even cypresses, even a Babylonian harlot.

Bronze Age Graphics

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition looks quite decent, but appearance is only one of the obstacles to modernization. In terms of playability, Age of Empires stumbles here and there, although it is obvious that some aspects have been modernized.

At least the queue for the construction of “units” – they were so lacking in the original! Only you can’t plan research like that, and ordering an upgrade immediately blocks the ability to queue anything – even other improvements, even troops.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition обзор

The AI ​​is not that ferocious and is great for training.

The “lags” in the Definitive Edition reach such proportions that it becomes impractical to continue the game. If one of the players in the match has a bad ping, everyone will know about it by observing the long “freezes” of any movement on the map. Not every fight was completely without “brakes”, and some had to be abandoned. However, someone with such “friezes” managed to get out, abruptly throwing a pack of shooting chariots on you and taking them away half a second before your archers fire a volley.

So far, the main enemy of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is the platform. The Microsoft Store, despite the continuity of generations with Games for Windows Live (holy-holy-holy), seems to be starting its journey anew and stepping on all the same traps that Uplay and Origin, and once Steam, have only recently gone through.

A store devoid of any conveniences, where there is no logic for the distribution of goods, normal tags, and all social functions are chopped off, since this burden was taken over by Xbox Live, paradoxically now available on Windows 10. And, by the way, only on Windows 10: owners of ” “sevens” and “eights” will not be able to play, and that’s it.

All the troubles that tormented us at the start of Windows 10 miraculously come to life when communicating with the Microsoft Store. Falling download speed, errors at any stage of installation (and removal, by the way, too), terrible holes in the registry – I could play Age of Empires: Definitive Edition only after going through all the circles of hell. Of course, not every CBT participant has encountered these troubles, but even one tenth of the problems that I had to overcome can bury any enthusiasm.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition обзор

The detachment has scattered and will now start shamelessly stupid, trying to ford the river: half will turn around and gallop east to bypass half the map.


A restored version of Age of Empires is undoubtedly needed. And in general, her recovery went well – about the campaign, however, there is no news, but the network battles are quite ready. The only question is whether fans of the series and enthusiasts unfamiliar with the original are ready to fight the new platform, endure connection problems and, what is much more important for many, save hours, earn achievements and publish screenshots with a swastika made from corpses in a system that will never use again. Still, the mass PC-audience, not indifferent to RTS, very badly intersects with the owners of Xbox consoles.

It’s only the beginning! Age of Empires IV, whose release looms somewhere at the end of the year, also runs the risk of landing on the Microsoft Store window – and nowhere else.

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