Monday, August 8

Age of Empires IV Review: Better than History Channel | Digital Trends Spanish

Age of Empires IV review: better than History Channel

PVS $ 59.99

“Age of Empires IV is a compelling real-time strategy game, but above all with a consistent historical appeal that makes it look like the most incredible production on the History Channel”


  • The gameplay is solid

  • It has a wonderful historical component


  • Controls can be confusing at startup

The more i play Age of Empires IV, The more I understand why the series is one of the most loved by fans of PC games, and even one highly remembered by people who are not even regular gamers.

Age of Empires IV is a compelling real-time strategy game, but above all with a consistent historical appeal that makes it look like the History Channel’s most incredible production in a video game with solid mechanics, albeit from a very particular point of view, that could be implemented with simpler controls.

Loincloth and carriages

Cover of the video game Age of Empires IV

When Age of Empires debuted in 1997 I was a kid who was most fascinated with Doom ii than with the possibility of building an empire and conquering Europe. Maybe because of that, and because Age of Empires IV It is complex –like the original game–, it was one of the kind that followed in loincloths when others were walking threateningly in carriages, which discouraged me from continuing to play.

Of course, time changed and now at 33 years old the series seems much more understandable to me. Still, I think it is a mistake that at the beginning the game does not ask you if you are a newbie and would like to learn the basics, as is the case in practically all games today.

Then when browsing through the game options I found that Age of Empires IV it does have a section – extensive, by the way – with tutorials to learn the basics of the game. I am sure that if you had asked me if I wanted to learn the least before I was the warlike hand that guided Duke Henry II in his campaign against King Harold II and ended the Norman conquest of England, I would have said yes.

As there was no option, I understood, more by chance than by deduction, that to have food you had to have fields, and that to have metals to make weapons you needed miners and blacksmiths. Yes, I know they are obvious and that for fans of the series they are like breathing, but for me it was something relatively new.

An image with gameplay from Age of Empires IV
Controls Age of Empires IV they can be confusing at first.

In the same way, the option menus do not seem the most intuitive to me. On more than one occasion I saw myself reading the messages on the screen about how to execute an action, with commands that certainly have their degree of complexity, such as pressing the left click on a detachment to select it, and then pressing the Control key plus the zero and nine keys to create a kind of regiment.

Maybe because these things seem complex to me, nor did I feel uncomfortable when the game suggested playing it on easy difficulty (I clarify that I usually play on normal or hard in certain games), and even so I had to repeat certain missions before completing them.

But outside of my complaints about how Age of Empires IV It is not exactly a game for newbies of the RTS (real time strategy games), I must say that I enjoy it, more because without being a fan of the history of medieval Europe or the History Channel (Ancestral Aliens yes I love it), I find it entertaining that a game teaches me history. AND Age of Empires IVIn addition to a solid game, it is also a detailed and outstanding audiovisual production.

Better than History Channel

I am that hasty player who gives skip to all the cinematic scenes of the games (the remake of Final Fantasy VII screwed up the Options button on my DualShock 4). That is why it seems to me very remarkable that those of Age of Empires IV they made me stay to see them, and they all serve as a prologue or epilogue to the battles.

This is where the historical component comes in, and since the scenes are wonderfully produced on the sites where the fighting was fought and mixed with computer animations of the armies, the tandem seems perfect to me. By the way, the narrations of the scenes are made by a Spanish woman who definitely understands the intention that what she is narrating should have.

A movie scene from Age of Empires IV
That like ghost of Dark souls it is actually the Mongolian general Subotai. The scene bristles the skin.

The magic of Age of Empires IV combines these extraordinary prologues with game mechanics that adopt the combat strategies that were used in the Middle Ages. For example, when my army was made up only of knights, I understood that the best thing was to form them moderately far apart and in the shape of a rhombus, on the other hand, when in addition to knights I had lancers and archers, the best thing was to form them as an inverted pyramid.

After several missions I felt like I could be like Sun Tzu, until I had to spend a few minutes browsing through the menus to understand how to make battleships for infantry. Another aspect that I liked is that there are certain occasions when you can decide what to do, such as razing an empire or bringing tribute to it, but since I felt confident in my army, I destroyed it. You have to read Machiavelli.

In sum, Age of Empires IV it is an outstanding game. Since I am not a fan of the series I do not know if it is a worthy successor, but it entertained me and I am not a fan of RTS. I recommend it to the curious, especially if they have Game Pass Ultimate. In the same way, reviewing the tutorials does not hurt, especially if they are like me: more like an army of Gandhis than Spartans.

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