So I disappear for a few days in a slew of papers, grading exams, and of course playing Age of Empires 2! Anyone else spend way too much of their childhood/teens/tweenhood dedicating way too much of your time to put two gigantic armies on one map and have them beat face each other or is that just me? At either rate, once I found this gem 80% off on Steam, it was an insta buy for me. Which is solid, considering if I ever wanted to get my Age of Empires fix, I thought I would have to go to my local Wal-Mart and find it in that section of puzzle games and Nancy Drew mysteries where it has existed for at least 15+ years. But once again, I digress…
If you were to look for the grandaddy of ’em all when it comes to strategy games, you will be hard pressed to find a game that competes with Age of Empires 2. This game is and rightfully should be one of the greatest video games of all time. It was one of my favorite games growing up and was listed as one of my Top 20 Favorite Video Games of All Time! But the question still remains, how does it hold up over the years? We are going to find out today! There really is no plot to this game unless you count the scenarios that they set up, so with that said, I’ll just jump right into the review.
It is a Classic
Easy enough to say, you will be hard pressed to find too many people who lived through the late 90’s- early 2000’s without playing Age of Empires II at least once. It was the game to play back then and was a true challenge. The game never pulled any punches in battle and required a good deal of knowing when to attack and when to retreat in order to accomplish a task. You had to micromanage each part of your civilization in order to gain victory or face horrific and crushing defeat. The world seems to almost come to life as you become invested in the story and learn something about the history of the world along the way.
To my recollection as well, it was one of the last games to truly implement the cheat code system to full effect. The game was fun on its own, but got all the more fun when you included things like the cobra car that a fleet of them could annihilate entire civilizations. Not to mention, it also gave you the ability to fantasize about wiping out entire cities with your superior technology.
Overall it is just plain fun and has aged gracefully over the years. With the exception of some slightly lower than average graphics, this looks like a game that could be released by some indie team today and that is impressive!
The one thing that really puts my balls through a salad shooter with this game is how military units just seem to clump together in one big pile. The back of the box, when you get this shows all your units in these nice little rows attacking in formation. It looks really fucking cool!
But when it comes to gameplay… Not so much. If even one unit from another squad ends up in your regiment, you end up with this large hogpodge of a mess that just generally attacks in this gigantic ball of ‘fuck if I know’. Which is all well and good, if I were able to tell units when NOT TO FUCKING ATTACK AN OPPONENT! The soldiers under your command have the worst fucking ADHD imaginable. They will wander off and chase after one of the enemy soldiers relentlessly until he is dead or your force them to return. Sure you can enable your units to not attack, but god help you if someone attacks them or else they will just stand there and wait for sweet death to embrace them.
I do love this game and understand that this is 1990’s AI we are talking about here… But damn you can get a little better than that, especially as new patches and versions were released.
Overall, this game is just plain amazing! It not only was one of the greatest games in the 90’s, but it also withstood the test of time to still be an absolutely amazing game.
Final Score 4.5/5
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