Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

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Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
Age of Empires II Definitive Edition cover art.jpeg
Developer(s)Forgotten Empires[a]
Publisher(s)Xbox Game Studios
Director(s)Adam Isgreen
Composer(s)Todd Masten
SeriesAge of Empires
Platform(s)
Release
  • Windows
  • November 14, 2019
  • Xbox One, Series X/S
  • January 31, 2023
Genre(s)Real-time strategy
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a 2019 real-time strategy video game developed by Forgotten Empires and published by Xbox Game Studios. It is a remaster of the 1999 game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original. It features significantly improved visuals, supports 4K resolution, and includes all previous expansions from the original and HD Edition. In addition, it includes The Last Khans, an expansion that adds four new civilizations based on Central Asia and Eastern Europe, as well as four new campaigns. The game was released for Windows on November 14, 2019. It is also scheduled to be released for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on January 31, 2023.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

The core gameplay elements are shared heavily with the original but Definitive Edition builds upon it. The remaster includes new 4K graphics, new improved visuals for troops and buildings, the ability to zoom in and further out and a new spectator mode. It features a new expansion called The Last Khans and includes four new civilizations: Bulgarians, Cumans, Lithuanians and Tatars. Four new campaigns were added for the new civilizations: Ivaylo, Kotyan Khan, Tamerlane and Pachacuti which is about the Inca civilization and replaces El Dorado from the HD Edition (Lithuanians do not appear as a playable civilization in any campaign; however, they represent Poles in the Ivaylo campaign).[1][2] It includes all previous expansions from the original (The Conquerors) and HD edition (The Forgotten, The African Kingdoms, Rise of the Rajas).[1][3]

Players can choose between the original AI, the updated HD Edition AI that was added alongside the HD Edition of the game, and a newer AI developed for the Definitive Edition.[4] The original AI had to cheat to be competitive, while the new AI is advanced enough to not require any cheating. When the old and new AIs were pitted against each other in a test, the new one easily defeated the old one.[5] Unit pathfinding is also supposedly improved upon.[6] Players can shift-queue villager tasks.[7] Farms now have the option to be replenished automatically.[8]

In June 2021, for the first time since Age of Empires Online, co-op campaigns were introduced into the game.[9]

Expansions[edit]

An expansion pack, Lords of the West, was announced on December 15, 2020, and released on January 26, 2021. The Lords of the West expansion introduced two further civilizations, the Burgundians and the Sicilians, as well as three new campaigns, featuring Edward Longshanks, the Dukes of Burgundy, and the Hautevilles.[10]

A second expansion, Dawn of the Dukes, was announced on April 10, 2021, and released on August 10, 2021. It introduced two Central European civilizations, the Poles and the Bohemians, as well as three new campaigns, featuring Jadwiga, Jan Žižka, and Algirdas and Kestutis.[11]

A third expansion, Dynasties of India, was announced on April 14, 2022, and was released on April 28. It features three new civilizations, the Bengalis, the Dravidians, and the Gurjaras. Additionally, the expansion also features reworks to the existing Indian civilization, which was renamed the Hindustani. Three new campaigns, featuring Babur, Rajendra, and Devapala, were also introduced.[12]

To celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary a fourth expansion was announced, Return of Rome. It is composed of content from Age of Empires: Definitive Edition brought into the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition engine.[13]

Release[edit]

On August 21, 2017, at Gamescom, Microsoft announced Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition was in development by Forgotten Empires, Tantalus Media and Wicked Witch Software.[14][15] On June 9, 2019, Microsoft revealed the gameplay trailer at Xbox E3 2019.[3][16] It released on the Xbox Game Pass for PC in addition to Steam and the Windows Store on November 14, 2019.[17][18] A port to the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S was announced during the 25th anniversary livestream on October 25, 2022, and is set to release on January 31, 2023.[19] The console version features both gamepad and mouse and keyboard controls, and optional cross-platform play with PC version.


Reception[edit]

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition received "generally favorable" reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic with a score of 84/100 from 32 reviews.[20] Windows Central's Cale Hunt praised the improved artwork, animations and quality of life additions but criticized the AI path finding and pointed out a need for further balancing.[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Additional work by Tantalus Media and Wicked Witch

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Isgreen, Adam (June 9, 2019). "E3 2019: Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Launching Fall 2019, Beta Coming Soon". Xbox Wire. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition will release this fall". PCGamesN. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Honorof, Marshall (June 14, 2019). "Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Lives Up to Its Name at E3 2019". www.laptopmag.com. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  4. ^ White, Sam (November 12, 2019). "Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition review – reverent treatment". pcgamesn.com. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Shea, Brian. "How Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition Hopes It Is Living Up To Its Name". Game Informer. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  6. ^ Calvin, Alex. "Why Microsoft is investing so heavily in the Age of Empires series". PC Games Insider. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  7. ^ Ray, Bodhisatwa (November 21, 2019). "Age of Empires II Definitive Edition Review: Price in India and review". BGR India.
  8. ^ "Review: Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition". Hardcore Gamer. December 12, 2019.
  9. ^ Age DE Team (June 15, 2021). "Co-Op has Arrived in June's Public Update Preview!". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  10. ^ "Pre-Order Age of Empires II: DE – Lords of the West, coming January 26th!" (in Lithuanian). Forgotten Empires. December 15, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  11. ^ Age of Empires: Fan Preview. Xbox. April 10, 2021. Retrieved April 10, 2021 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dynasties Of India Trailer. Age of Empires. April 14, 2022. Retrieved April 14, 2022 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Mann, Michael (October 25, 2022). "Age of Empires 25th Anniversary Broadcast – the Rundown". Retrieved October 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Knezevic, Kevin (August 21, 2017). "Age Of Empires 2 And 3 Remasters Announced". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Wright, Steve (June 19, 2019). "Aussie devs Wicked Witch, Tantalus working on Age of Empires 2". Stevivor. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  16. ^ Giret, Laurent (August 19, 2019). "Age of Empires: DE launches on Steam with cross play support, Age of Empires II DE also coming on November 14". OnMSFT.com. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  17. ^ "Pre-purchase Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition on Steam". store.steampowered.com. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  18. ^ Moore, Ewan (August 19, 2019). "Age Of Empires 2: Definitive Edition Release Date Confirmed". UNILAD. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  19. ^ Romano, Sal (October 25, 2022). "Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition coming to Xbox Series and Xbox One on January 31, 2023; Age of Empires IV in 2023". Gematsu. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  21. ^ Brown, Fraser (November 12, 2019). "Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition review". PC Gamer. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  22. ^ "Review — Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a remake true to its past". Windows Central. November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.