The charm of Age of Empires II HD is not in the fact that it can deliver a sense of nostalgia to players, it is because it uses very basic elements to create very intricate and deep gameplay experience. AoEII combines Civilization-level building mechanics with the pace of an RTS game –you need to plan for the ahead and the now, making players think well of any actions they can take. By putting both long term and short term concerns into a single situation, this game is able to inspire players to come up with innovative strategies that would provide them with sufficient defensive capabilities while still having enough resources to improve their civilization.
Release Date: 30th September 1999
Available on: Windows, PC, PC Download
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Resource gathering also takes on a new role in the game. While in other RTS titles, they are simply a means to an end (a way to gather whatever consumables you will need), in AoEII, they serve a huge variety of functions and can even provide a defensive and offensive purpose in battle. The various civilizations that you can choose from also have their own unique traits –though the progression of civilizations tend to point to just one direction.
Combat in this game is built upon an elaborate rock-paper-scissors mechanics: you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each unit and then assign them appropriately during combat. Mixing up your troop formations is a great way to adapt to a variety of enemy tactics, but the best payoff is when you create an army specifically made to counter our opponent’s setup. The game provides players with rudimentary commands –attack, defend, stand your ground, stop; these allow you to have a certain level of control on how the AI behaves when they spot hostiles. Of course, it is best to pay attention to skirmishes in order to make sure that your troops are doing the right thing –the last thing you want is for your units to be pulled into an obvious ambush.
Overall, Age of Empires II HD is a must have for RTS and Civilization fans –it does a great job of merging the slower made-for-turn-based sensibilities of the Civ games into a real time strategy format that just works as if it was always meat to be that way.
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Age of Empires 2 is developed by Hidden Path Entertainment.