Image: Microsoft / World’s Edge

Age of Empires II is extraordinarily particular to me. The sport got here to me accidentally at 16, and it has remained an awesome gaming love of mine ever since. I performed Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition on Xbox to see if, in spite of everything these years, I might rekindle my fondness for this PC sport on console, and it seems like love at first wololo once more.

It is a frightening prospect to play a fancy real-time technique sport like Age of Empires with out the finely tuned management of a keyboard. There are maps and submenus to click on by means of and models to pick and transfer and management. Yet, the builders at World’s Edge have designed a considerate controller interface that, after a few hiccups, labored as seamlessly as I bear in mind with a mouse and keyboard.

You can double-tap the A button to pick models of the identical time. You maintain the button down and transfer the left thumbstick to pick models inside a sure space. There are additionally a handful of shortcuts that make ordering your little minions round so much simpler. The sport will inform you in case you have idle villagers and let you choose these lazy slobs by urgent up on the D-pad. If there’s an enemy that wants a wololo-ing, proper on the D-pad selects your monks. My favourite shortcut was hitting left on the D-pad, which selects all your navy models and brings them beneath your management concurrently. If you’re a kind of “numbers go up” sickos like I’m, there is no such thing as a higher pleasure than seeing your UI mild up with the variety of models you’re about to ship to destroy a Carthaginian’s day.

Screenshot from Age of Empires: II Definitive Edition featuring a small city fringed with purple banners
Image: Microsoft / World’s Edge
My cities have been by no means so thoughtfully constructed. I simply plopped buildings down wherever there was room and encircled them with partitions.

There are additionally some neat automation options constructed into AOE II that make administration a bit simpler. With a click on of the best stick, you possibly can automate how villagers collect sources relying in your targets. You can have a balanced strategy or set it to a operate that prioritizes meals and gold in case you’re going for a giant navy. Then, the subsequent time you generate a villager, it robotically does your bidding with out the necessity to manually direct them. I, nevertheless, am too exact for such settings. Part of the enjoyable is the micromanagement, so I left that setting off.

I’m additionally undecided if that is new to AOE II: DE or one thing that’s been applied earlier than, however I actually like how the sport is sensible sufficient to direct my villagers to robotically begin digging for close by gold or stone if I’ve them construct a mining camp. I like when minions intuitively know what their goddess calls for. (I even have approach an excessive amount of enjoyable capriciously killing villagers if I must unencumber my inhabitants for different models. I ought to most likely discuss to someone about that.)

That mentioned, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Electric Console Boogalo isn’t 100% elegant in its management scheme. If there’s a solution to click on straight on the map, I haven’t discovered it, forcing me to carry the thumbstick till I get to the realm I need to survey. That makes it actually onerous to get a fast look at what’s occurring in case you’re beneath assault. I hear the telltale horn blow, letting me know there’s a struggle occurring, and by the point my eyes are on the motion, it’s over, and models I might have perhaps withdrawn had I been faster are lifeless.

One of the larger points I had, which resulted in a few irritating sport overs, was the truth that the sport’s UI has a lot happening as a result of it’s been distilled from a PC expertise to a console one, making it straightforward to overlook essential data. I wanted to construct a siege workshop. I clicked on my builder and hit the left set off. I used to be instantly proven a wheel of the buildings it could possibly assemble, however none of them have been siege workshops. I went mad, trying up tutorials and wikis, satisfied that I hadn’t performed sufficient upgrading to present my civilization entry to the siege workshop but. Turns out, buildings are segregated by operate, with commerce buildings (mills, markets, and monasteries, oh my!) on one wheel and navy buildings on one other. A fast press of the Y button pulled up the navy wheel and there was the siege workshop I used to be determined for. On an embarrassing word, the sport really tells you to hit Y to convey up the navy buildings, however I missed it because it received misplaced within the noise of the informationally stuffed UI.

Screenshot from Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition featuring the Berber civilization.
Image: Microsoft / World’s Edge
Controlling a number of little models over a giant area can get tough.

Once I received over these preliminary hangups, AOE II: DE performed precisely as I remembered. All the nostalgia of spending hours with this sport got here flooding again, and the expertise isn’t any much less diminished enjoying on console.

I didn’t have entry to laptop video games rising up. My household received our first dwelling laptop once I was 16, and it was an academic / work device, and due to this fact, buying video games for it was verboten. That didn’t cease me from enjoying Pinball whereas listening to the one song that came pre-installed on Windows XP machines — David Byrne’s “Like Humans Do” — on repeat day by day after faculty.

All that modified when one way or the other, someway, and for some unknown purpose, my mom’s boyfriend gave me a spindle of CD-Rs. Most of them have been clean, certainly one of them was a duplicate of Tomb Raider II, and one other one was a bootleg copy of Age of Empires II: Rise of Rome.

Nobody informed me what this sport was. It wasn’t a present or something, simply one thing that received placed on a spindle of CDs and forgotten about. But I devoured that sport. It was not like something I had ever seen. I had no thought video games like Starcraft or Myst or any of the opposite foundational PC video games existed.

Age of Empires, fairly actually, modified my gaming life. Instead of spending hours making an attempt to run up my Pinball multiplier, I’d spend hours as Augustus making an attempt to defeat Antony and Cleopatra. My enduring love of Roman historical past — full with a number of school programs taken and a number of other listens to the phenomenal podcast The History of Rome — took place due to this sport.

I’m really a bit unhappy these campaigns aren’t accessible on this model of AOE: II, however I do know it’s coming soon. I can’t wait.

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