Is Age Of Empires IV, Worth Playing?
Age Of Empires IV proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that in the right developer’s hands, a modern RTS is possible and that remastering classic titles is not the only way to ensure good RTS games in 2023.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Price: $59.99
Release Date: 28 October 2021
Supported Modes:

Garrisoned Walls.

It was always a pet peeve of mine how previous Age of Empire titles did not allow me to place archers and infantry on the walls. Age of Empires IV has finally addressed this, allowing for an even greater depth of siege defence than was previously possible.

While adding catapult and trebuchet towers would be nice, I will take what I can get.

Sieges Improvements.

Infantry can now construct battering rams once the corresponding technology has been researched, allowing for greater fluidity in sieges alongside more traditional siege equipment such as towers, catapults, bombards and trebuchets.

Combined with the ability to garrison walls, sieges have never felt more dynamic. They are closer to what we have come to expect from the Total War franchise than anything we have previously seen in Age of Empires.


Unit Enhancements.

Battles in Age of Empires IV look more immersive than ever, with new animations and sound effects for every facet of battle, including flanking, charging, and holding ground. My favourite is the thundering of hooves as a unit of cavalry enters the battlefield.

Aesthetics aside, the addition of unique specific abilities, such as longbowmen being able to deploy anti-calvary spikes and campfires, help to make combat far more tactical, with terrain finally affecting the outcome of each battle.

Terrain Advantage.

In previous Age of Empires titles, with very few exceptions, the terrain made no difference to the outcome of a battle, and while this did ensure that everyone was on an equal footing, it was not very realistic.

In Age of Empires 4, terrain plays a huge role and can change the outcome of a battle.

  • Infantry and archers can hide in densely forested areas to ambush enemy armies and patrols.
  • Ranged units such as archers receive a range bonus when holding high ground such as hills or castle walls.
  • Units stationed on walls receive a passive damage debuff due to the defensive nature of their location.


Improved AI.

Even the most hardcore fans of the franchise will concede that the AI in Ages of Empires has never been too bright, and that doesn’t even take into account the trainwreck that was the launch of Age of Empires III Definitive Edition that saw campaign AI stop creating buildings and units as soon as their starting resources were exhausted.

In Age of the Empires IV, AI players display a wide range of human-like tendencies, including feint, flank and multi-prong attacks, and more importantly, AI no longer charge headlong into a meatgrinder once they are assured of defeat; instead, AI will retreat whenever possible to await reinforcements or relocate to a more secure location.

These changes, coupled with the unit improvements we have previously discussed, elevate even the most mundane cooperative or skirmish match into a far more enjoyable affair, greatly aiding in replayability for those who prefer to spend their time in battles against the AI rather than human opponents.



While certain civilizations ageing up by building a landmark or structure is nothing new, and we have seen this mechanic utilized as far back as 2006, the widespread adoption of this mechanic in Age of Empires Iv is refreshing, with seven out of the eight playable civilization being offered the choice between at least two landmarks at the start of every age.

These landmarks offer players various perks and bonuses, from increased unit production and passive area of effect healing to additional keeps and town centres. Players will want to experiment with each civilization’s landmarks to see which works best.

When playing as the English, I am fond of building the Council Hall to enter the feudal age due to the Council Hall is an enhanced version of the archery range that allows me to recruit Longbowmen 200% faster than normal, which is useful for building up a large force of longbowmen to see off any feudal age attackers in both PvE and PvP environments.

An added and rarely spoken off perk to building your way to a new age is players being free to assign as many villagers as they wish to construct a landmark, greatly reducing the time required to unlock each era’s buildings and technologies.


Mixed Reality Cutscenes.

I have always been a fan of the way. Age of Empires allows players to experience key moments in History.

While I enjoy the traditional sketch art and narration utilized by the Age of Empires II Definitive Edition and earlier titles, Age of Empires IV takes this formula. It introduces it to modern stands by introducing History Channel-style mini-documentaries before and after each mission.

What impressed me the most about these mini-documentaries is just how good they look, with players being shown the battlefield as it looks today, overlaid with wireframe images of the event that took place there.

While these cutscenes may feel excessive to some, I enjoy having more opportunities to indulge in them as a history lover.

The bite-sized cutscenes and unlockable documentaries are a great way to “learn as you play” for even the most casual armchair or junior historian.


Age Of Empires IV FAQ

Age of Empires IV is a real time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Xbox Game Studios, it was released on 28 October 2021 and retails for $59.99.

Platform Availability.

Age of Empires IV is available on the following platforms: PC, and Xbox Series X|S.

Are The Developers Active?

Age Of Empires IV remains in active development, receiving roughly three major updates each year, which bring additional maps, modes, content and occasionally new civilization, such as the Anniversary Update in October 2022, which was released for free to all players and included two new civilizations (Malians and ottomans), eight new maps and a slew of quality of life improvements in response to user feedback.


Is Age Of Empires IV Dead?

Age of Empires IV is active on all supported platforms,  with an average daily peak of 15K players on Steam alone, not including its massive Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Series X|S console community.

How Long Does Age Of Empires IV Take to Complete?

On average Age Of Empires IV takes between 30 and 100 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 30 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 45 Hours.
  • Completionist: 100 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • Console - Controller.
  • Console - Mouse and Keyboard.
  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Age Of Empires IV is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

I am a huge fan of the Age Of Empires Franchise, and I was honestly expecting Age Of Empires IV to be unable to live up to my love for the series; I could not be happier to be proven wrong.

Age Of Empires IV is one of the best titles in the 25-year History of the franchise, and I fully recommend it to any fans of the genre.

Is Age of Empires IV Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Age of Empires IV" a rating of 10/10, indicating that it is genre-defining and essentially unmissable. While it may not be 100% perfect, it comes close, and the average gamer is likely to both enjoy and recommend it to others.

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