Age of Empires: Definitive Edition enters the Ultra HD era this February

Age Of Empires: Definitive Edition

The quiet success of Age of Empires II HD was a reminder that while they’ve fallen out of vogue somewhat, there’s an audience hungry for the twitchy-yet-cerebral thrills of the classic RTS genre. A revamp of the first game was due to follow that last year until it hit a last-minute delay, but now I’m happy to say that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition has both a release date and price tag, and both seem quite reasonable.

The only concerning element of this news is the mention that the game will be coming to ‘Windows 10 PCs’, implying that this will be yet another title exiled to exclusivity on Microsoft’s OS-tied storefront.

February 20th is the official release date for the Definitive Edition, and it’s priced at a reasonable enough $20, although it remains to be seen if the slew of enhancements brought to this version of Age of Empires (zoomable camera, narrated campaign, smoothly animated 4k sprites, etc) will give it the edge over the graphically-simpler but content-heavy Age of Empires 2 HD. It’s a tough sell, considering AoE2 HD is available on Steam, along with several new expansions and full Steam Workshop-supported modding.

I can’t help but be reminded of the fate of Halo Wars 2 on PC, with players reporting the PC multiplayer scene dead on arrival thanks to its Windows 10 exclusivity. Meanwhile, the original Halo Wars still has a small but active community thanks to its placement on Steam and discount-buoyed price point.

An additional note that may raise some hackles is that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will handle its online multiplayer through the Xbox Live network. While no subscription is required for PC users to play with each other, it’s an infamously clunky system that never quite gelled with PC multiplayer standards. That said, the game does at least offer traditional LAN play, so other options are available. It’s not the best of signs when an otherwise good-looking game has so many warning flags posted around its launch, but Microsoft do seem insistent on drawing people to their Windows 10 store somehow.

12 Comments

  1. ColonelFlanders says:

    “How to not sell any copies of your games 101, by Microsoft”

    • ilitarist says:

      Expect stories about users not caring about strategy games anymore.

  2. Syt says:

    No problem, Microsoft, I will play AoE2 on Steam instead.

  3. Spacewalk says:

    Thanks but no thanks.

  4. weloveme says:

    well thats a shame. Guess I wont be buying then. I refuse to upgrade to Win10.

    Only way I would get on Win10 is when I buy a new PC but for now I am happy using my current setup with Win7

    • d3vilsadvocate says:

      It’s not like you should buy it when you upgrade to Win10 either. You should not buy MS store games because a) the store completely sucks and b) because it won’t be around anymore 10 years from now.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Windows 10 is actually really good, it’s the horrible store thing that’s sucks a bad of dicks.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Seconding this. With a couple tweaks (make Cortana go away as the first thing you do), it’s the most hassle-free MS operating system I’ve used.

        The built-in store is just a mess that nobody ever uses.

        • Alberto says:

          They almost got me with the free-for-win10-if-you-have-it-already Minecraft, but the store AND the xbox app are so clunky and obnoxious I got into my senses again and rolled back to the java version.

          The xbox network is terrible from the moment you (mis)click into it. They want to be steam, itunes, twitch and msn messenger at the same time.

          That makes you altF4 so quick you don’t notice it peeps into thr games you play _on steam_ and list them as your xbox activity. And there’s no way to opt out of that.

  5. Carra says:

    I bought and played through a few campaigns of the Eastern Indies AoK expansion. It’s still a lot of fun to play, easily made me loose track of the time while I was playing.

    So I’m interested in AoE. But not enough to buy it at full price, maybe during a sale.

  6. Zorgulon says:

    I don’t think nostalgia will be enough to make me get this. AoE 2 always was the significantly better game, and not having this on Steam with Workshop support is a misstep.

  7. DasBilligeAlien says:

    Gentle Reminder that 0AD is a thing :)
    link to play0ad.com
    Free open source AoE like