If you have been a gamer for a while, then you might have played the original Age of Empires and Age of Empires II. It is an enormous time suck. It is one of the founding fathers of the RTS-genre and is still an awesome game. Hidden Path must have thought roughly the same thing when they created the HD edition.
This edition is a faithful recreation of the original and keeps to the style and look of the original game. That means you still get that retro feel you’d get from actually playing the original DOS game. The developers upgraded the engine to be able to run at modern screens. So even my ultra-wide runs it at full resolution.
Of course the resolution isn’t the only improvement. You have several new maps at your disposal and there are a few new civilizations. The AI has also been improved with an option to revert to the original version. Improved is something I use with a bit of glee in this case, as the AI still isn’t much to look at compared to other strategy games today. Path finding is a bit of an issue too, especially on custom maps. Which brings me to the rather awesome Steam Workshop support for Age of Empires II HD. This gives you community support, extra maps and some texture packs.
It must be said that I had a lot of fun playing this game again. However this does not mean that it is without flaws. The animations really are like the original, so the look of the game is (purposely) dated. But since I’ve seen the new trailer of the original Age of Empires remake, I feel that Hidden Path could have gone the extra mile. The AI is at times rather painful to watch too. But if you play against humans, this will not be a problem. That being said, it is really Age of Kings. And if you enjoyed that, then you will enjoy reliving some nice memories.
Replay value: 8/10
Total Score: 7/10
The discounted Age of Empires II HD is now on sale for around $14 @ Steam.