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Age of Empires 2 - Making of a Better Definitive Edition

When it first came out in 1999, I played a lot of Age of Empires 2. Its blend of historical real-time strategy, with detailed rock-paper-scissors military unit management made it one of my favorite games of all time. I love the rhythm of having my villagers collect resources while I improve the village’s defenses, build and upgrade its soldiery, and ultimately launch invasions of my enemies.

So when an updated HD version came out in 2013, I gave it a try. I was disappointed. Although it was a decent update, which offered a lot of modding tools and a general visual improvement, it didn’t catch my imagination. It was, in essence, a nostalgia play.


A new version, called Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition, has captivated me entirely. Developer Forgotten Empires and Xbox Game Studios have done a fantastic job of taking a 20-year-old game and making it feel fresh. Although it’s really the same game, the Definitive Edition has made enough changes to make it feel like new, especially while we wait for Age of Empires 4 to arrive.

Age of Empires 2 Cheats: Definitive Edition looks better than ever before, with support for 4K resolution. It has a richer color palette, better lighting, and a host of redesigned units and buildings. I’m especially taken by the way buildings crumble to the ground when they finally succumb to siege. The ability to zoom in on the action is nicely implemented.

Music and voice acting have also been updated, giving the game a more grandiose feeling, especially during the campaigns, which are heavily narrated.

All the old campaigns have been included, with updates, as well as a new campaign based on the waning days of the Khanate. This includes four new civilizations and three story campaigns that offer a rewarding challenge.

In one new campaign, there’s a timed challenge that pits Tamerlane (aka Timur) against the heavily fortified city of Delhi. It’s reasonably easy to use catapults to get past the outer walls, but the city’s cramped streets are heavily defended by war elephants. Unit management becomes more difficult as the enemy takes out my seriously vulnerable bombardment units, leaving me unable to destroy the city’s last citadel. As I say, it’s a nicely designed challenge.


New game modes have also been added, including one called Empire Wars, which drops the player into a town with a ready-made population of villagers, all busily collecting a balanced portfolio of food, wood, gold, and stone. This takes the chores out of the early game, for those who tire of such things.

Much-needed game-control improvements have also been added. Unit queues are now more efficient.

Each building in Age of Empires games builds multiple types of units. Stables, for example, can build light cavalry, heavy cavalry, scouts, camel riders, and more.

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