Age of Empires 3 was always the ugly duckling of the series but we applaud Ensemble Studios for trying something different. The definitive edition is still different from the previous installments in the series but we think the updated graphics and gameplay will win over new players.
When the game first launched in 2002, it was a complete different beast from what would eventually become Age of Empires. These classics are now ten years old and with Age of Empires 4 recently being announced we are thankful to Ensemble Studios for coming up with a definitive edition that refreshes our memories of the previous two titles in the series. For those who don’t know, Age of Empires 3 is a military-fantasy-rpg game that takes place during the Age of Sail during the early 1800s. The goal is to lead your empire to victory and defend your territory against the surrounding nations.
Improvements in the Definitive Edition
Age of Empires 3 was released all the way back in 2009 so the game has seen quite a bit of age. The first thing to note about the game is that the graphics are still top notch and a major improvement over the original game. Also the most important thing is the improvements to the gameplay. Like many other titles in the series Age of Empires 3 lets the player play on a map of their choosing. This is a nice addition, especially for those who prefer a map with natural boundaries. The controls are similar to the original game and actually quite a bit more streamlined than the original. One big improvement in this edition is that you can now set the camera so you can move your army across the map and easily see what your opponent is doing.
A Unique Gameplay Experience
The unique "Home City" mechanic is still present in the definitive version. The difference now is that all cards are available from the start for you to choose from instead of having to earn them. This change improves multiplayer but basically reduces home city levelling to cosmetic purposes only.
Age of Empires 3 is an impressive collection of content that once again shows that the series has a lot of potential left. Ensemble Studios did a good job with the new graphics engine which really makes the game look much better than it did back in the 2000s. There are some issues but nothing to ruin an otherwise solid package. For fans of the franchise who need a compelling reason to pick up the game, Age of Empires 3 is a great experience. The limited multiplayer mode lets you focus on the story and experience of the nations on the map.