Age of Empires II is my favorite RTS game of all time, and one of my favorite games of all time. As a kid, I spent countless hours of my life locked away, commanding troops, building excess barracks, and hoarding resources. AOE was my first real foray into true RTS gaming, and is still the only series I have spent a considerable amount of time playing (outside of maybe Warcraft 3). I did everything I could with AOE II, including building maps with a really powerful yet easy map making tool, and even tried to take my game online to the Microsoft Gaming Zone. It’s online where I had my first big realization: I am absolutely terrible at RTS games.
Even now, I still pretty much suck. Only now I really care! When I was younger, success and excellence weren’t anywhere near as important as just having fun. Even though I often lost in the first few minutes, I enjoyed getting my ass handed to me every time I went online. Instead of plotting the best way to rush down an enemy player with basic units, I wanted to build a grand fortress with every building and wall pre-planned to look great. You can’t play a RTS like that, not even a little bit. In my now older years, I am excited to give Age of Empires II my full, serious effort. This HD remake guarantees that doing so will be as modernized as ever, given its full and complete Steam integration. Complete with ELO and Quick matchmaking options, it’ll be easier than ever to get a game going with decent competition.
In case you somehow missed the game, it’s an incredibly simple but still deep and fun RTS. All in real time, you have Villager units gather resources of Food, Stone, Wood, and Gold, which are used to build new units, buildings, and research new technologies. It’s probably one of the most classic of RTS designs one can imagine, but that’s what makes it such a fun title to pick up and play cooperatively with friends or just against random strangers. With the addition of Steam Workshop, the longevity of the game will increase dramatically.
If you are interested, Age of Empires II HD is available for pre-order on Steam at the introductory price of $17.99 (10% off its retail of $19.99) and will unlock on April 9th. It is a Steam exclusive with full Steam integration that won’t have any Games for Window Live or Microsoft Gaming Zone to worry about. Thank god.