Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition on Xbox review: Playing Age of Empires 2 on Xbox is not only possible but also a lot of fun

Although there have always been attempts to adapt the great games of real time strategy from PC to consoles, and there are not a few who -especially- in recent years have even enjoyed success, even today I find it hard to believe that I can play the legendary Age of Empires 2 with a command in hands. And not a minor or facilitated version, no. The classic. The game that conquered millions of players around the world just as it was designed. Or rather, with his more complete version to date because what now comes to Xbox is Age of Empires II Definitive Editionthe RTS of the sadly disappeared Ensemble Studiosexpanded and improved with a barrage of new content that will delight any fan of strategy.

We talk about all this in our special dedicated to talking about the great return of Age of Empires 2 to PC with this remastered versionbut to give you an idea of ​​the enormous amount and variety of content that this “definitive edition” includes, I’ll leave you with a brief preview: you have the original game plus all its official expansions, to which is added the last khans; a series of three new campaigns and four new civilizations created by the fans themselves. And what a level. Have 35 civilizations different with which to fight throughout a thousand years of human history on all imaginable fronts: from Europe to America, passing through Africa or Asia. And there’s more, because in this Definitive Edition of the Ensemble Studios classic, other additional game modes have also been incorporated, such as the Art of War to overcome challenges in the shortest possible time, or even a battle royale mode to compete against other players. A real madness that gives tens and hundreds of hours of pure entertainment.

But the big question is… how does a game like Age of Empires 2 work with a controller in your hands? I confess that I have always believed that the action of this RTS is so fast and complex in some aspects it seemed almost impossible to condense all its options into something as small as a controller. It is true that in its day we had a port to PS2 that, well, he was allowed to play; but you were nowhere near comfortable enough to fully enjoy their strategic battles. Already only the user interface ate half the screen.

Nothing to do with the work carried out by Microsoft. It has been so good that these last few weeks I have ended my days playing AoE 2 ordinarily like in the old days, only this time, instead of sitting in front of the PC with my keyboard and mouse, I did it on the television with a controller in hand.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition on console

The difficult challenge of adapting Age of Empires 2 to consoles

Whenever I’ve had the chance I’ve asked Microsoft about the possibility of seeing adaptations of Age of Empires to consoles or Steam Deck, knowing that this was a challenge that not many would want to face. Logical, on the other hand, it’s scary! And I have always gotten the same answer: if it is done, it will be when they feel that you can enjoy a full-fledged Age of Empires. Having seen the result, I have no doubt that they have worked a lot to make possible what seemed impossible. And I say this as a fan of the RTS who is always battling in one PC game or another. What is different about this port of AoE 2 on Xbox?

to start the user interface. If you take a look at the PS2 game and compare it to this new remastered version… there is no color. Faced with menus that occupied practically the entire screen, on Xbox the opposite occurs; you have a wide and clear vision of the battlefield, and yet you don’t feel that you lack information of any kind. Through a series of radial menus you can access the construction options, divided into Economy and Military, to make it easier for you to choose between them. And just pressing RB enlarges the minimap so you can mark the position where you want to send your troops.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition on console

Being this a pretty fast game where in a matter of minutes an army can overwhelm all your defenses, mobility around the map is key to success, and honestly I wasn’t very clear on how the keyboard and mouse feel could be emulated with a controller. The answer is great because AoE 2 allows you to create all over the map, wherever you want!, a series of “anchor points” in such a way that with a simple touch of the stick, the action goes instantly from one end to the other. of the map. To give you an idea. If you fight on two different battlefronts you can create two of these anchor points to move from one to the other without wasting a second.

There are also other “shortcuts” of the style that you access through the crosshead to, in this case, focus attention on specific units such as troops, villagers or even monks. Come on, the intention is that you can follow the frenetic pace of Age of Empires without distractions or barriers that slow down the game. And he gets it.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition on console

An example of intelligent design

The port of AoE 2 on Xbox is packed with some very smart design decisions that help make it quite easy and fun to enjoy the exciting action of this legendary RTS. I was talking about the shortcuts to jump from one side of the map to the other in a matter of thousandths of a second, but also, if you keep the D-pad pressed, you can select all the troops to immediately respond to an enemy attack; or with a double A you can take only those of a specific type that you have on the screen. But of all these options I prefer especially the management of villagers.

Age of Empires 2 with a controller requires a certain period of adaptation

In the age of empires saga War is very important but no one achieves victory if they do not properly manage the economy of their civilization. You have to manage many resources in the shortest possible time, which means calling more and more villagers to go from one place to another collecting firewood, stone, gold or food. They need attention but with a controller in your hands, it is not so easy or comfortable to move from one place to another selecting specific units. The solution? You may establish general orders so that the villagers act according to your needs, distributing their work automatically. You can ask them to focus mostly on food and gold; or that they go for wood and stone, since you need those resources to pass the Era.

You can constantly change the priorities of the villagers and they take care of the rest themselves. You don’t need to be on top of them controlling what they do, beyond building lumberjack huts, mills and so on near resource extraction points. It may seem silly but the truth is that it is a fantastic option that speeds things up a lot when creating your first settlements. But even with all these options and facilities, playing Age of Empires 2 with a controller requires a certain period of adaptation. You are going to have to play several games, trial and error until you feel comfortable enough to jump into competitive and fight even against PC players.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition on console

Learn to play Age of Empires 2

Another thing that pleasantly surprised me is that there are two different user interfaces in AoE 2 Definitive Edition on Xbox: one standard, designed for new players, with larger icons and main functions in plain sight; and another advanced, which adds such important options as control groups (group troops as you like to move from one to another in seconds), and reduces the size of the interface so that you have an even clearer view of the battlefield. And I like it because it’s a good example of the Age of Empires philosophy: easy to play, hard to master. First you learn and then you start doing crazy things enjoying the toughest battles.

In this sense, there is a new tutorial designed to teach you to play with a controller; plus the William Wallace campaign that acts as the tutorial for the game itself. Despite everything, you do not clarify with the command? You can connect a keyboard and mouse and play Age of Empires that way on your Xbox.

You can tell that a lot of effort has gone into making it possible to play Age of Empires 2 without missing the keyboard and mouse.

What I like about this port is that you can tell a lot of effort has gone into making it possible to play Age of Empires 2 on a console without missing the keyboard and mouse. Obviously on PC everything is handled in a more intuitive and simple way, but as I was saying, I’ve been playing a couple of games of AoE 2 every night on Xbox for a few weeks. And that has made me very happy. I have gone back to my childhood exploring all the campaigns I never got to play, and trying new civilizations that came with this Definitive Edition that is a true tribute to the enormous legacy of Ensemble Studios.

With the announcement that also Age of Empires 4 will be released on Xbox, and knowing that one of my favorite episodes will have one of these definitive editions, Age of Mythology Retoldit’s hard not to be excited about the future of what is undoubtedly one of the most influential and important strategy series in video game history.

I am in love with the Age of Empires saga and I could not be more satisfied with this adaptation to Xbox. Leaving aside the overwhelming variety of playable content that it includes, or its graphic improvements that we already talked about when it was released on PC, the best that can be said about this Definitive Edition on consoles is that you can finally enjoy an Age of Empires with all of the law using a controller, and without missing the keyboard and mouse. It takes some getting used to, yes, but a titanic effort has been made to enable you to command large armies from your couch without having a heart attack in the process, and what once seemed like an impossible mission is today a reality that’s a joy to play.

  • There’s a new tutorial for learning to play the controller, and plenty of help to make it easy for you to learn all about Age of Empires.

  • You can connect a keyboard and mouse to Xbox to play like on PC.

  • The Definitive Edition includes all official expansions plus additional content created by the Forgotten Empires studio with new campaigns and civilizations.

  • There are nearly 30 civilizations, dozens of story campaigns and the Art of War mode, with challenges that will push you to the limit.

  • If you want you can compete against PC players in multiplayer, or limit the games to Xbox ones. The game is included in the Game Pass.

Players: 1-8

Language: Texts in Spanish and Voices in Spanish

Duration: 37-40 hours (Main campaign only)

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