Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition Review

"All-Time Classic"


December 17, 2019 at 1:48am
By Jason Stettner

This is one of my all-time favorite titles. It’s something I played for countless hours when I was young, and I have continued to play it occasionally over the years. It’s a classic RTS, and one of the genre defining releases.

The original experience is once again available, but with the glory of modern day visuals including an enhanced graphics pack that truly pushes visual boundaries for the game. If that’s not enough to entice you, there are three new campaigns to take part in and four brand new civilizations.
Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot
This all greatly expands the core package, offering more content than ever before in one streamlined package. Within this title you’re able to explore a number of campaign scenarios that covers ages of human history as you battle for domination. If you’re like myself, you may find this alright but crave straight on separate matches and that’s the beauty of the skirmishes.

Setup completely customized battles against the AI, or even take the battle online as you compete in matches of up to eight players. It’s great to have this sense of choice, and if you perhaps just want to watch this action there’s a spectator mode as well as native streaming support built right in. It’s modernized the entire way through, and that’s beautiful.

To round out the experience further there’s a challenge mode to take on additional ways to play, and an editor if you’d like to create your own scenarios for the game. It really does have everything that was originally included, while expanding it further which is glorious for fans and newcomers. There’s compelling missions here, or the choice to just freely battle in skirmishes.


With this being a RTS (real time strategy) title you’re commanding groups of soldier and villagers in order to get things done. You’ll either be setting villagers off to gather resources, or commanding troops to battle it out. The villagers will be set to collecting stone, wood, gold or food. They can also be used for construction whether that’s building or defensive items. When you’ve created structures you’ll be able to use them to produce troops or advance your technology. Going back to the actual title you’ll be moving through the ages and your small set of structures will change as that shift happens.

There are a wide range of structures and troops to create. There’s also a naval aspect if the maps calls for that, and each civilization has distinct unit structuring. The goals is to win by either destroying the competition, collecting special relics or producing a wonder of the world. There definitely is a lot to this, and it’s very well rounded content wise. The visuals are simply stunning here, I had the enhanced texture pack installed and was blown away by what it provided. The animations mixed with high quality visuals were gorgeous though it is very demanding performance wise. Certainly a future proofing element of play, this game will be stunning for years down the road.

It’s definitely worth zooming in on at times as you can see so many great little details, especially as your area expands over the match. It all handles well, being smooth while still retaining those iconic elements that made this so enticing. I will note that there are some issues with navigation troop wise, it would have been nice to get that smoothed out more. I didn’t really come across any real issues here, it ran well and offered a lot.
Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition 4k enhanced

The Conclusion

Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition is an excellent effort at bringing back an absolutely classic genre defining title and preparing it for years to come. This is stuffed with content and many modern elements that help round out the package. It’s great to have some fresh campaign missions, along with the option to play all of the content that released for it over the years that followed the initial release.

This is an epic package with tons of civilizations, options for customization and so many ways to play. This might feel a tad slow to newer players, but it’s certainly action packed for myself and there are ways to tweak the experience if you want something quickly paced. I didn’t really have any issues with this aside from some pathing situations and it’s simply stunning when it comes to the visual look. The visuals are gorgeous, the animations are well done and it’s great to have multiplayer options. This is almost a perfect rendition of the game I’ve loved for years.

It’s incredible to see it released like this for hopefully more new people to enjoy, and for fans to once again enjoy that remarkable experience. It’s something that’s great for today, and future proofed for tomorrow. This is just full of content, there’s so much to do and it’s still a blast to play all these years later. It’s really impressive to see these old titles get definitive release and I can’t wait for the third definitive title and a fresh release down the road.

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Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition Review on Windows 10 PC
Review Code Provided by Microsoft

Rating Overall: 9.2

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner