Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition Review

"New Worlds"


October 14, 2020 at 1:19am
By Jason Stettner

This is the third main entry in the series, and the last of the collection to get the definitive enhancements. This also leads towards Age of Empires IV, so it’s a fairly exciting time for those interested in this real time strategy franchise. For this release you’re getting all of the original content alongside some fresh additions and improvements that help round out the package.

It’s a fairly comprehensive showcase of this third game, and I think a better overall experience. To start, there are a variety of modes present. The first up is the campaign section, this area includes eight campaigns from the original release and all of the expansions. That in turn provides fifty-four playable missions.

These have all been adjusted, with the Native American (Aboriginal) storylines getting a serious revisit which includes an all new version of act two. I thought these adjustments were welcomed, as some of the concepts were a bit awkward looking back. I don’t feel these alter the original experience in any wild way for those wanting it to be relatively the same, it’s just much more appropriate and far less silly.

The campaigns offer various cinematic moments, and a variety of unique missions, there’s a lot to experience there if you so choose. I should also mention there’s a medal system to reward various difficulty tiers within the campaign if you want a challenge. So, generally a good chunk of content to work through just story wise.

I’m personally more a of skirmish player when it comes to the Age of Empires franchise. There are many customization options there, and a number of ways to adjust what your goals are for conflict. There are also now challenge missions to work through and historical missions as well. Lots of content for the single player focused individual.

If you want to play online there are a number of ways to adjust the experience for playing against randoms or friends as well. That’s great, you also can enjoy a spectator mode too. You can also take customization further through mods and custom setups, similar to what we saw with the previous two definitive offerings. It’s good to see so many ways to interact with this entry in the series.
Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition


This really does look great, the visuals are a joy and the 4k Ultra HD pack delivers. Each little intricate element of the experience is more detailed than ever before and it looks excellent. You get buildings that become destroyed, and insane little bits of particle effects from the various troops. There’s also a fresh UI system to choose between three options, I personally went with definitive as I felt that one worked best for UI in a modern era.

For the most part everything runs very smoothly here, I did face slight pathing issues at times with larger armies yet nothing too detrimental to the action. You can really just pile on troops as you battle the other factions which is awesome. So many unique battles waging with a number of differing weapons being deployed. You get spears to muskets, and even cannons. It’s a little bit of everything and really changes up the conflict from previous entries.

Past that, the naval combat is grand too with intense explosions and epic action at sea. This is also a very interesting release in the series since it streamlines and adjusts many of the control type mechanics when it comes to how certain things are done. Such as with the farms being a resource of a single spot, that’s just one example as there are so many smaller tweaks if you’re coming from the second entry in the series.

You also get neat tactical setups you can do, and the game does carry a certain level of meta if you’re into that part of the experience. I should also mention that cross-play is here too, between the Microsoft Store and Steam with myself reviewing it on the latter. Good to see that being an option since this is a Xbox Game Pass offering.
Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition Review PC Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition is a great RTS experience that delivers a well rounded package with the upgrades and modes you would expect. It hits the marks across the board that we’ve been seeing with the previous two releases. It’s really exciting to have each of the games released at this point, and I can’t wait for the fourth one.

It’s truly a grand time to be a fan of the RTS genre, and particularly this franchise. You get an excellent selection of modes here, with many ways to play. There are various campaigns, you get challenge missions and also historical battles. You can face off in online multiplayer, or even enjoy local skirmishes.

It has mod support, custom scenario options and of course various visual upgrades. It deals with the Native American inclusion for the better, and it’s a neat offering within this series. It’s definitely different from the last two, and I think players will appreciate the variation this offers if you’re looking at perhaps trying it for the first time.

Read our Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition Review
View our Age of Empires Hub

Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition Review on Windows 10 PC
Review Code Provided by Microsoft

Rating Overall: 8.6

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner