The real-time strategy genre has been taking a lot of hits in the last decade due to various factors, including the rise of MOBAs and the changing tastes of gamers in recent generations. There are less developers who are willing to put their time and money into making an RTS game, and some current projects even get cancelled (like what EA did to the new Command & Conquer). While StarCraft II teeters in and out of popularity thanks to its eSports base, all we can do for now is hang on to nostalgia, especially with new versions of old games that still have a solid fanbase.
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition is an updated version of the beloved classic real-time strategy game from Ensemble Studios developed by SkyBox Labs. Previously, Age of Empires II had gotten an HD version from Hidden Path Entertainment, as well as The Forgotten, an expansion pack for that HD version. They must have done well in sales as it then resulted in this remake of another game that gained a following throughout the years. It’s one of those games that most gamers may remember, whether from playing it a long time ago or having heard of it from somewhere.
The original game is known to be a good game all by itself, so what must be reviewed in this version is how it stays faithful to the original and how it improves the gameplay without sullying its soul. For the most part, it’s still pretty much the same game, but AoM veterans may then find things to nitpick in this version of the game. After all, it has been handled by a different developer, and there’s no way that they’re going to keep it exactly the same from the inside and out when they had to dig through the guts to update it in the first place.
First of all, the main improvement in this version is the updated graphics, which does look great on HD format. The water looks all nice and shiny and the environments look pretty good. However, when you look at the character models, you’ll be reminded that it’s a decade-old game, so it’s still not entirely new. But it’s still nice to see this classic with sharper looking visuals, which makes it more enticing to play with nowadays.
You still get the deep and fascinating strategic gameplay that has you going from mere grunts and peons to summoning titans courtesy of your chosen god. Each civilization has three major gods to choose from, each with a tech tree that gives you certain options on the field that you can then exploit. Aside from that, there really is no new content to be had here, so you’re really just paying for the enhanced graphics, so there’s nothing really “extended” in this edition.
The online multiplayer support, while a good idea on paper, leaves much to be desired, with tons of lag and difficulty in connecting to a game. Even if you do get into a game with good latency though, you may have to contend with opponents who will most likely rush you, so you better be prepared to defend or you’ll be toast, as with any other real time strategy game. For those who aren’t very familiar with the tides of war in this genre, then you best skip this mode and play some skirmish games against the AI before venturing forth, although it would be better if the netcode is ever fixed.
They did their best, and it still plays well enough, but it may disappoint longtime AoM fans who are expecting to get much of the same experience they once did long ago from the original. It was bound to be a slightly different game, no matter how you slice it, but it does introduce Age of Mythology to a whole new generation of gamers.
It’s actually more expensive than the original game that was a few dollars cheaper, and it’s a source of consternation for fans right now. If you really must get this, wait until it goes down from its original $30 price point to get more value out of it. If you still want to play it though, but can’t shelf out the cash, then maybe you can get the original in GOG.com for a few bits and give it a whirl.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 6.5/10