So I’m gonna get right into this and question some of the graphical choices and explain why how it could be more attractive than I currently see it.
+The water is beautifully reflective and pleasant on a cloudy day. Great.
-The water behaves as if there’s a mild storm going on out on the open water. If it’s a lake, river or a sea, it’s all the same. It’s moving way too much, because the trees arent bending in the wind, this makes no sense at all and it’s really disturbing.
-Shorelines are extremely generic and gives no feel of depth or elevation
a) +The trees look very nice how they stand together, the jungle is especially impressive
-The trees when they fall become a neat and tidy woodpile, and the original aoe-look of a chopped down tree is far superior and logical. Why would you continue to chop on a neatly chopped woodpile? Just carry it away.
b) -Resources are quite difficult to distinguish from the regular terrain to my eyes. I can do it, of course, but it doesn’t come by instinct.
The Berries on the bushes should be more red, and the bushes should look slightly more different than the trees nearby, unless they’re supposed to be apple trees with very dark red apples.
The Fish in the water should make themselves more apparent, in aoe they splashed the surface. Stone- and goldpiles seem extremely flat and indistinguishable.
+The cliffs look pretty good, in certain positions they really look like you get a view over the treelines from up there.
+Some buildings look fancy
-Buildings just blend into the terrain way too much. All buildings need more sharpness and less blur, and pits/grannies need proper borders that hint the extents of their drop-off zones
They all move like they’re apathic and have no goal. No will. They all travel around the map like hunchback zombies.
Overall the graphics make the game look very flat, and un-Zen. The major idea is that everything needs a certain distinctiveness like in the original aoe, instead of being blurred out.
A berrybush is not a tree. A stonepile is not a rockpile (it’s a special type of useful stone). A fish is not water. A shoreline is not grasslands. A shallow was indicated by having plants growing from the riverbottom, and it was brilliant and full of contrast.
Aoe was the most detailed and well animated game in the entire series, with the best contrasts on the map, and absolutely fantastic battle and movement maneuvers. This is something you should embrace and analyze extra hard in order to make a great game.
The recipe for success is to recycle what is already amazing, fix all the annoying stuff and bugs, and add great features that were not conceived of at the time.
What makes me hesitant about aoe:de is that a lot of stuff seem to be made uglier and redone in worse ways just for the sake of redoing it. Only make a change if it actually makes it superior.