AoE4 unit's appereance, "coolness" and colorful pyjamas

This is reaction to another topic , where OP claims, that AoE4 units are not cool enough and lacks personality compare to AoE2 or Command & Conquer

I though, that AoE4 are “cool”, he is idealizing AoE2, but he is not completely wrong, there is a point there, but the problem is somewhere else

While playing AoE2 and AoE4, I realized, the one of big important problem (aside of graphic style) with AoE4 is an unit’s apperence. During playing mongol campaign in AoE4, in siege of Kiev, I have not realized, that I fight with my age2 units against enemy age3 units, in AoE2, I directly see that this is knight (age3) and that is cavalier (age4 upgrade)

Lot of people compare AoE2 with AoE4, so I would be different, and go to the core, with using AoE1 for demonstration

In AoE 1&2, the units are distinctive , this is main aspect of original AoE1 and its successor AoE2

Look at clubmen (age1 infantry) and axemen (age2 upgrade)

these are heavy infantry and heavy cavalry in age 3

and here are upgraded units in age 4

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And now the comparisation with AoE4

Here are age1 spearmen

and here are age2 upgrade

These spearmen look very similar in Age1 and Age2, I would not say, that they are different units and they are too colorful, this is what I call pyjama units

Here I have light and heavy cavalry, is directly clear, what is what?

BTW somebody opened this topic in the past


Be mindful that zooming in enables shadows to be properly overlaid on the colourful textures, whereas normally they are limited to better show player colours.

I have already mentioned this in the main thread, but one of the big issues with AoE4 units is in fact animation. The example you brought with the horses is a good one, for they look far too similar to each other at a glance. They however also share many animations, which makes perceiving a difference even harder in motion.

Many of the past games would have individual animations for units, which gave them a personality that stood out. Having quirks when idling, moving or when attacking makes them different, and using the same base animations for these will inherently make the units feel more similar than they actually are.

They decided on this to save time, but animation is rarely something people bring up when talking about significant parts of a game. Despite that, it is crucial in correctly illustrating things like character.

Units like the newly added Sipahi do well to visually stand out, by having a unique silhouette and very different materials and armour than other units. But, it still utilizes the same base set of animations as regular horsemen, which limits how much they really can stand out. While it is understandable why they went down this directly, it is ultimately quite unfortunate in my opinion.

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Indeed, AOEIV’s units lack personality and share the same unit animation.
All these things make the game boring.
I have talked and mentioned these things a lot and I have seen little to no changes so far.

Originally weapon size was bigger and zoom was closer and devs changed them because people (rightfully) complained. But now the idea of “telling what unit is by its weapon” is not working, especially if you’re new to the game.
They have to redesign units with the philosopy of the other games in mind.

It is still big.

zoom didn’t change, they just added another option for those who wanted it zoomed out.

Yep, it never really worked well.
Units need specific animation, sound and art to define them.

Yep, they should consider its previous games and other successful games that implemented action well.