Like all of you, I closely watched all trailers and I have my share of concerns (like the cartoonish arrows) but most look like they are easily fixed without a ton of changes to the code so I’m not that worried, except for this:
Cavalry doesn’t simply stop dead when going full speed and facing other units. I understand that back in the day of the previous AOE games it was probably difficult to implement realistically, but it’s 2021 folks.
Did you ever play/remember the Battle for Middle Earth games? Cavalry charge mechanics and trample damage were modeled beautifully and that was back in 2004. Admittedly that game took the same liberties as the movies and the effect was over the top, but it can certainly be toned down to be more realistic.
Horses are not dumb and won’t naturally charge at infantry holding pointy things like swords or pikes, but what about fleeing archers or villagers? In the trailers I still see a scout simply standing there and swinging its sword at villagers and that’s awful.
In general, AOEIV could benefit a lot from copying a little bit of BfME games, especially when it comes to cavalry “feel”. In those games horses move their necks when turning, riders get thrown off their horses, there are specific animations when horses screech to a halt and this one is big: the rider acks, not the animal. You can argue that AOE does this to help you identify types of units, but riders can (and should) have their own specific lines (again BfME is a great example).
My fear is that it’s too late and the above requires a significant rewrite of the game engine to accommodate a fully new mechanic. I still play BfME a lot, mostly because the cavalry units are so satisfying to use. It was so ahead of its time in several aspects that are just getting included in AOE: it implemented the ability for units to hide in forests, context-specific unit formations (cavalry wedge, archer skirmish, pikemen porcupine, etc.), units could climb on top of walls to defend, etc.
I sincerely hope they have been tweaking this and it’ll be included in the final game.