First AoE 4 review: biggest German gaming magazine

Hi all,

the final review (release version) from the biggest German gaming site (Gamestar) has been published just now:

Summary:

Pros:

  1. Great (multiplayer) gameplay; wonderful game mechanics
  2. Great civilizations design; interesting gameplay choices
  3. Perfect middle ground of preserving Age character and implementing clever new ideas
  4. Great sound design

Cons:

  1. Mediocre campaign; extremely sterile way to tell the story
  2. Loveless graphical details; sometimes immersion breaking (things like: inanimate buildings, missing animations (e.g. when building rams), no siege crews, strange arrow physics etc.)
  3. Missing control basics; missing customizability

→ "Such great potential in gameplay, so many good mechanics and depth but so many disappointing, easy-to-see flaws - 86%"

What do you guys think?

19 Likes

The one sentence conclusion is pretty much spot on for me. Altough I do not fully agree with all the points above.

Surprising to see they state the campaigns are poor when MS/Relic have mentioned they put so much emphasis on them.

Also, I understood that Gamestar also criticized the lack of proper hotkey customisation and UI, one of the few big reviewers to do so. Shows you they understand RTS compared to the likes of IGN.

3 Likes

It’s a strange review. First you said this game has graphic problems, bad animations, Arrows, Linear campaigns but than you give a 86%.

Legacy Is a thing, unfortunately and AOE Is a name. A Good Rts but nothing more to me.

4 Likes

Gamestar with PC Gamer are traditional PC gaming sites.

Still no content about it yet it seems.
Perhaps a lot of the streamers are waiting to post it.

But I look forward to seeing what the campaigns are actually like.

The campaigns are high quality and the Gamestar review didn’t deny that.
But they didn’t like the choice of presentation. That is entirely a taste thing and that’s why it likely didn’t affect the score as much.

AoE2 told the story from the perspective of a person for the Middle Ages while AoE4 has a outside narrator.
Even in the missions you don’t hear the characters talk, only the modern day narrator.
This is less immersive and makes you feel like you play a documentary.
It’s up to personal taste if you like that or not. Maybe someone thought the old voice lines were cringe and is happy about the new presentation or the other way round a different person feels pulled out of the experience if they hear the narrator talks about the side mission they just completed.

8 Likes

Spot on. Game releases in Early Access.

Campaign does not look great, you can see some videos online. But I found all previous campaigns extremely boring in these games anyway. The documentary style is very sterile.

The rest seems to bode well for multiplayer gameplay which I agree and am happy about. I would say that the focus was always on this element given the campaign was never shown/playable in the beta. Also emphasised by the way the campaign has turned out.

Sorry to those who care about that but there will be/are a lot of other people content.

Luckily other functionality can be worked on and hopefully this does not affect launch too much.

Those shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, I care for both. If Starcraft/Warcraft can do it, so can Age of Empires. It’s disappointing to hear the campaigns don’t look great.

1 Like

Obviously major spoilers but do check it out yourself

Yeah, I’ve seen a little, I’ll probably binge later tonight. From the little snippets I’ve seen I was actually positively surprised about cutscenes, my concern was that they will all be completely disjointed from the gameplay like the trebuchet/crossbow videos but the intro videos seem to be more story focused and seem to do a better job of pulling you into the game.

But my concern about the campaign is whether it’s going to feel like a bunch of skirmish missions where you just a-move for the win or if they will jazz it up with interesting mechanics, Dawn of the Dukes for AoE2 had some fun mechanics which are impressive considering they are limited to a 20 year old game engine, I am hoping AoE4 will at outperform that.

4 Likes

Happens a lot with Gamestar lately. IGN level of useless final ratings. The part where they deliver great analysis is the article text itself : P

86% seems good to me

1 Like

Omg, i can’t take the review in a serious way.

They details all of the game breaking feature and give a higth note, for a basic empty monotone game of pion chess pieces.

Its more of the opposite based on their video-review (Age of Empires 4 ist fantastisch - aber noch nicht die Rettung des RTS (Test / Review) - YouTube) - a really good AoE game for fans but not a RTS revolution that might inspire “casual gamers” to give it a try. Nothing game breaking - but stuff missing that will most likely be patched soonish(e.g. better hotkey customization, global queue [which are among the top priorities according to isgreen]) and some weird animation bugs (troops clipping up the wall before passing a gate) that probably will be fixed. Not really any major issues. The campaign issues that are listed as a major flaw are also very subjective as the presentation method is kinda unique with their documantion style instead of a “gamey”-style storytelling.
Don’t think that 86% is only because of nostalgia and from what I’ve seen it seems justified. Cant wait to play this game :slight_smile:

7 Likes

Good review for me, along with PCGamer’s. In this one they bring the UI and key customization points, too, which I missed in other reviews. It’s shocking to see that high score considering the review and final opinion, though, but well… we know how most media out there simply don’t make any sense with scores, even after a quite good review.

The critical point (even more than the graphics lackings) is going to be the campaigns thing, it seems. World’s Edge has put a lot of marketing effort on how unique and incredible the campaign experience was going to be, but reviews are saying just the opposite… not good, though we will be able to judge it in 3 days only.

1 Like

The hell ? How can you score 86% with “so many disappointing, easy-to-see flaws” ??

Pretty sure that if my boss though that my work was with “so many disappointing, easy-to-see flaws” I wouldn’t get 86% of my bonus and would be fire instead…

It’s like the IGN YouTube review. The video is 80% criticism and they give an 8/10. What the ****?

6 Likes

Wow campaign’s not my focus these days, but this is very surprising to read

3 Likes

lol its a review site, we’ve learned throughout the years to take their words with a big grain of salt.

Make your own decisions instead of being mad over a score?