Hey guys, a casual rts player and a long time AOE fan and my first post here.
As AOE4’s release date is nearing, I am getting more concerned. I am afraid that they don’t have enough time to change some core things. Due to lack of details, the game loses the immersion and once the novelty wears off, even many of those who say they liked the game, will go back to the previous titles after a month or two. I am aware that these issues are being discussed everywhere, but I love this series so much that I felt like writing something. So please forgive my rant.
The magic and uniqness of AOE 2 and other RTS-
AOE 2 was my first pc game when I was a kid. It was perfection. Way ahead of its time. The scaling- units and buildings were easy to recognise, castles were bigger and stronger, trebs had visible projectiles and impact, the music and medieval style UI and colorful icons, everything was just too beautiful. and it got even better with DE. The same happened with AOM and AOE3. I remember my jaw dropped when I saw the beautiful water, the ships and reflection and impressive crew- operated cannons, people getting thrown away in water by cannonballs, and the music still gives me goosebumps. Then I played BFME and was blown away by their unit animations, graphics, animated buildings and seige weapons. There are no words to describe how fun the gameplay was. I also found it relaxing to zoom in and watch fauna, beautiful sea and weather effects in those games. and I was hoping AOE 4 was going to be even better than all of them.
The land feels alive with herds of animals roaming around and also no distracting borders.
Manned Balista in BFME that breaks downs with funny animation when destroyed.
I also miss such in-game history info. It was so fun to read.
When I saw the AOE4 X019 trailer, I saw a huge army, and I thought this game would be phenomenal. It would change the RTS gaming industry just like Half Life 2 and Skyrim did for the their genres. I thought all others games sales would go down and everyone will be addicted to AOE 4.
But after I watched the new videos, my hype started to die. The cartoony units and bright colors didn’t make any sense. It felt like it lacked the life and soul. I get readability and being able to run on every pcs but they shouldn’t be the excuses to downgrade graphics and dumb down the mechanics that worked in prev titles. As we grow old, we like to see more realistic approach. Their interviews and marketing strategy makes me think that they are not very serious about this game and just treat it as a quick cashgrab. I don’t know if they are under some pressure or too afraid to take risks.
The problem is that its not memorable or special enough. It doesn’t stand out from the rest. The game lacks its charm and personality, the wow factor. I kept searching for some fresh innovative ideas and found none. Where is the AAA next gen stuff? After hours of gameplay, I can’t even remember how the units/buildings/wonders look like. It makes me sad that they are so easy to forget.
However, Its not all bad. Few things are definitely good. I loved the VA, Scouting, the music, how the units die slowly, the resource panel is easy to read and documentary style campaigns. The grass is a beauty. and the trebuchet is simply magnificent. but for the most of the gameplay, there was no smile and excitement.
I do wish and hope that the devs could work these things. I heard they are fixing few of them, so thats great.
- Graphics and unit animations. They are not impressive at all.
- Building and Scaling should be closer to realism like AOE2/3.
- Siege machines must be manned. It was acceptable in 1999, but looks silly now. and bigger projectiles.
- UI is too bland and uninspired. I miss the colorful icons which were so easy to remember.
- Units need ragdoll physics. They can’t just get hit by cannon and die there.
- Distracting golden lightning gatherpoints and pathways. I don’t get the yellow lines at the borders too. It was awesome in AOM as we could see the end of the map.
- Golden ghosts. when they unpack, it feels like our unit is on fire. Simply unnecessary.
- Minimap is cluttered
- Lack of Gaia. The tiny animals look so cute, I wish there were more.
- Water and ships. They look too basic and unattractive. We really need the reflection.
- More Maps and biome.
- Weather effects/day-night feature.
- Unit formations/patrol. and I feel training units in batches gives us some feeling of grandeur.
- Civilizations are too similar.
- There should be friendly fire. Our units should take damage by our siege and wall destruction.
- No unit footprints in sand and blood/skeletons.
- Sheep and deer meat should decay. and why does it have to look ugly?
- Building animations. Its not too much to ask for moving TC chickens/stable horse in 2021 Triple A game.
- Population limit. After all these years, I expected it to be at least 300.
- Zoom level (maybe work in progress )and more camera angles.
I know people like me are a minority here but overall, a large part of community. and they said they were giving everyone what they want. so I am keeping my hopes alive.
I can’t help but feel that if the bad games keep coming, we are responsible for them. We shouldn’t be too easy to impress. If we allow the devs to give us a subpar and mediocre product and they will not be motivated to put more love and work into their next games. I know this will still sell millions of copies, but this franchise deserves more.
Devs, we love this game and we love your efforts but please take six months or a year more if you need to, but make this game a masterpiece that will never be forgotten. We don’t want it to be just good, we want it to be the greatest.
Thank you for reading guys. Let’s hope our beloved series lives on and keeps getting better with updates, DLCs and patches.