I’m kinda with you to the extent that it would be nice to have that as a feature… but have you played Age 1 DE? I really don’t want to bash the developers but the classic graphics option in Age 1 DE is pretty much terrible:
- you lose the zoom function so everything’s too small even in 1080p
- it’s very, VERY buggy to the point that simply playing it properly can become an issue
- the pathfinding is worse and not because it restores the original game’s pathfindig: it’s simply buggy
- even graphical glitches happen
Compared to that whipping out your copy of AoE Gold and installing UPatch HD on top of it is a much better experience, like if you want to play Age 1 with the classic graphics there is no contest there, Age 1 DE is barely even functional in that regard. What that tells me is that the engine was altered too much for the old stuff to work properly out of the box = restoring the original look would simply take a lot of dev resources.
Now Age 2 DE is a huge game in terms of content: you have 35 civs, easily 250-300 hours of campaign content etc. so making all of that work (and making assets for the new stuff that doesn’t exist in the old game) for the sake of having a classic mode is just not worth anyone’s time. Nothing was removed, HD Edition still works, the Userpatch is just as good as it was one month ago etc. so you know, play the original if you want those graphics.
Also I’d say that when it comes to extra quality of life features DE offers so much more than the original game ever did (■■■■, even the DE UI itself is so full of eco information that it instantly makes you better at macro) that even if you DO have readability issues with DE chances are you’d beat the crap out of a version of you that’s still on HD / Userpatch.