I started this year playing my favourite game of the series: Age of Empire Definitive Edition. Imo, the best game as such is Age of Empires 2 DE, and Age 3 has some very unique details,. but I prefer the first game of Age of Empires. It brings me the best memories and also I totally prefer the historical era where it takes place. The setting and the atmosphere feels kinda more charming, charismatic and real to me, dunno why, closely followed by AoE2.
Funnily enough I played AoE1 first too, but just because I didn’t play it in a while.