Parents' Guide to

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Excellent strategic historic battler adds gamepad controls.

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition logo: Three historical figures, including a North American First Nations chief, a European king, and a leader with brown skin.

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Based on 1 parent review

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Anyone skeptical of the idea that real-time strategy games can be fun on consoles needs to give this one a try. The Xbox release of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is designed to create an intuitive gamepad experience, and while it still has a bit of a learning curve, the results are terrific. Players are provided a variety of simple tap or tap-and-hold shortcuts for things like selecting all military units or units of a specific type, and army AI is smart enough to do things like attack enemies in range while traveling rather than simply ignore them. Radial menus, meanwhile, make it easy to see what options are available for units and buildings, then quickly select them. And the stress of village management is eased by behavior presets that allow players to speedily set priorities for villagers harvesting resources. Indeed, this may be the best gamepad control scheme yet devised for a real-time strategy game.

As for the game itself, it continues to age extremely well. The tried-and-true military tactics remain both logical and challenging, with campaign missions designed to force players to experiment with and take advantage of specific types of units in order to succeed, cleverly mimicking how military commanders through the ages needed to gradually adapt as technology evolved. And with most campaigns composed of just a handful of missions, it's almost impossible to get bored before it's time to move on to a new civilization with its own set of unique cultural bonuses, technologies, and units to learn and master. The developers occasionally play a little fast and loose with history, favoring fun over factual accuracy, but that's forgivable in a game designed first and foremost to entertain. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition for Xbox consoles is about as much fun as you can have playing real-time strategy from the comfort of your couch.

Game Details

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