Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Game Poster Image
Classic strategy game gets historic makeover of its own.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

The game takes an in-depth look at different civilizations, as well as how warfare has evolved around the globe and throughout history. The Story mode examines certain eras of conflict through the eyes and experiences of fictionalized heroes. The game also features a new "Historical Battles" mode, which allows players to recreate specific battles throughout history.

Positive Messages

The game's primary focus is on the mechanics of the battlefield, meaning the soldiers, the weapons, the strategies, etc. Although the Story mode does add a fictionalized perspective to the fighting, it's meant more as a connective thread to move from one battle to the next.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each civilization is represented by its own specific leaders. These are utilized as special units with particular skills and abilities. There's some historical information presented in the game's Compendium, but there's no actual character development.

Ease of Play

This is a complex real-time strategy game that pushes players to use resource management and unit commands in multiple areas at the same time. There's a lot to keep track of at any given time and it can occasionally feel overwhelming, but the game's difficulty slider and in-depth tutorials can help players get comfortable before diving into multiplayer matches.


Violence is a core component of play, with units battling each other in both small- and large-scale battles. Some small splashes of blood do appear onscreen, and defeated solders collapse on the battlefield when killed before disappearing. Some cutscenes show more graphic scenes of violence, including soldiers getting impaled.


Players may experience offensive language in online multiplayer via the in-game party chat.


This is the latest chapter in the Age of Empires franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is a real-time strategy game available on Windows based PCs. The game is an updated and enhanced version of 2005's original Age of Empires III release and its previously released expansions, as well as brand new content and features. Players choose from 16 different civilizations, teaming with and fighting against each other in skirmishes that represent both historical battles and alternative "What If?" scenarios. The game includes a comprehensive representation of the military forces of each civilization, with a detailed Compendium describing how they were used in combat. Play requires a lot of strategic thinking and micromanagement, but includes easy to follow tutorials and scalable difficulty levels to help newcomers or casual fans. Violence is constant, as players try to eliminate the opposition or complete specific goals. There's some blood shown onscreen and in cutscenes, but little in the way of graphic or gory depictions of violent acts.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySohaibXtreme February 28, 2021

Best Then Other

Age Of Empires III Definitive Edition
Adult Written bySauradip October 17, 2020

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What's it about?

History doesn't just repeat itself with AGE OF EMPIRES III: DEFINITIVE EDITION -- it improves on itself. The classic real-time strategy game is back and better than ever, with 4K HD graphics, newly enhanced audio, two new civilizations, and two new game modes. Players can follow the Story through three distinct campaigns that span the globe from the Ottoman Empire's siege of Malta to the battles of early settlers' confrontations with Native American tribes to the expansion of the feudal dynasties in Asia beyond the Far East borders. You can test your military strategies against those of record in the Historical Battles mode, which recreates some classic clashes of the past, or practice The Art of War and take on a series of challenges that spotlight the unique nature of each civilization. Players can also build their own custom scenarios or mods and ask, "What if history had unfolded differently?" And finally, you can take your skills to the virtual battlefield and compete in online multiplayer matches, teaming with or fighting against other armchair leaders from around the world.

Is it any good?

It's hard to think of any games that have been as influential to the real-time strategy genre as this series. Now, fifteen years later, the game has gotten a long overdue update with the release of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, improving on the already impressive original in almost every way. Right off the bat, the game pops with new HD detail and color, breathing new life into the classic experience and making the New World feel like a new world. While a lot of focus might be on the two new civilization additions (the Swedes and the Inca), the existing groups have been tweaked as well. Of particular note, the Native American tribes represented have been reworked to more authentically represent their cultures. It's the little things like this that show how the game balances respect for different cultures and their historic significance with entertaining gameplay.

Aside from adding the content included in Age of Empire III's two expansions, the Definitive Edition also introduces fans to two new game modes: Historical Battles and The Art of War. Historical Battles are pre-set skirmishes that recreate certain snapshots in history, such as the Barbary Pirates fending off the Spanish invasion to take the city of Algiers. These are quicker battles that provide unique perspectives on notable conflicts. They're not only fun, but they do a great job of raising players' interests in how the actual events unfolded and how history could have been different. The Art of War is a series of challenge-based missions, which don't necessarily demand players' victory, but pushes them to achieve specific milestones and goals. These missions really help players hone their skills and learn new strategies before jumping into the fray of online multiplayer. Multiplayer completes the Definitive overhaul of Age of Empires III, made more stable after the work done on the two prior Age of Empires Definitive releases. Add to this things like a competitive leaderboard, spectator modes, and online matchmaking, and you'll see that the tools are in place, working together to make the Age of Empires series historic in ways beyond its theme.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about war in history. How has warfare evolved throughout different civilizations? What are some of the ways that conflict has directed the course of history? What lessons can we learn today from the tactics and strategies used in the past?

  • What are some ways that remakes or remasters of past games can benefit fans? How can updating a classic game revitalize interest in a title or even expand the longevity of a franchise?

Game details

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