Most games are hot when they release and then quickly become old and dated. Age of Empires II - The Age of Kings stands the test of time. This is a game that is fun even years after its release.
You would think a game created in 1999 would seem blocky and old after only a year or two. Quite the contrary. The gameplay, immersion in detail, and strategic fun in Age of Empires II makes it into a game that I envision will be playable and fun for years to come.
The game takes you through a variety of situations. You need to be an efficient hunter-gatherer. You have to know how to manage naval warfare. It's a great test of your ability to think outside the box, as you investigate and manage a new set of challenges with every pass.
I adore history, so it was a treat to be in a scenario with William Wallace and Joan of Arc. You see the real life locations they had to fight through, and you save the day with your own activities. The locations span the globe, keeping things interesting.
I realize that some people aren't interested in multiplayer and certainly there is enough here in the game to keep a solo player happy. However, those who do love multiplayer will be in for a treat. The game does an excellent job of keeping all sides engaged in the battle. I happen to love the multiplayer aspect here.
Yes, the graphics aren't super high def and up to current standards. That is quite all right by me. The gameplay itself is well done, and really after a few minutes I don't even notice what the details of the various structures look like. I am too busy racing around the screen planning my defenses. As long as the on screen icons are easy to identify and work with, that's all that matters to me.
Are there any downsides? I imagine gamers who are most focused on first person shooters, who want to aim rifles at heads and shoot, probably won't be as keen on the strategy based, long term planning involved here. That is quite fine. There are different types of games for different players. For strategy fans, Age of Empires II is quite a treat.
We purchased Age of Empires II with our own funds.