Age of Empires II: HD Edition Review
Age of Empires II: HD Edition Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Ensemble Studios, Hidden Path Entertainment
Pub: Microsoft Studios
Release: April 9, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood, Violence

While newcomers to the RTS genre might quickly find themselves frustrated, they’ll learn to be thankful for the campaign’s difficulty once they decide to wet their feet in the raging river that is the game’s PvP. If you haven’t mastered the skills the campaign instills in you, your opponents will devastate your puny little village, laughing all the way as your pixel buildings catch fire and collapse into digital piles of rubble.

Age of Empires II: HD Edition Screenshot

Now, there have been some complaints about the game’s multiplayer, with several users experiencing connectivity issues. However, in my time with the game, I didn’t notice a single problem; everything ran perfectly fine. Another complaint people have levied is the fact that AOE2HD doesn’t play online with the original. But seriously, did we really expect a modern day remake to play well with its fourteen-year-old brother?

There are some modern quality-of-life improvements to the game as well, most notably in the form of the Steam Workshop integration. This makes applying whatever mods you see fit easier than ever. And, as we all know, the modding community tends to contribute some incredible things.


Do you want a modern RTS with an absurd amount of polish and visuals that make you feel justified in purchasing that high-end gaming rig? Well, you’ll want to look elsewhere. In fact, I hear StarCraft II’s new expansion is pretty great. But if you want to relive the glory days of when the RTS was first coming into its own as a genre (with a glorious palette of pixel art), then you can’t do much better than Age of Empires II: HD Edition.

Josh Wirtanen
Contributing Writer
Date: April 17, 2013

A light upgrade, but still very much made up of pixels and sprites. It’s antiquated, but in the most charming of ways.
The Gold Standard of RTS controls. Point, click, drag, and hotkey your way to victory.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This sounds like a game from 1999. The music is cheesy, the voice acting is corny, and the word “fop” gets thrown around. It’s adorable.
Play Value
This is an incredibly complex strategy game, with a robust (though unforgiving) series of campaigns, PvP, and Steam Workshop integration for endless modding possibilities.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Explore all the original single-player campaigns from both Age of Kings and The Conquerors expansion, choose from 18 civilizations spanning over a thousand years of history, and head online to challenge other Steam players in your quest for world domination throughout the ages.
  • Explore new maps, multiplayer scenarios, and user-created campaigns. Or reinvent your game experience with new sounds, visuals, A.I., units, and more! Ready to share your creations with the world? Upload right from the map editor, or collaborate with friends to create a masterpiece collection.
  • Originally developed by Ensemble Studios and reimagined in high-definition by Hidden Path Entertainment, Microsoft Studios is proud to bring Age of Empires II: HD Edition to Steam!

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