The original Age of Empires II was released in September 1999. I remember playing this game when I was a kid. The HD remake added a lot of things to it including new higher widescreen resolutions to use, AI improvements, multiplayer balances etc.
I decided to play a bit of Co-op with my friend Stan. Overall this gives a good breath of fresh air in to the game. If you buy it by itself its only 23 civilisations. However if you pick up the 3 DLC which I recommend, you get access to 31 civilisations. This game has a good trifecta for you to enjoy. The single player has 10 different campaigns for you to experience if you are not getting the DLC, but if you pick it up you get 24 in total. This has endless hours of content that you can play offline easily.
The single player re-enacts a lot of famous people and their historical battles with a bit of AOE 2 flavor. I really enjoyed learning the game with the William Wallace campaign. But I remember suffering through Joan of Arc or the Barbarossa story arcs. It isn’t the peak of graphical fidelity but the depth of the gameplay and different ways to counter different unit types, numerous build orders and civ/team bonuses offer many ways to play.
I am not as good as I used to be in the multiplayer but I am working on it bit by bit. It is surprising that, according to steamcharts.com, there are on average 8000 people are playing this game. This doesn’t even count the amount of people on Voobly playing the original game to this day, a game that’s nearly 20 years old. There are even tournaments that if you are good enough you can win some cash prizes.
So bottom line this game is a recommended buy even at its current asking price of 20 US dollars. If you want the full experience you will need to shell out 50 dollars for it. I wouldn’t recommend the DLC at full price. I would recommend getting it on sale. Find a friend or two and enjoy some Co-op or multiplayer battles to the death. You will enjoy this even without the DLC but it’s required if you’re going to be serious at the Multiplayer aspect.
Verdict for Age of Empires II HD: Recommended with base game at 20USD, get DLC on sale.
Time played: 98 minutes