Age of Empires II: HD

Age of Empires II is one of the games that everyone cites as what got them started on games. It’s a classic tournament game, a classic LAN party game, a classic everything game. I learned half of the information I should have learned in my European history courses from playing the Joan of Arc, Charlemagne, even the Battle of Lepanto in Spain. The game is absolutely legendary for good reason: strong gameplay, commitment to historical accuracy and a sense of humor.

The new HD re-release is the original game in addition to its expansion pack all with updated graphics. This is one of those games where a graphic update is absolutely welcome. In the late ’90s and early 2000’s, our graphic capabilities were increasing but weren’t quite there. Some legendary games, Baldur’s Gate, Deus Ex, came out at a time when our graphic capabilities were just an eyesore.

The old game looked, I won’t mince words, like a bunch of color-coordinated triangles with needles attacking rocks: it was just harsh on the eyes. This new version is updated into a new release, in high-definition, and is phenomenal. Small balance issues were worked out, which are either welcome or do not affect casual gameplay drastically.

This is the perfect HD re-release. Avoiding pitfalls like adding in extra mini games or other useless changes, it focuses just on keeping the game as it was, but playable next to new graphics. It’s just as much fun as the first time I picked it up and learned who Genghis Khan was. This game is worth every penny of your money.

Now we only have to hold out for an Age of Mythology HD release to be complete.