29 Oct 2021 10:07 AM +00:00 UTC

Age of Empires 4: What New Features You Can Expect

Age of Empires 4 is the latest instalment in the series, with the last entry having been over a decade ago. Therefore, fans of the real-time strategy game are certainly excited to see what new things the game has to offer compared to its predecessors. Below, we have noted some of the new features that players can expect.

Read More: Age of Empires 4: Beginners Tips and Tricks

What Game Director Quinn Duffy Has to Say

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In an interview with PC Gamer Magazine (via SegmentNext) about Age of Empires 4, game director Quinn Duffy declared that “One of our vision statements was to keep reminding ourselves that the experience encompasses this huge breadth of gameplay, and we didn’t want to revert back to our tactical roots."

Therefore, direct comparisons between the likes of Age of Empires 4 and its predecessors aren't wise. Duffy says that it "was never a goal to pull players off of Age of Empires 2" but that Relic Entertainment is instead "very happy living alongside the other games in the franchise." Each game has its own unique features and elements, all appealing to different types of real-time strategy players.

With that in mind, we have explained what's new in Age of Empires 4.

New Features

Storytelling

The Age of Empires 4 campaign menu.
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Each game in the Age of Empires series typically focuses on different areas of history. Age of Empires focused on the Roman Empire, Age of Kings looked at the Middle Ages, and Age of Empires 3 focused on the European colonisation of the Americas.

Age of Empires 4 broadly explores the Middle Ages, allowing players to play through four campaigns:

  • The Normans
  • The Hundred Years War
  • The Mongol Empire
  • The Rise of Moscow
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Ultimately, storytelling in Age of Empires 4 is more evolved, with there being approximately three hours of video content in the game dedicated to the history you're playing out.

Civilisations

Age of Empires 4 currently features eight civilisations. This is considerably less than that of Age of Empires 2, but with good reason. The civilisations featured in the game are intended to be more unique from each other, rather than bundling together multiple, similarly-functioning civilisations, providing players with a different experience.

The eight civilisations that you can expect to experience are:

  • English
  • French
  • Mongols
  • Rus
  • Holy Roman Empire
  • Abbasid Dynasty
  • Chinese
  • Delhi Sultanate
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We've got a handy guide explaining each civilisation and all of their unique capabilities here.

Graphics and Environment

Age of Empires 4 has elevated terrains and 3D graphics, shown in an image of two civilisations going to war.
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With 16 years between Age of Empires 4 and the last game in the series, it's obvious that there are some huge improvements in terms of graphics and the game's environments. Graphics are fully 3D and generally more smooth. Meanwhile, environments now have elements of elevation to make them more realistic.

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Additionally, forests are available for ambushes. Players can hide units in the ambush forests and prepare for stealth attacks on opponents.

To check that your PC specs are up to Age of Empires 4's requirements, read our guide here.

Mechanics and Advancing Through the Ages

Much of the mechanics in Age of Empires 4 will remain the same, however, the unique traits of certain civilisations (as mentioned above) will allow for them to be played out differently than what players are used to. For example, the Mongols have the ability to move their buildings, but the mechanics of the English and French will remain very traditional to that of prior games.

One of the largest differences between Age of Empires 4 and the prior games is the way players advance through the Ages. Previously, players could just go ahead and research technology to improve and advance their empire. Now, players will have to choose between two unique buildings to construct, specific to the civilisation that they're playing as, in order to advance to the next Age. These buildings also offer their own bonuses, such as increasing the production of infantry or increasing the armour of nearby buildings,

Mods

Age of Empires 4 menu shows that mods are coming soon.
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Mods are not a new feature for the Age of Empires series. However, players playing the game as it launches will notice that modification options are missing from the game. There is an option in the main menu of the game to select 'Mods' but this displays that they are coming soon. While not a new feature to Age of Empires 4, it will be a new feature to the game itself whenever they are made available!

That's everything you need to know about what's new in Age of Empires 4. It's clear that the game has not been created to compete or outdo any of the series' previous games, but to merely provide players with another long-awaited Age of Empires experience. To help get to grips with the game, we recommend checking out our tips for playing Skirmish mode and seeing how to play Multiplayer.