Age of Empires II HD Edition Review: Is There a Difference?
It was hard for me to write a review on Age of Empires: HD Edition. Why? Because it’s one of my all time favorite games, and the original was the single title that got me into the video game hobby. I don’t want to be biased writing the review, because I think the original game is a 10/10. So instead of rating this game off it’s content, I’ve decided to rate this game in comparison to it’s original. It’s the easiest way I could think of writing a fare review.
Honestly I couldn’t tell that much of a difference between the HD graphics and the original Age of Empires II graphics. If you put screenshots of the two versions in front of me I’d have a hard time picking out which one was which. Besides the water, which did improve greatly, they looked almost the same. The only graphical differences that I saw I didn’t really appreciate. Little cosmetic differences to the UI and buildings were barely noticeable, and when they did show themselves it just looked a little off compared to the original game.
The biggest benefit to the HD Edition of the game is the fact it’s on Steam. This makes both the Age of Kings and the Conquerors expansion pack available for only $20. Since its release the price of the non HD version has dropped to just below $20, but who knows when it’s going to rise back up. Plus, if you’re an Age of Empires fan you can get both Age of Empires II HD, and Age of Empires III for a mere $27.
But the benefits of a game like this being on Steam are more than just price based. It also lets players mod the game using the Steam Workshop. Already, only a couple of days after its release there are tons of mods available. If you liked some of the original game graphics and interface better, you can switch them all back, but this time with a little HD edge. There’s also new map and mechanic mods coming out every day, which have already spiced up my gameplay and given me more to do than the original game.
The other benefit players get from buying Age of Empires on Steam is the community you have access to. Age of Empires II is a great game to play online, and even though the game retains a decent sized cult following, it is now 14 years old, with Age of Empire sequels coming out in between 1999 and 2013. If this brings old players back into the game, or adds some new ones, buying the HD Edition of Age of Empires II is going to be like buying a ticket into the golden days of online matchmaking.
When it comes down to it, buying the Age of Empires II: HD Edition is really just buying Age of Empires II for Steam. Is it worth it? Well, it’s pretty cheap, you get to play on the Steam community’s servers, and you have the option to download user made mods that are easy to install. But if you already have Age of Empires II, and don’t want to play it on Steam, there’s really no reason to buy Age of Empires II: HD Edition.