Sometimes you can just look at a game, and know that it’s going to be something special. I had that feeling when I passed by the Empires Apart booth at the PC Gamer Weekender.
From a far it looks like a basic RTS game, but after sitting down and playing for well over 45 minutes, what I found was a complete surprise package that I can easily find myself losing hours of my life in.
When the Definitive Edition of Age of Empires was announced at E3 last year, it was met with both elation that the game we all loved 20 odd years ago was being remastered into a form where we could play it again, and disappointment that we weren’t getting a brand new addition to the series. Empires Apart will capture both fans of the original Age of Empires, but also quench the thirst of those looking for something a little bit different.
The graphics style alone wins me over straight away. The voxel, boxed style just looks stunning. Whether you are zoomed right in at the battlefield level, or zoomed out overlooking your empire, it just looks gorgeous.
Gameplay is based around the Age of Empires model, of building up an empire, and working your way through the different ages in order to improve your technology, build new structures, and different units for your army.
After speaking with one of the developers behind the game, they were aiming to create a game based around skirmishes and multiplayer, rather than a narrative focused game. This is where the RTS genre gets most of it’s leg work, and whether they can keep the player count high enough, and how their match making progress will work too. From playing the game on the show floor, the AI will be more than enough of a challenge even for the veterans of the genre.
There was a couple of guys sitting at the booth for well over an hour, taking on four other AI empires, on the hardest difficulty, and they only just managed to scrape by at their skin of their teeth, so you can easily see how this game could end up being a huge time sink hole for anyone.
I for one cannot wait to keep playing Empires Apart, and it will be a direct competitor to the Age of Empires re-release.