Age of Empires IV, the latest installment in the popular real-time strategy game series is now available on the Microsoft Store for Windows, Steam, and Xbox Game Pass for PC. This is the first new Age of Empires game since the release of Age of Empires III back in 2005, and it also follows the recent release of remastered editions of the original Age of Empires trilogy.
If Ensemble Studios, the original creator of the Age of Empire franchise no longer exists, the studio's DNA still lives on in Age of Empires IV, which is a spiritual sequel to the fan-favorite Age of Empires II. The game has been developed by RTS expert Relic Entertainment in partnership with World's Edge, Microsoft’s new internal studio now overseeing the Age of Empires franchise.
Just like Age of Empires II, Age of Empires IV is set in the Middle Ages and features eight civilizations including the English, French, Mongols, Chinese, and the Delhi Sultanate. The game features 4 campaigns with 35 missions spanning 500 years of history, and Age of Empires II fans should appreciate the comeback of several historical characters such as Joan of Arc.
If the game’s story mode is highly recommended for players who are new to the RTS genre, Age of Empires IV also lets seasoned keyboard and mouse warriors play with up to seven players in PvP and PvE multiplayer modes. The game supports crossplay multiplayer between the Xbox network and Steam, so no PC gamers will be left behind.
With an 82 score on Metacritic, the critical consensus on Age of Empires IV has been positive so far, with critics praising the game’s solid gameplay and accessibility features. Following the critically-acclaimed Microsoft Flight Simulator, it’s nice to see Microsoft keeping another decades-old video game franchise alive, especially at a time when RTS games have slowly but surely become a niche genre in the industry.
Age of Empires IV is priced at $59.99 on the Microsoft Store and Steam, but Xbox Game Pass for PC subscribers can also play the game for free starting today. Today’s release is just the beginning for Age of Empires IV as the team is already planning a large update in Spring 2022 that will introduce user-generated tools, Seasons/Ranked play, and more.