There’s a lot to love about Age of Empires IV. It’s clear the developers have listened to the community in creating a game that feels both fresh yet faithful to the franchise. It has tried to combine the best elements of all previous games in the series and, largely, it has succeeded in doing so. Its small pool of factions may be a problem for some, and its camera issues need addressing, but in the grand scheme of things, this is an excellent entry into the RTS space. Is Age of Empires IV the best Age of Empires game to date? For me, it doesn’t quite knock Age of Empires II Definitive Edition off the top spot, but regardless, this modern entry has undoubtedly been well worth the wait.
Football Manager 2021 has done something that great managers do: it has acknowledged its weaknesses and improved upon them without completely rocking the boat. It still feels truly familiar as a Football Manager game, but the overhaul to expectations and communication makes for a more coherent and impactful experience. There’s more of a focus on what you say and do in your role as a manager and, over seasons, your performance is better judged. It makes a real difference to how the game can play out. The matchday experience may not be massively improved, but the improved focus elsewhere makes a real difference. For anyone who truly likes to get into the role of manager, Football Manager 2021 is a must.
It comes down to the fact that Age of Empires III has never been the best at fundamental RTS gameplay. The Definitive Edition has done a great job of bringing the title into the modern age with beautiful visuals and a new UI – but that core gameplay remains, and it falls flat especially compared to the standard set by last year’s Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition‘s intriguing campaigns are worth a look, but if you value adaptive and fluid multiplayer gameplay, stick with Age of Empires II.
Adding to the mix the Emperor DLC and the extra decisions, missions and incidents it imposes onto Europe, and you’ve got a wholly upgraded experience. The wrestling matches for power and influence become that much more apparent, that much more important and actually – very unlike Europa Universalis IV of the past – much more clear.
Despite its issues though, Command & Conquer Remastered Collection provides an excellent trip down memory lane – even if it is one that reminds us of how far videogames have come in the last 25 years. The real-time strategy might have moved on, but the Command & Conquer games still have a unique charm all of their own. Command & Conquer Remastered Collection certainly won’t win over any newcomers, but it makes for a commendable slice of nostalgia for those of us who grew up playing the games.
The reason you should get the new Dharma expansion is not because of these policies or the minor tweaks it introduces to Europa Universalis IV. Rather, because it transforms the subcontinent of India into a much more interesting region. With the specific caste systems and the trading overhaul, the area is much more alive for those who play as natives or those who play as foreign trade empires.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs isn't a stand-out game in any means. The combat is challenging but achievable and there won't be any fights that you will tell your grandkids about. The plot is humorous and the characters are enjoyable, but neither the narrative nor the characters will set the world alight. What Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs is though, is a JRPG that stands on its own two feet, and despite taking many influences and using certain generic conventions, it manages to carve its own identity.
Developer Tea Powered Games has some great ideas here, and I can't help but hope that its next title be something like a murder mystery game! But if you do fancy sliding into the shoes of a struggling writer, you could do worse than play Dialogue: A Writer's Story.