Top Critic Average
It's probably not a game that you're going to spend too long playing online, and the AI is generally too soft for its own good, but Grand Ages: Medieval is the kind of game that, every time I sat down to play it, I'd lose time and end up playing for a half dozen hours or longer. There is perhaps nothing more rewarding that watching a tiny village grow into a mighty empire, and that counts double when the expansion happens through non-violent strategic thinking. It's not quite Europa Universalis, or even Nobunaga's Ambition, but it's difficult to think of a more accessible, effective grand strategy game than Grand Ages: Medieval.
Grand Ages: Medieval is a game targeted at a niche of gamers, those who might find even classic history-based titles like Europa Universalis IV or Medieval: Total War lacking when it comes to the economic department.
Grand Ages: Medieval can be thought of as an acquired taste (much like the fine wine I peddled around my Alpine trade routes). If you're looking for something more relaxing when it comes to your 4X strategy, this game might be for you.
Grand Ages: Medieval remains an acquired taste, but it's certainly the most accessible game in the series to date. The trading mechanics are intuitive enough to avoid confusion, while remaining complex enough to encourage micromanagement and enjoyable risk-reward tinkering. Simplistic combat and a lack of variety mean that it begins to run out of steam by the end-game, but if you're looking for a more relaxed approach to world domination, Grand Ages: Medieval is a perfectly solid option.
All in all, it's refreshing to see a title that focuses on trade and economics instead of battles and warfare. Grand Ages: Medieval shows assigning assets and constructing businesses can make for a compelling gameplay mechanic. With so few games in this genre available on the PS4, it fills the void adequately, providing an engaging experience that'll likely take up much of your time if you can get past the problems.
Grand Ages: Medieval is both deep and shallow at the same time, offering a detailed and interesting city development and trading system but letting itself down with shallow diplomacy and military options. A game where everything has been done before and, for the most part, better, it's a good time passer on the PC though something quite fresh and unique for the PS4.
Grand Ages: Medieval attempts to do something a bit new in the strategy genre, offering a more economic and diplomatic take on building an empire. Unfortunately some rough cuts between a singular style, lack of context clues, and intuitive feedback, as well as a number-driven affair that becomes apparent entirely too quickly leaves the player feeling as though there just isn't a ton of variation here.
As time went on, I didn't get the sense that I was becoming better at the game so much as I was smashing my head into walls until they relented. And that's a shame because Grand Ages has so much potential, and it does one thing--trade--really well. But there's nothing to support that core, and the more you play, the more you run into roadblocks.