The Dawn of a New Era in Strategy Gaming
Age of Empires IV, a trailblazer in PC strategy gaming, has marked its territory in the hearts of RTS enthusiasts since its debut in October 2021. Fast forward to November 2023, and the gaming community witnesses the grand unveiling of "The Sultans Ascend", the largest and most anticipated expansion in the series' history. Developed by the seasoned hands at Relic Entertainment, this expansion is not just an add-on; it's a revolution in the Age of Empires saga.
A Dive into The Sultans Ascend
The Sultans Ascend enriches the Age of Empires IV universe with an array of captivating features. Priced at $15, this non-standalone DLC requires the base game for activation, seamlessly integrating into the Age of Empires IV: Anniversary Edition. It's available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X, ensuring a wide reach across gaming platforms.
This expansion heralds the introduction of two highly requested civilizations - the Byzantines and the Japanese - along with two new biomes, ten maps, and four variant civilizations. The Byzantines and Japanese, each with their unique units and architectural styles, promise a fresh gameplay experience. The Byzantines, known for their Roman aqueducts and deadly Greek Fire, and the Japanese, with their formidable Samurai and Shinobi units, add strategic depth and cultural diversity to the game.
Variant Civilizations: A New Twist on the Familiar
The Sultans Ascend doesn't stop at adding new civilizations; it innovatively introduces four 'variant civilizations'. These are modified versions of existing civilizations, offering new gameplay elements while retaining the core identity. For instance, the Jeanne d’Arc Variant Civilization focuses on a hero unit that evolves through the game, a first in Age of Empires IV. These variants, like the Order of the Dragon and Zhu Xi's Legacy, offer alternative strategies and gameplay approaches, keeping the game fresh and engaging.
Enriched Environments and Captivating Campaigns
The expansion introduces two new biomes - the Japanese Spring and the Savanna. The Japanese Spring immerses players in stunning cherry blossom forests, while the Savanna brings the grassy plains and acacia trees of Africa alive. Alongside these visual feasts is the new single-player campaign set during the European Crusades, offering a deep dive into the history of the Muslim resistance in the Middle East. This campaign adds a rich historical narrative to the gameplay, enhancing the player's immersion in the Age of Empires universe.
Community and Critical Reception
The Sultans Ascend has been warmly received by the gaming community. On platforms like Steam, it enjoys a high approval rating, with 86% positive reviews. The game's popularity is evident from its record of 12,930 concurrent players, indicating its strong foothold in the RTS genre. This enthusiastic reception underscores the successful blend of historical authenticity, strategic depth, and immersive gameplay that The Sultans Ascend offers.
Conclusion: A New Chapter in Age of Empires Legacy
The Sultans Ascend is more than just an expansion; it's a testament to Age of Empires IV's enduring legacy in the strategy gaming world. By blending historical accuracy with innovative gameplay, new civilizations, and immersive campaigns, it offers both seasoned players and newcomers an unparalleled RTS experience. This expansion sets a new benchmark in the series, promising hours of strategic gameplay and historical exploration.
As the sun rises on this new chapter in the Age of Empires saga, one thing is certain: The Sultans Ascend is not just an expansion; it's a celebration of strategy gaming at its finest.