Wololo: A Real-Good-Time Strategy for the Ages

I am a big console player for many of my games; and for most of my life, this is where I choose to play, but one genre of game is by far, in my opinion, superior on PC. Every time I play a real-time strategy game on a console, I just don’t feel like I’m at home when I start to play out my strategies and attacking methods. The keyboard and mouse were the tools I grew up on to play these types of experiences. So many games in this genre come to mind, like Return Fire, Empire Earth, Civilization, Age of Mythology, Warcraft, Command and Conquer, etc., but the best in class is the Age of Empires series, with the best one being Age of Empires II.

I remember getting our first family computer, a Compaq Presario desktop in 1997. A game that also came out that year was Age of Empires, a fun real-time strategy game that had a historical focus on Europe, Africa, and Asia between the Stone and Iron Ages. The game was developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Because it was such an amazing game, I couldn’t have mentally prepared for the sequel to come to us in the Fall of 1999.

It was Christmas morning of the following year, 2000, and of course all the siblings were up early including myself. As we opened presents, we saw two boxes wrapped up, tucked in the back of the tree. We grabbed them and saw that it was to the Kelleys from Grandma and Grandpa. I opened the first one while my brother opened the second one. I had in hand Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, while my brother had revealed the expansion to the series The Conquerors.

I received this gift from my grandparents and now my eyes, ears, and soul would receive the gift of one of the most perfect games that the real-time strategy genre would receive on PC. I swear I even heard my PC say, “I love you Shane,” after booting this game up. The game had wonderful upgrades from its predecessor that would pull me and all my siblings into the fray.

Playing this game for countless hours was unhealthily amazing and like an in-game monk chanting, “Wololo,” I went under a trance of perfecting my strategies. This easily became my favorite PC game and ultimately my favorite in the franchise. As time went on, like most games, you eventually move on to other titles. So, when the HD versions came out on PC in 2015, I picked them up on Steam, renewing that passion of playing such a wonderful game. The updated graphics were beautiful and the new DLC welcomed me with open arms.

Now stepping back in time a bit, Age of Empires III came out in 2005; I was fairly excited (being my first year in college) and loaded it on my Dell that I received as a graduation present. I played for a few hours and though it was familiar, it was also very different; and it may have been that I was in a different stage in my life, but I did not enjoy this title as much as I had hoped. Even to this day with the HD remake on Steam, I still cannot get into as much as its predecessor. This longing for a superior sequel lingers and has created a void in my RTS heart. The ultimate question for me is, Can this year’s release of Age of Empires IV on October 28 fill this void after 16 years?

Watching the latest trailer repeatedly really has me excited and my hopes sky high like a trebuchet launching a chunk of granite into the air. The improved look to the game’s graphics and atmosphere gives you an overall feel of how much time and care went into what they are building. At launch, eight civilizations will be available and more will arrive over time. The game is coming to Game Pass, so you can download it for free; however if you pre-order either standard or deluxe editions ($59.99 and $79.99 USD respectively), the purchase will include Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition expansion called Dawn of Dukes for free. To me, this makes the purchase worthwhile.

With a new game coming to the series and some expansions to the already established series coming out, the age of Real Time Strategy will return in a big way. Are you excited for the new game? Have you played any of the previous games, and if so, which was your favorite?

Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.

Featured Image: Gamerant.com

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