What you need to know
- Age of Empires 4 is an RTS game that previously released on PC.
- Today, the Anniversary Edition of the game comes to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
- The Xbox version provides native controller support and updated menus for easier console gaming.
- It can be purchased on its own or accessed with Game Pass.
It's been a few years since Age of Empires 4 released on PC in 2021, but now this award-winning real-time strategy (RTS) game is finally on Xbox — as of today! During Gamescom 2023 Opening Night Live, it was revealed that Age of Empires 4: Anniversary Edition is now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and even Xbox Cloud Gaming. In order to play it, gamers can either purchase the game outright or can access it through Games Pass.
Earlier this year, Age of Empires 2 was brought to Xbox, giving the PC classic an overhaul in relation to controls and the HUD to make it play comfortably on Xbox. So it's no surprise that the same has been done for the latest game in the series.
As you can see from my Age of Empires 4 review, this latest game on Xbox plays much like previous games in the series revolving around strategic gameplay where players command a civilization in order to become a powerful force by gathering resources, building up cities, improving their economy, and improving their military or naval might. Then it's time to see who among those playing is the most powerful as you work to defeat your opponents.
"Everything Age fans know and love about Age of Empires IV is included: players can build cities, manage resources, and lead their troops to battle on land and at sea. All of this can be played out across four distinct campaigns with 35 missions spanning 500 years of history - from the Dark Ages up to the Renaissance – all from the comfort of your living room. Skirmish and Multiplayer features a selection of 10 diverse civilizations across the world: from the English to the Chinese to the Malians – the choice in your quest for victory is truly yours."
Some of the changes made for Xbox include:
- Console-friendly user interface: Menus and toolboxes have been updated to radial wheels, to make it easier for players to give commands to their units and initiate updates.
- Villager Priority System: As was utilized in Age of Empires 2 on Xbox, this wheel allows players to select what resources are the priority so Villagers will collect the right amount of Food, Wood, Gold, and Stone via automation.
- Site Menu System: To make things run more smoothly, easy command and build options are available depending on what the player selects. For instance, if a player selects Berries, the Site Menu System will have the option to build a Mill without the player needing to select a Villager first.
- Accessibility Options: To make the game more approachable, players can adjust difficulty including a Story Mode. There is also the option for in-game narration and high contrast mode to make it easier to understand menus or make out game details.
- Supports controller inputs as well as keyboard and mouse: You can play the way you want to play, either with an Xbox controller or by plugging in a keyboard and mouse.
- Play with Friends: Online rounds allow players to participate or spectate as others play. You can play with up to seven friends in PVP or PVE on Xbox Series X|S. Meanwhile, Xbox One players can play with up to three friends.
- Performance: The Xbox version of Age of Empires 4: Anniversary Edition supports up to 4K resolution on Xbox Series X, 1080p on Xbox Series S, 1440p on Xbox One X, and 900p on other Xbox One devices. Additionally, Xbox Series X supports 60fps and Xbox Series S supports up to 60fps; Xbox One has been optimized for up to 30fps.
Windows Central's take
I've been a huge fan of the Age of Empires series since the 90s when I was hosting LAN parties with friends. Among RTS fans, the series continues to be the king of historic strategy and a very challenging-yet-rewarding game to master. Bringing the latest game to Xbox with updated menus and controls for easier console play allows more people to join the fun based on the way they like to play.
As you can read in my Age of Empires 4 for Xbox review, it's clear that a lot of love went into this port with a real focus on maintaining the integrity of the PC version's original strategic gameplay. This point was further proved to me during my Age of Empires 4 interview with creative director, Chris Rubyor. Rubyor and his team are huge fans of the RTS genre and Rubyor himself has been part of several different RTS games through the years. Their focus has repeatedly been on how to make Age feel good on Xbox and part of that convenience comes from the way the HUD and menus were updated for easy play. Seeing game mechanics that aren't available on PC yet for Xbox shows how much the team cared to improve the experience when playing with a controller.
Of course, another indication that this game was designed for player convenience is the previously mentioned keyboard and mouse support. You can literally play the way you'd prefer and the game will adapt its HUD to the controls you utilize. It's a phenomenal port that any RTS fan will enjoy.
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Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's gaming editors with a focus on Xbox and PC gaming. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of game guides, previews, features, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market.