I played this gorgeous strategy remake and now it's one of my most anticipated games of the year

Age of Mythology: Retold preview Nidhogg
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

There might have been a more efficient way to clear the Egyptian army in my path, but I'm content to watch meteors rain down, sending men and monsters flying while buildings crumble. As the path is clear, I send my giants charging, slamming into the Titan and absorbing its huge blows while centaurs in the backline rain down arrows. I cast my last God Power, armoring my units and keeping them safe long enough to eke out victory. 

So went one key battle in Age of Mythology: Retold, the latest "Age" game being rebuilt by the teams at World's Edge and Xbox Game Studios. First confirmed to be in the works a while ago before being properly revealed earlier in the year, Age of Mythology: Retold takes what players like me loved about the original game and repackages it for modern hardware, with gorgeous graphics and a number of changes to the gameplay, particularly in allowing God Powers to recharged. 

Shortly after the Xbox Games Showcase 2024, I had the chance to play Age of Mythology: Retold for about 20 minutes, as well as speaking to some of the developers about the work that's gone into crafting the experience. 

A strategy epic built for a new generation of hardware

Atlanteans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse await. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Right before jumping in, Earnest Yuen, director of production at World's Edge, showed a direct comparison of what the original Age of Mythology looked like compared to the visuals in Retold. I knew Age of Mythology had...well, aged compared to what it would look like in my nostalgic mind's eye, but the level to which this remake improves things is just ridiculous. Every screenshot is packed to the brim with gorgeous detail along coastlines, with better-defined buildings and detailed unit models that hold up well even heavily zoomed in. 

For my time playing Age of Mythology: Retold, I was given access to a special demo that's been built specifically for preview purposes, as several heroes try to stop a titan from destroying the world. Along the way, new reinforcements and God Powers were granted for destroying enemy fortresses and temples. I opted to play with a mouse and keyboard, though controller stations were available.

Controlling different groups of warriors was easy, and God Powers were similarly mapped in a way that made them quick to use and identify. As I carved through the demo, my troops had different tactical options despite the time limit. Did I want to use underworld gates to get around groups of foes, or risk fighting them for additional rewards before taking on the Titan? Taking different routes also meant getting different kinds of reinforcements before the big battle, with Norse and Egyptian encampments opposite each other on the map. 

No matter what I did, the unfolding gameplay was downright gorgeous, and seeing creatures fall to lightning as minotaurs toss mere mortals around simply doesn't get old. Having God Powers be rechargeable is such a sorely-needed change, and I'm fascinated to see how they affect gameplay outside of this demo.

Age of Mythology: Retold is unique for Xbox and PC

God Powers have been reworked. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Age of Mythology: Retold presents a huge opportunity and just how far the team at World's Edge has come. While prior Age of Empires games have been launched on Windows PC first before some of them  were brought over to console — so far, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 4 have made their way over —  that's not the case here. Age of Mythology: Retold is launching concurrently across Xbox Series X|S and Windows PC, with controller support on the latter from day one.

Speaking after I was victorious in the demo (twice!) Yuen emphasized that while the team has taken great care in retelling the original game and its Titan-focused expansion, there is more to come. The Chinese civilization, which was added as DLC to the original game, was not exactly well-received, and the team sees an opportunity in redoing things this time around. 

As such, the Chinese are being completely redesigned for Age of Mythology: Retold's first expansion, while a second expansion has been promised to be in development, with both expansions being bundled in the game's Premium Edition. I wasn't given any spoilers, but Yuen does note that they have a number of options across all of the world's mythology, adding that even outside of paid content, launch is "just day one" and that "we're going to keep updating and adding as long as people keep playing."

I'm keenly aware that as fun as it was, this demo doesn't show the economic side of this strategy game, and I'm curious to see how any rebalancing has affected slower-paced skirmishes or even portions of the campaign. Even so, I'm excited, and I can't wait to play this in full when it launches later in the year. 

Age of Mythology: Retold is scheduled to arrive on Sep. 4, 2024. Preorders are open now, and it's also coming day one to Xbox Game Pass. If you own the original Age of Mythology on Steam, you'll get a discount when purchasing the remake!

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

  • fdruid
    Not putting the name of the game in the headline is a very low move. The kind the really fake sites do for clicks. Windows Central used to be better.
  • Jack Pipsam
    I am looking forward to it, if they play their cards right then Age of Mythology: Retold could turn out to be a big hit!
    Like AoE II: DE has been for them.