Age of Empires 4’s cutscenes make me glued to the screen


Documentary at its absolute pinnacle

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Despite the fact that Age of Empires 4 is a real-time strategy video game, it’s one of the greatest documentaries I have watched in a long time. In order to deliver a more polished tactical experience for current audiences, it draws on the fluid base construction and frenetic unit control of its predecessors.

According to what I’ve been informed. That’s not something I’d be able to say. A lot more time has been devoted to viewing Age of Empires 4’s cutscenes than actually playing the game. Even as I’ve progressed through its third single-player campaign, it’s the pre-match cinematics that have had the most impact on me.


Bite-sized documentaries, not your typical video game cutscenes. A battle is the best place to find out what political intrigues started the war and how it was a watershed point in the history of the country or continent involved. They’re brief history lectures that explain the timeframe and mythology surrounding the battle you’re going to engage in.

Theatrical swagger

Not to mention, they’re just outstanding. If you’ve ever seen a History Channel documentary from 15 years ago, you’ll recognise these films. They have all the markers of a well-produced television documentary, but the production quality is substantially superior. Superimposed CGI soldiers battle it out over fields and castles in wide-angle aerial camera images of historical sites. There is a narrator who describes the background of the struggle and what would happen if you win.

Just to get you up to speed: As you go through the game, you’ll unlock more movies that delve further into the historical eras you’ve selected. Expert presenters and academic historians take you step by step through the basics of mediaeval life and combat.


Compared to some current television documentaries, those in Age of Empires 4’s shorts are downright entertaining.

Now that I’ve learned how mediaeval paint was made using iron oxide, eggs, and tree sap, I feel rather knowledgeable about the subject. Heavy cavalry from the Mongols dominated the battlefield in a number of ways. Inquire about my knowledge of crossbows, armour, or the Guédelon Castle (a French architectural history project now under development) and I’ll definitely have something insightful to say.

They have a high level of quality, but also a high level of educational value. I learnt about the Norman conquest in great detail as a schoolchild, but how much of it did I retain? Motte-and-bailey castles are something I’m just vaguely familiar with. While Age of Empires 4 has taught me a great deal about The Anarchy, I’d be happy to write an essay on the subject for any secondary school student (admittedly, not a particularly impressive feat).


It’s a classic!

It’s very addictive. A few hours into Age of Empires 4, my passion for documentaries has been renewed. I’m a history buff, and I’ve devoured all the books I can get my hands on. It doesn’t matter what historical period you’re talking about — the Roman Empire, the Russian Revolution, or the apparently never-ending pile of World War II films that keep appearing.

And Age of Empires 4 still has my heart. There are as many history lessons as you can handle in this game. For those of us that like supplementary content as soon as it’s available, we’ll keep coming back for more. I’ve re-watched a number of shorts in anticipation of the next historical nugget I’ll unearth. Alternatively, if you’d like not to participate in the educational aspects of the event, you are free to forego the shorts and instead engage in a combat-oriented activity.

Age of Empires 4’s documentaries are a creative method of incorporating history into the game without interfering with the fundamental gameplay mechanics.


As a result, you won’t have history weariness. Mini-documentaries, which are just a few minutes long, are sprinkled among the major missions and given to you in little doses. If you recently beat the Hungarian soldiers at Mohi, they’re more of a prise for your military victories than an expository device. As a special treat, have a look at this explanation of the multibow crossbow’s unparalleled power.

In addition to that, they’re a creative method to include history into the fundamental concept of Age of Empires 4 while keeping it distinct from the gameplay. Even though I’m a history buff, I don’t want a game’s mechanics and features to be dictated only by the historical authenticity of its gameplay. Battles in Age of Empires 4 are only simulated in an abstract sense. The game shows its respect for history while letting you lead cartoonish knights through highly stylised battles by providing you with these films to watch outside of the main game.

Age of Empires doesn’t bother with historical accuracy at all; instead, it focuses on the fun of the game.


You had me at more

For the first time, a company has attempted to connect the worlds of documentary and video game production. The strategy genre is no stranger to educating players about the history of the games they’re playing, both implicitly and overtly. Each civilisation has a detailed chronology, giving you an encyclopaedia of the groups and people under your authority. Even Age Of Empire 2 (released in 1999) has this feature.

Everything about it is in line with the genre’s objective to convey its enthusiasm for not just the history that inspires its games, but also to pique the curiosity of players.

And Age of Empires 4 achieves this to a stunning degree. ” Perhaps my drive for a feeling of accomplishment, along with the game’s many mission types and well-balanced gameplay, is what keeps me going back for more. The greater picture would be missed if such were the case. Cutscenes in the game’s documentary format are so compelling that I keep coming back to view them. For a strategy game, that’s quite an accomplishment.


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