Age of Empires III, the somewhat quirky colonial twist on the series, has gone through a bit of a renaissance since its Definitive Edition came out back in October 2020 (which, incidentally, I reviewed on these very pages). The remaster introduced new civs, launched an expansion in form of The African Royals, and seems to have received more love and support from the developers than the original ever did.
Continuing this revival, developer Tantalus has added co-op support to the already excellent ‘Historical Battles’ mode. Historical Battles were a new addition to the Definitive Edition, letting you partake in 12 specially crafted battles, some of which involve unique factions that aren’t otherwise playable like the Barbary Pirates and the Somalians.
Whether you want to stand shoulder to shoulder as the Pirates fending off Spain at Algiers or ride across the tundra as the Tatars at Chuvash Cape, you can now do so with a tangible human friend. While six of the 12 historical battles in the game are locked off behind The African Royals and Mexicans DLCs, only one person needs to own the DLC for you to play together, which is always appreciated.
Of course, unless you have the teamwork instincts of house cats, two human players working simultaneously against a single AI would put the poor computer at a serious disadvantage, so an option has also been added to add an extra AI opponent to balance things out.
So things are looking pretty good for the relatively small player base of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition.
I’ve always enjoyed the historical battles: they’re a fun feature that adds interesting mechanical quirks and some historical gravitas to one-off compstomps (though I’m a bad enough player that these battles always wind up more competitive than stompy). Now, how about Relic brings them to Age of Empires IV, hmm?