In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Age of Wonders 4

aka: AoW4
Moby ID: 202495
Windows Specs
Buy on PlayStation 5
$49.99 new on Playstation.com
Buy on Windows
$34.99 new on Steam
Buy on Xbox Series
$49.99 new on Xbox.com

Description official description

Age of Wonders 4 is a 4X turn-based strategy which returns the franchise to its original fantasy setting. Despite this, it combines gameplay elements from both Age of Wonders III and Age of Wonders: Planetfall with numerous changes and additions.

The most obvious change is the absence of conventional races. When starting a new game, players have to choose a template for the race (humans, elves, orcs, goblins, animalkin, etc.) and then select various faction focus types, followed by customizing the traits and visuals of the ruler unit. Upon a match's end, rulers can ascend to a pantheon, from which they can be reused with their acquired skills in future matches. This will also unlock points and new cosmetic customization options. For the first time in the series, units can also be visually customized, albeit to a lesser degree than rulers. Randomly generated worlds now have 8 slots for custom options, which handle basic features like map layout and neutral army strength to modifiers for the gameplay itself.

Each player now has a limit on the number of cities they can claim, but each city can annex a considerably larger amount of regions (which are also smaller in size than in Planetfall). These regions are automatically claimed with a specialization building from the assigned city's screen. A major change is seen in the city production aspect, as unit recruitment is handled by the new auto-generated resource called Draft instead of sharing Production with city buildings. This also means that cities now have two production queues, one for buildings and the other for units. Settler units have been scrapped in standard gameplay, as cities can only be claimed from others or evolved from outposts built by hero/ruler units. Heroes no longer join the player randomly, but only when their hero limit is raised, most commonly by building/claiming a new city. Finally, city sieges have been introduced as a gameplay mechanic.

Diplomacy has seen a slight improvement as well, with different and more meaningful proclamations added, some options even being brought from Planetfall covert operations. This allows for more varied communications between players. Free cities also make a return, with diplomatic options vastly expanded. Full vassalage takes more time to build up relations towards, as there are multiple relation stages, but phases in between bring their overlord economic benefits.

The techtree is represented by a literal tree graphic split to several different branches, and its elements require the Imperium resource to purchase. Tomes are a more combat-oriented military research option, with each one bringing a new level of spells, upgrades and units which can be mixed to the player's liking.

Side quests no longer require visiting specific sites, and can occur seemingly at random, with several options given to the player, each bringing different bonuses and/or penalties. Hostile NPC army spawners have also seen an upgrade - they take up an entire region instead of a single tile, and are initially dormant until their territory is trespassed upon. They vary in size, with larger ones being better-defended.

The game is playable in single- and multiplayer (online and hot seat), with a map editor and several other tools bundled in. Cross-play multiplayer capabilities between platforms were implemented in the Watcher Update on 15 August 2023 (at launch, only players who purchased the game on Steam, GOG.com or Epic Games Store could play with each other, while Windows Apps and Xbox Series players were separated in their own cross-play segment).

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Credits (Windows version)

438 People (379 developers, 59 thanks) · View all

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Average score: 83% (based on 42 ratings)

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Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 3 ratings with 0 reviews)

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Awards

  • Dutch Game Awards 2023
    • Best Game - Won
    • Best Studio (Triumph Studios) - Won

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Age of Wonders III
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Age of Wonders: Trilogy
Released 2010 on Windows

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  • MobyGames ID: 202495
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Game added by Plok.

Game added May 2, 2023. Last modified June 20, 2024.