If I had one complaint about Age of Empires Online, it would be the fact that it can be very difficult to keep on top of everything. There are so many subsystems to the game that it can be quite daunting, especially for those who are not harcore MMO or RTS junkies. There is a crafting system, a store for buying items, a store for purchasing premium content, and so on, and so forth. There's just a lot going on under the hood here, which is a good thing, but I sometimes felt lost as to figuring out what the best course of action was, or trying to judge the merits of a particular piece of gear or unit. But it's not a major issue, and to extend the car analogy, you can still have fun driving a car even without knowing anything at all about sparkplugs and fuel injectors. Similarly, you can play Age of Empires Online and really enjoy it without having an encyclopedic knowledge of tech trees or build orders.
I found Age of Empires Online to be quite good indeed. It's a solid combination of a tried and true RTS engine with a splash of intricate MMO elements, and it really comes together quite nicely. While hardcore PvP or power gamers will find the premium content necessary, the typical gamer will likely find the paid additions to be a luxury; I think this is really perfect for a free to play title. Though the co-op isn't perfect, it's far better than the typical comp-stomp fest of most RTS games, and the leveling and customization of your capital city will appeal to social gamers. Age of Empires Online just might be the best free to play game available today.
The Co-Op Experience: *The servers for Age of Empires Online have been shut down.*
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.