Age Of Empires II The Mountain Royals DLC Review

Age Of Empires Teams Keep Dropping New Content Cross the Board

I didn’t think it would be so soon that we would get a DLC after the launch of Return Of Rome that we reviewed earlier here on the site. It goes without saying that I didn’t think too highly of that DLC and for the most part lot of the community probably had a similar sentiment to mine, this was a combination of aesthetic reasons and pure gameplay elements as well when it came to Return of Rome. I haven’t checked but I bet there was a separate team working on this DLC given that it’s only like 6 months since the release of Return of Rome since usually we have to wait a lot longer between DLC releases.

Just like the Return of Rome, The Mountain Royals is priced at 14,99$ which is higher than all the DLCs released in the past, but this is kinda the new normal given the inflation around the world. Given how long the campaign experiences are within AoE2 DLCs in general it’s still great bang for the buck. Optionally you can pick it cheaper at Kinguin whilst supporting our work on the website, so yeah you have options.

Two New Civilizations & One Rework

The focus of The Mountain Royals is about 2 new civilizations known as Armenians and Georgians we have a very small rework to Persians them getting a new unit called Savar that replaces the Paladin, and on top of this, there are a couple of brief balance changes. The Savar unit and Persian race are available for people who don’t buy the DLC so that is a great thing, but I do feel like that a DLC should include 3 new playable races given that races aren’t so drastically different in this game compared to let’s say Age Of Empires 3, Total War Games and other titles in the RTS genre.

But to be clear this is what they have done on 2 previous DLCs Dawn Of the Dukes & Lords of the West, but all of these at least did have 3 campaigns which I appreciate. This makes me hopeful that one day we will have a proper Japan Campaign where we have Japanese rework and adjustments with two new civs like Tibetians, Khatan, or perhaps Thai – an East-Asian-based DLC that is.

Armenian Campaign & Civilization

The Armenians have two unique units in their arsenal including a Composite Bowman whose special archer unit has its uses and then we got a warrior priest that has the healing functionality of a monk whilst being able to engage in combat and pick up relics. The Warrior Monks are built from a Fortified Church a new-style building that starts with one relic and has the capability of shooting arrows, which will increase with each relic placed inside. I can already imagine crazy rush strategies that can be made with this building, it’s bringing a lot of flavor into this civilization in my opinion.

The tiny kingdom of Cilician Armenia lies between hostile empires, its ruling family in Byzantine captivity. When Prince Thoros escapes, he embarks on a dangerous campaign to liberate his homeland, but the vengeful Byzantines are not his only foes. The Seljuk Turks covet the region as well, and a ruthless Frankish crusader is pursuing his own schemes to the south.

The Focus of the Armenian Campaign is Thoros the Great or Thoros III which is chronologically the first campaign out of the three. This campaign is 5 maps long and it takes place from 1141-1169 based on real historical events in modern-day Turkey and Cyprus. Like with a lot of the recent campaigns, there are a lot of multi-option missions where you can get to side with a certain faction over another which creates a level of replaybility on the maps – the recurring theme being the two brothers of Thoros you can choose to side with on some missions that will play differently.

Georgian Campaign & Civilization

Next up we have a new civilization known as Georgians (One of the best cuisines too) who are somewhat similar to Armenians by having a Fortified Church building, but cannot access the warrior monk and their special unit known as Monaspa which gets higher damage output when paired with other Monaspa units nearby, so it’s kinda like the unit you want to stack. Alike Armenians they also have the mule cart mechanic which replaces lumber/gold camps which is a mechanic that breathes some fresh air into the game mechanics.

Brought up on stories of David the Builder, the young and impassioned Tamar ascends her great-grandfather’s throne with elaborate plans for her bustling kingdom. However, she quickly finds out that wielding such power is more than a simple matter of birthright. Can Georgia’s first queen overcome her skeptics and leave an imprint to endure well beyond her lifetime?

Then our campaign takes place 1185-1211 in modern-day Georgia following a Queen called Tamar. Now usually I laugh at female leaders and I won’t make an exception here either, since Tamar was poor morally by entering into a second marriage under a Christian church, what happened till death do us apart? Well, the campaign at least is quite nice, a mix of defense missions and timed objectives with a couple of good exploration maps – overall a solid campaign entry that tells the story of a proto-feminist Queen.

Persian Rework & New Campaign

As we discussed earlier the Persians went through brief changes including a new unit that replaced the Paladin known as Savar top of this there are some cool technologies like “Cannonballs” which allow castles to shoot at multiple units and deal extra damage to siege units. Some other changes included as follows

Overall probably a lot of OG players of this game are fond of the changes that have been introduced to Persians with this DLC. It also needs to be mentioned that there were some brief balance changes to other civilizations.

The orphaned prodigy Ismail leads the mysterious Safavid Order through war-torn Persia! Will this charismatic visionary lay the groundwork for one of the most illustrious empires of the Islamic world, or will his delusions of grandeur be his ultimate undoing?

Perhaps the easiest campaign of them all is the Persian one, I might also add that the general difficulty of all three has been a bit lower compared to previous campaigns that offered difficulty even on “Standard” which is the one I always play with. Then again you can always increase difficulty if you find it too easy, I thought I would mention this sidenote. The way that this story was told was odd to me given that the woman whose narrating is about to kill Ismail at the end doesn’t seem to correlate with canonical events, which I find a bit dubious story direction.

Final Thoughts

Overall a great return to a form as a DLC, its price point is higher vs. Rise of the Rajas or African Kingdoms which are probably my favorite DLCs that have been done in the recent past of AoE2 history. We have a good position here as AoE2 community for future DLC since many civilizations are missing that can be added on future additions – it took me ~28h to complete the campaign which is probably below compared to other DLCs in the past, but this is totally on your playstyle and difficulty, generally Im slow and turtle style player which takes me longer to complete the maps.

Lastly, I would say it was mostly bugfree and I didn’t find any massive problems or design choices that were giving me a headache on my playthrough. I Enjoyed my time with this DLC and I’m excited about what’s in store for the next one on the line.