My friends and I are looking to play Age of Empires 2. Problem is, there are two Steam versions:

Some of us have one, and some have the other. It seems they are not cross-compatible. Other than the latter supporting 4k graphics, what are the gameplay differences here? Do they have different story/DLC/map inclusions? Are they the same engine underneath?

  • 1
    About the engine, you can read this blogpost about AOE:DE which likely applies to the improvements made in AOE2:DE
    – rovyko
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 3:41
  • Are you looking for just functional differences? DE has stuff like fancier building collapse animation, and its sound effects are different. Also, you can rotate houses. Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 6:05
  • 1
    @Acccumulation I'm mostly interested in gameplay/DLC differences but if you want to write an answer detailing the visual differences I'm sure it would be well received :-)
    – Robotnik
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 6:46

1 Answer 1


Both are remasters of Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings. Definitive Edition is the second rerelease and, in addition to the higher quality graphics and all HD Edition content, includes updates and improvements. Some of the notable ones are:

  • Multiple DLCs adding additional civilizations
  • Interface improvements such as a visible global production and research queue
  • Improved AI
  • Various quality of life features including automatic farm reseeding
  • Server-based multiplayer

A full list can be found here: https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Age_of_Empires_II:_Definitive_Edition

Additionally, Definitive Edition still receives regular balance patches and content updates. HD edition is unlikely to receive more than compatibility updates.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .