Battle Ages is the second game in a series that offers players the ability to create a settlement, upgrade their building and forces, and then prepare for an attack by other players across the world. Players also have the ability to attack other players or set out on a long campaign against AI opponents. The battles in the game are bloodless and mostly automatic except for who you attack, what troops you use for the battles, and the placement of the troops during the battle.
Your settlement starts out in the Neolithic Age, 6400 BC with no walls and the weakest of building and troops, all the way up to the American Civil War 1860 (1861 was the start of the Civil War, but the developers list 1860 in their game and website). You need to quickly upgrade your forces and buildings, as well as build a wall to offer some protection. How you build up these are with coins that you collect from buildings that generate them, progressing through the campaign, and attacking players.
The way to upgrade and unlock forces is to use your Research building. This building is very important to the player. You want to be upgrading all your forces as quickly as possible to ensure your forces can have greater success at attacking and defending. All upgrades, whether through the Research building or the various buildings offering upgrade capabilities, take real world time. At the beginning of the game some upgrades only take a few seconds to complete, but later in the game these same upgrades to your buildings can take hours and possibly days to complete. Always keep this in mind with what is needed for your attack and defense when considering when and what to upgrade.
The player is in a constant state of upgrading everything and being ready to attack and defend. Other players can attack your settlement even if you're not online. The reason for this is that the game is an always online game. This will keep you checking your settlement several times a day to make sure your settlement is fully supplied with troops, and that you can upgrade your troops, building, and walls. Also you will need to repair certain defenses that are destroyed.
The game offers players the ability to either purchase Gems with real world money or use Gems to purchase coins. The cost can range from $1.99 for 200 Gems to up to $99.99 for 15,000 Gems. Using Gems to purchase coins varies with on how many coins you want to purchase. For example, 720,200 to fill coins 10% will cost you 452 Gems, where as 3,601,000 coins will cost you 1,293 Gems to fill your coins to 50%. This percentage is based on the capacity of your storage facilities.
The game runs very smoothly and has very little lag. The graphics are good for a game of this type, and the sound effects solid as well. Building up your settlement can be fun and keep you coming back several times a day to either attack a random player online, continue through the campaign, upgrade your settlement buildings, upgrade your troops through the Research building, or repair your settlement from an attack.
There are several downsides to this game. The first and largest downside is that once you start a settlement it exists forever (well, until the developer pulls the plug on the games servers) and you can't take a break from it, unless you don't care if your forces and settlement are under constant daily attacks with no defenses (except the walls that regenerate automatically). Sadly for me it's a constant checking once or twice a day to make sure my settlement wasn't attacked. The developer should have put in an option to pause your settlement so that you don't collects coins, upgrades pause, and you're not threatened at any moment of being attacked.
The other downside is the micro-transactions. If you want to have a chance to get your forces up to the level of other players, or if you want to have a chance in the later campaign missions you're going to want to buy Gems. These Gems will help you quickly get up to most players. I myself have spent $4.99 on a bundle of Gems when the developer had an offer of 100% bonus Gems if purchasing that bundle. From time to time the developer offers 30%, 50%, and 100% (100% is very rare) on certain bundles for a limited time. I would advise waiting for these type of special offers if you decide to purchase any one of these bundles.
The final downside is that once you get to the final settlement upgrade (American Civil War 1860) then you have nothing to do but upgrade your buildings and troops, and attack and defend. Your settlement is never going to change other than that, which feels like a major letdown. Unlike games like Age of Empires and Civilization that offer the player tons of replayability of a variety of maps this game has one area for every player that plays this game. As a player there isn't any final objective or goal; it's just build, repair, upgrade, attack and defend (rinse and repeat over and over again), with no end in sight, ever.
In conclusion, I would say that this game can be fun with the upgrading of your settlement's buildings, forces, attacking players, playing through the campaign, and seeing how your settlement changes as you advance through the various historical ages. Players needs to be fully aware of this important fact, and that is there is no end to the game once you start. A player can choose to walk away and even uninstall the game but their settlement will never go away. Also the micro-transactions can be helpful for a player to get a head start, but they are not required. Your settlement and account is only tied to your PS4 and does not carry over to mobile devices. I would advise watching gameplay on YouTube or Twitch before taking the plunge.