Home :: Game Freebies: Age of Empires 2

Introduction: Since jkOnTheRun pointed it out, I’ve been having a bit of a rummage through the freebes on offer at the Windows Marketplace, including quite a few free games. They’re mostly demo versions, with just the first few levels, or racing games with just one type of car and track, but they’re generally small enough to download (takes a while on dial-up, but still do-able), and if you’re not really into gaming much (I’m not), the first few levels might be enough for you. Many of the games are quite old, but if you don’t have the latest PC specc’d up for gaming, they might be as much as you can run anyway.

What Is It?

The second in Microsoft’s Age of Empires series – along similar lines to Command & Conquer, but with a historical twist. In this one, Microsoft have tried a bit harder to put some history into it, so you learn a bit about the scenario as you play through the campaigns. The demo is set in Scotland, fighting the English, and the Scottish accent the story is read in is terrible. If Trainspotting had sounded like this, it would have been a comedy.

The tutorial campaign is all you get in this one, and is a bit too easy to get through. Still a couple of hours of entertainment, but a bit too much of the time is spent giggling at the accent.

On the plus side, though, you do get to play one map as a skirmish game against computer opponents, and this should give you quite a bit more playing time for your (no) money. Personally, after the ease of completing the campaign, this came as a bit of a shock, and was too difficult. I’m not much of a gamer, and I just got slaughtered.

Worth Downloading?

Why not? It’s a bit of fun, and the graphics are certainly better than the first. The campaign was a bit unsatisfying, though, and the attempt to wrap it all up in some history lessons felt a little condescending. The free skirmish map could give this one a lot more playing time, though.

The First One

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