Beta Test #15: Age of Empires II

Beta Test

It started with a LAN party in Yarraville. I was young, full of joy and naive. I hadn’t picked up anything other than the sims since I was 12 years old. The only experience with Age of Empires I had was when my friend burnt me a copy of the first addition that he got in a Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain box. We played 3 hours of solid MMO game play. 3 hours of building, constructing, and fighting off computer bot after computer bot. It was a bloody battle, many died, few survived, but we rose victorious. Kings amongst men. It’s been three years since my first slaughter and…I’ll get right down to it, I’ve played 451 fucking hours on this game.

OK so this time it’s not completely unbiased, but I haven’t reviewed a game I know before so hold onto everything you hold dear because it’s a ride. (Also, this IS a review, not a written play through, so if you want me to do a legit play through let me know! I would be so psyched)

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Ayo-yoho wololo wololo, I’m Bethany Griffiths, and this is Beta Test. A game review platform where I ‘Hombis, Arectus!’ choose one game a month to go ham on until either I get better or get wrecked. All in the hopes that I can provide you with a completely (un)biased review.

Last month I went on two holidays and felt great, now it’s mid March and I’m getting to know just why the March Hare was so mad. Everything is in crazy town this month, work is up in the air, my health is up in the air, a kid egged Fraser Anning, People are getting shot, the world is dying from an intense case of people-itis, and I haven’t seen a good nail technician in for-ev-a. I’m so done I don’t know who’s Arthur or Martha. But I do know gaming! And I know Age of Empires!

Age of Empires II Developed by Skybox Labs, Hidden Path Entertainment, Ensemble Studios, and Forgotten Empires, and published by Microsoft Studios, is a scenario based RPG that incorporates ancient, lost, and forgotten empires that you battle against to claim victory. There are hundreds of campaigns and scenarios to play through. All of which get you to do different things to win, such as capturing all the relics, death matches, and historical based story lines. With limited resources, and a tech tree that follows the race you’ve chosen, it’s a bloodbath that you will win or rage quit trying.

I’ve been playing for a few years now, and let me tell you, this game holds water better than a camel in the desert. I’m 32% through the steam achievements and I have no intention of slowing down. (What can I say, I’m a glutton for anything with achievements and statistics.) Stylistically, the game gives off the old time feeling of geographical cartography. The trees, buildings, and landscapes all have that hand drawn perspective, while maintaining the integrity of the gaming style of 2013. The sound track will get stuck in your head for hours. You don’t know how many times I’ll be in the shower or making food and the main theme decides it wants to blare in my ears like the constant reminder that I haven’t completed all the scenarios yet (I’m getting there! I swear), And the game play is fun with friends or by yourself in a dark room, at two in the morning, guzzling dry cornflakes out of a Thomas the Tank Engine bowl.

Age of Empires II is unique in that because of the way the game is constructed, you can structure your experience however you want it. In the main scenario chart, there are heaps of specs to choose including different races, landscapes, amount of people you can have in your village, starting age, and tech tree prerequisites. In game, you can choose alliances, play bloody, or play peaceful by building a wonder or capturing all the relics (my personal go to is to advance absolutely everything, amass an army, and slowly sweep across the board, killing everything I can get my grubby little hands on). It really is a choose your own adventure game, that I’m proud to say I’ve never gotten bored with to this day.

The game runs old. By that, I mean it doesn’t need any special computer tech to get it off the ground. In fact, I think I could run this on my family windows 2003 desktop and still play without a hiccup. The only real bugs i’ve found in game has more to do with my settings, where my task bar doesn’t disappear sometimes, making map reading, and constructing just that little bit trickier, and the annoying glitch that if you’re away from your keyboard for too long (say, a couple of hours) it can get stuck like a scratched ‘so fresh hits of summer 2005’ CD in a boombox, and you have to task close. But over all, Age of Empires II runs smoothly, doesn’t overwork your systems, and rarely lags.

I love Age of Empires II like I would love a dog, or a small child. It’s an iconic game that you need to get into if you haven’t already. It’s accessible, and takes very little energy to play, as well as being infinitely entertaining.

Because of the meme quality, kick ass score, and ability to do a full kill sweep of the board, I give this game:

3/5 Wololo’s for style
1/5 Wololo’s  for plot
4/5 Wololo’s for easiness
5/5 Wololo’s for Slowly sweeping your forces across the board and killing everything

So, my dudes! I’ve been Bethany Griffiths, and this has been a ‘dada hee?’ Beta Test. A game review platform where I either got better or got wrecked. All in the hopes that I can provide you with a completely unbiased review. If you have a game that you want me to give my two cents on, Please let me know!

Until next time,

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