You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page.
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. See more here.

Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition gets a free starter edition

By - | Views: 24,174

Oh how I do love a good RTS. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition now has a special free starter edition available on Steam. From my own testing, it works great on desktop Linux with Proton too.

This new free starter edition gives you three civilizations to play as, with them being rotated around every 2 weeks and you can play in both single player and multiplayer games. Seems like quite a nice intro into it, especially if you've been on the fence about it.

Pictured - Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition on OpenSUSE Linux, Ultra Details level.

Looks like it has a decent player-base on Steam as well with it regularly seeing between 3-4 thousand people but thanks to this and the latest update, it's rocketed back up to over 12 thousand! An update just released also added in these:

  • Online status for friends.
  • Unique Explorer bonuses.
  • Tons of new balance updates.
  • Reworks for Royal Guard and Church technologies.
  • Enhanced Civilizations & Revolutions.

I grew up playing lots the original, and then AoE 2 and never really got to properly try the the third one. So perhaps now with this deal I might dive in a whole lot more. While it's pretty much a glorified demo, it is a good thing to have. 

Check it out on Steam.

Will you be checking it out thanks to this? It has a Platinum rating on ProtonDB and it's Steam Deck Playable.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
8 Likes
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
See more from me
6 comments

Pikolo Aug 3, 2023
I played AoE III quite a bit. Can't find the base game installation CD these days... My favourite nation was Portugal, for their organ light cannons
ElectricPrism Aug 3, 2023
Both AoE 3 and AoE 4 have a review rating of 83-86%.

Meanwhile AoE 2 is rated at 94%

Similar to Civilization V (96%) vs Civilization VI (85%)

Proof that low effort 3D versions aren't automatically better than 2D or old-school graphics.

I really don't understand what is so damn hard -- if Age of Empires verbatim copied the 2D sprite style in 3D and the exact mechanics 1:1 their game would score in the 92-98% easy.

All this "New Crap" just annoys me and other gamers too -- like "swear filters" taking the fun out of modern games.

Games of all things should not be influenced by "the church" of modernity (but that's a detail that I could write entire essays about).

Maybe by the time they make Age of Empires 5 they'll find a way to make it free-to-play and finally get the 3D right. In any case garnering more interest in the series is a smart move -- they should have done this with 2 -- then the masses would be in a swarm to play and buy more.

Edit: to clarify -- If swear filters or gore are things a person wants -- they should be "opt in" and not "opt out" -- Serious Sam 3 is the perfect example of this where they replace all blood sfx with hippie flowers and it's just so much fun -- because games are supposed to be games and not real life.


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 3 August 2023 at 9:54 pm UTC
razing32 Aug 3, 2023
Quoting: ElectricPrismBoth AoE 3 and AoE 4 have a review rating of 83-86%.

Meanwhile AoE 2 is rated at 94%

Similar to Civilization V (96%) vs Civilization VI (85%)

Proof that low effort 3D versions aren't automatically better than 2D or old-school graphics.

I really don't understand what is so damn hard -- if Age of Empires verbatim copied the 2D sprite style in 3D and the exact mechanics 1:1 their game would score in the 92-98% easy.

All this "New Crap" just annoys me and other gamers too -- like "swear filters" taking the fun out of modern games.

Games of all things should not be influenced by "the church" of modernity (but that's a detail that I could write entire essays about).

Maybe by the time they make Age of Empires 5 they'll find a way to make it free-to-play and finally get the 3D right. In any case garnering more interest in the series is a smart move -- they should have done this with 2 -- then the masses would be in a swarm to play and buy more.

Edit: to clarify -- If swear filters or gore are things a person wants -- they should be "opt in" and not "opt out" -- Serious Sam 3 is the perfect example of this where they replace all blood sfx with hippie flowers and it's just so much fun -- because games are supposed to be games and not real life.

Age of Empires 3 was not that bad IMO.
The art was still colorful and vibrant.
Age of Empires 4 however - i could never get into. It looked bland and flat and lifeless. I got it as a gift and i feel bad for barely touching it.

As for the filters , i can't say. My friends and I usually play versus AI and i have to mute them since they spam the taunts non stop.
Duckeenie Aug 3, 2023
Quoting: ElectricPrismsnip...

All this "New Crap" just annoys me and other gamers too -- like "swear filters" taking the fun out of modern games.

Games of all things should not be influenced by "the church" of modernity (but that's a detail that I could write entire essays about).


I dunno. Old man yells at clouds!. I've seen [presumably] kids post some pretty vile, offensive and downright illegal stuff in gaming lobbies. If I have to rework my vocabulary a little so that others can't abuse then I'm fine with that.
Raaben Aug 4, 2023
Every time I've tried AOE3 over the years I've had issues with sound effects and music either not playing or cutting out. Is it working better now?
Philadelphus Aug 4, 2023
Quoting: ElectricPrismBoth AoE 3 and AoE 4 have a review rating of 83-86%.

Meanwhile AoE 2 is rated at 94%

Similar to Civilization V (96%) vs Civilization VI (85%)

Proof that low effort 3D versions aren't automatically better than 2D or old-school graphics.
I wouldn't call AoE III low effort. (Low-poly, for the original release, sure, though the DE release is a lot better.)

To establish my bonafides, I got AoE II at the age of 11 two years after it came out, and it was one of the formative games of my childhood (the first game I played online, on a dial-up modem to boot!). I've put a combined 400 hours into the 2013 HD remake and DE, and who knows how many hours into the original CD version as a kid, where it was pretty much the only thing I played for two years. I was…disappointed that AoE III wasn't "AoE II but in the New World", but I gave it a fair shake even though it never quite clicked for me. While it may not be the game that I or a lot of AoE II players were expecting (or wanted), it's a solid game in its own right, with clearly a ton of work that into making it.

I'm reminded of the saying that Firaxis is said to follow for each successive Civilization game: "one-third the same, one-third improved, one-third new". I feel like AoE III may have skewed a bit harder than one-third on the "new" (home city shipments! fixed on-map trade routes! "hero unit" explorers! etc., etc.), and that might be partly why it wasn't as well received. Or it may just be really hard to recapture the lighting-in-a-bottle that was AoE II. But regardless of my personal feelings about AoE III, I think it's a disservice to the developers to call it "low effort".

(Also I'm not sure what your point about Civilization is, since it's been 3D since Civilization IV. )
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Reward Tiers: Patreon. Plain Donations: PayPal.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone! Patreon supporters can also remove all adverts and sponsors! Supporting us helps bring good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
Login / Register


Or login with...
Sign in with Steam Sign in with Google
Social logins require cookies to stay logged in.