Free Halo Wars 2 demo lets you try before you buy

Halo Wars 2, generally speaking, is one of those games that's neither so good that it simply must be played, nor so bad that it deserves to be ignored. It's aimed primarily "at the Halo shooter fans who'd like to see that universe from a perspective besides the sights of a rifle," as we said in our review. "And most of the time, it does its job. It's even occasionally fun." 

If that leaves a certain "try-before-you-buy" ring in your ears, you're in luck, as Microsoft is now offering a free Halo Wars 2 demo on the Microsoft store. The demo includes the opening mission of the single-player campaign, and also the Blitz Firefight mode, "where players use decks of cards to summon vehicles and troops to fight against waves of AI-controlled enemies." That's the game mode that players had access to during the Halo Wars 2 beta in January. 

The demo is about a 17GB download, and this is what you'll need to play: 


  • OS: Windows 10
  • Architecture: x64
  • DirectX: DirectX 12 API, Hardware Feature Level 11
  • Memory: 6 GB
  • Video Memory: Not specified
  • Processor: Intel i5-2500, AMD FX-4350
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, AMD Radeon HD 7750, Intel HD 520


  • OS: Windows 10
  • Architecture: x64
  • DirectX: DirectX 12 API, Hardware Feature Level 12
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Video Memory: 4 GB
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4690K, AMD FX-8350
  • Graphics: nVidia GTX 1060, AMD RX 480
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.