Review by Galactus21
"Attack my minions, attack!"
The Halo series has always utilized first person shooter game play mechanics. Halo Wars strays from that formula. Halo Wars is a real time strategy game. For the most part, it's a fun little detour from the shoot-em-up style game play that Halo has employed over the past decade. Ultimately however, Halo Wars isn't as deep as other games within the same genre. For what it is, Halo Wars is a fun game that provides a solid campaign and features. It also utilizes Halo's fictitious world rather nicely, as the storytelling helps fill the gap of the Halo universe.
Halo Wars, like other RTS I've played, allows you to build structures within your base that support your plans. This allows you to build your troop strength to combat enemies. Regarding this however, one thing that disappoints is the amount of buildings you can build. There are a predefined number of constricted slots that you can build buildings, such as a barrack or supply depot. You can upgrade and open more slots, but in the end there aren't that many. If you want more, you will have to find other bases to build more. Had the developers decided to allow a more open way of doing this, it would have worked better.
Halo Wars gives you the ability to manufacture vehicles, infantry, and aircrafts. As explained by the game, each of these types of troops has a weakness and strength against one another. During your time in creating your troops, you can also perform research that will give you greater ability, such as rpg capabilities for infantry or increasing the troop count from 30 to 40. Additionally, certain amount of buildings, such as multiple reactors is needed to manufacture certain vehicles of types of structures.
When it comes to the game play, it's a bit simplistic. This is especially true if you are a hardcore fan of RTS. One thing that I had the biggest problem was the selection of troops. There were 2 options. One was to select all units and the other is local units. This makes it hard to separate your troops into different squadrons or groupings. For example, if something is more effective against a type of troop, then you have no means of grouping it. This makes it difficult to formulate a strategy. For the most part, the game was fairly easy. I would create an army of vehicles, infantry, and a few aircrafts and would essentially finish the level. While this was fun, it took the strategic nature of RTS out of it.
During the fairly short campaign, you control human troops (these include cobras, Spartans, etc.). Each level usually last about 30 to 45 minutes. And for the most part, I enjoyed the campaign despite its shortcomings. During the campaign, you take control of the protagonist Sergeant Forge. He typically takes command of each mission. He and other Spartans also have the ability to regenerate. If they are hurt and down, walking a troop near them will revive them. The campaign also throws a nice variety of different missions to keep things fresh. Aside from the campaign, I also enjoyed the skirmish, which allows you to choose between humans and Covenant. You can select up to a 3 versus 3 matches, where your objective is to eliminate all enemies. This is quite a fun mode.
While the game is fairly short and a bit simplistic, I still enjoyed my time playing through it. I think the solid storytelling through its beautiful cinematic mixed with the sheer joy of sending a large amount of forces to wipe out your enemies make for some fun times. Now obviously the game would probably have been much more complex had it been on the PC, but where it stands on the Xbox 360, it's still a solid effort. Halo Wars is a solid addition the 360's library. At this point in time, Halo Wars should be fairly cheap, so it is definitely worth checking out.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/12/11
Game Release: Halo Wars (US, 03/03/09)
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