Game Reviews
Halo Wars Review

So MS says, “Hey, we have this huge franchise that has sold millions. How else can we make money off of this bad boy?” Halo Wars was what they came up with and I’m glad they did. First and foremost, I’ve never played an RTS in my life. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when purchasing this game aside from the 3 new Halo 3 maps (which are amazing). So I was a bit nervous getting into the game. I’m not a fan of micromanaging because I’m not patient at all so I was worried that this game would have a lot of it. Luckily, this game does not.

Ensemble Studios (RIP) had a lot to live up to with the release of this game for two reasons: 1. it was a title with a huge fan base and 2. It was an RTS that was not on PC. So right off the bat, the pressure to step up was on! I won’t go too much into the story or the characters because I don’t want to spoil anything. Halo Wars takes place 20 years before the events of the first Halo and the Humans have just kicked butt in planet Harvest. What is the covenant to do!? Go in search for some forerunner weapons… again, or for the first time if you’re following the timeline.

You play as a generic space marine that goes by the name of Forge, Sergeant Forge. From the start, you’re either given a base, have a squad that you have to use to take over a base, or help some fellow marines that have been pinned down in battle which in turn opens up an area for you to set up base. Once you have your base set up, you have the option of setting up shop. You have five pads to work with but can later upgrade your base to add an additional two. In these pads, you can set up barracks to call up marines, vehicle depot to build tanks and other heavy vehicles, another to build Hornets, etc. The two main depots are your supply pad and the reactors where you research new tech. Those two should be your main focus when first setting up base. Your supply pad should be your main focus with the reactors coming in at a close second. Without resources from your supply pad, you can’t build anything and without the reactors, you can’t upgrade your gear. So keep a close eye on your resources and use them carefully.

The controls were and continue to be a big issue as to why RTS’s don’t work well with consoles but I can safely say that Ensemble found the perfect(?) control scheme that is easy to learn and easy to use. The game’s tutorial will introduce you to everything you need to know to be able to get through the game. Pressing the A button selects a single unit while holding down A creates a blue circle in which you can move around to select a bunch of units. B is you typical cancel button. Selected the wrong unit? Press B, my friend. The X button is used to guide your units. Select whatever unit you want, press X on the map, and off they go! X is also used to select enemies that you want to attack. Highlight your unit then select an enemy with X and they’ll attack said enemy. The Y button (my favorite) is for special attacks like using grenades if you have marines selected or if you have a warthog, you’ll run the enemy over or ram into them.

Left Bumper is used to select all your available units no matter where they are in the map. This is handy when your at the enemy base and some of your units are coming out of your base but you don’t want to go back to your base cause then you’ll lose sight of who’s winning… get it? The Right Bumper selects any available unit that is visible on screen which is great if you want to select every unit on screen with the click of a button. Left and Right on the D-Pad lets you cycle through bases and Down let’s you cycle through units. Pressing Up on the D-Pad brings up a menu where you can heal your units through AoE (Area of Effect), use a Pelican to move troops faster, call in ODSTs (which is awesome) or use a super mega awesome weapon which I’ll let you discover for yourself. The analogs are used for camera movement and that’s pretty much an over view on the easy controls. Again, the tutorial will walk you through it so no need to stress out.

The campaign consists of 15 missions that have you doing a variety of things. Whether you’re saving civilians or fighting your way through the Flood, the action never stops and gets more intense the further you get into the story which is told through CG cut-scenes at are AMAZING. So much detail and beauty… too bad we’ll never get a movie =( When you’re done with the campaign, hope online for some multiplayer action. You can go 1 on 1, 2 on 2, or 3 on 3 or in my case, 2 on 1 because my friend’s a n00b. Even though the story is told through the Human perspective, you can play as the covenant online so call out your Brutes, or control one of the Prophets and get to it!

Play this game, you won’t regret it! See ya online!

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