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When first playing this game, I couldn't believe it! Ensemble Studios had managed to do the impossible and create a strategic Halo game!
The story takes place during the Fall Of Reach! The Spartan program is in full action and the ship you are in find a Covenant force deep in Space and this one ship has to try and take them down! Dr. Halsey (creator of the Spartan Program) is on board the ship to give you advice when you're commanding your forces!
Gameplay consists of have a central base, that gives you certain modules so you can build particular units. For instance in the barracks you can create Spartans, where as in the vehicles section you can build Warthogs and Scorpion Tanks etc. Essentially once you have a decent army, you send it over to the enemy base and massacre them!
Controls: Well the general rule is that an RTS on a console is a crap RTS. However Ensemble Studios have really managed to nail the controls on this title! You have a large cursor allowing you to instantly access either many of the same unit or all of them and then you can either select their primary or secondary attacks (for instance the warthog can either shoot or ram the enemy).
Graphics: Well they are simply beautiful, while not as good as Halo 3s, explosions still look lovely and the frame rate never drops!
Multiplayer: online you can either play as the Covenant or UNSC (even though you can't play as the Covenant in the main game) and it is really amazing!
I have loved the Halo series since it first came out and I am also a massive fan of real time strategy games (RTS) and just had to get this game when it came out. While it is a good game with a interesting plot in the campaign it has borderline pros and cons, depending on your attitude towards them.
Amazing graphics which load quickly so gaming does not take long and vehicles being blown up looks well designed, and that is just during gameplay. The cut scenes for the campaign are borderline film worthy such detail has been incorporated which must have taken so long to do.
The controls are very simple, as this game was built for the xbox and built up from scratch which means interaction has been careful thought out. The paint tool is quick and simple, you just hold down a single button then cover all the units you want to do a task your thinking about.
There are a number of various upgrades and playable characters which means there is always something new to try out. Each of the characters has a unique unit and perk which makes multiplayer games very interesting as different tactics and strategies can be produced.
The many flaw is the number of units, as a RTS fan I am use to controlling hundreds of units and in the case of Supreme Commander up to 1000. So when it came to this game I found that I could have have a max of 40 if I am lucky. As each unit is 'worth' more population points than another, so a warthog will take 3 population points and a vulture with take 6, so it can easily be seen that there are not mass units to kick around with at once.
The next point I feel restricted this game was the base design, as you only build on base locations and have a maximum of 7 buildings on one base at any one time, again being a RTS fan I am not use to such restrictions on my developing. However it is still fun and brings different tactics to the game, so it depends of whether this is your first RTS experience or your flexible when it comes to RTS games to see whether or not this bothers you.
Id never been a fan of Halo games because I don't really like how they are set out and the game plays always a little bit weird, however, when I heard that they had brought out an RTS version, I thought id give it a go.
I have to say, i was pleasantly surprised, most RTS games are brought out on the PC because its easier to use a mouse to traverse the screen and select units and buildings, but they actually did a brilliant job of making it user friendly on the Xbox 360.
The controls at first are pretty confusing, but when you start the main campaign you go through a tutorial that teaches you all you need to know, after that its pretty easy to get the hang of things.
They are a lot like other RTS game to be honest, apart from you're using an Xbox 360 pad, you use the Left stick to scroll around the screen, press A to select a unit and press X to give them an order.
I think they set them out really well considering it on a controller as well, there isn't any buttons that have two functions so you never get confused when you play it.
The game play is very similar to most other RTS games, you just use your units to destroy the enemy bases or to take over certain areas on the map. You can also build things called supply pads, which bring in a constant steady supply of supplies which you can use to upgrade units or buildings and create new units as well, so there is also an economic feel to the game.
Its a very addictive type of game play which is why RTS games are quite popular, i can definitely see why Halo decided to broaden their game types.
The main campaign sees you play as Sergeant John forge, and you play through different maps taking on the covenant in epic battles, the story is mostly told in cut scenes, which look absolutely amazing, its almost like they're real.
It's not a huge game, however i did have around 6-7 hours of game play on the hardest mode, which to be honest is quite good for an RTS game, because the replay-ability is great, you can just try a different map every time you choose a skirmish (You against the computer) and you can even play as one of 6 different characters, it takes a lot to get bored when you have so much to do when you finish the story.
Probably one of the best things is the graphics, they're absolutely amazing, especially on the cut scenes. During game play, its actually like your just looking down on a battlefield, but you can also zoom in on the field to see your units, and usually on RTS games when you do this you lose a lot of quality in the graphics and on the units, but on halo wars the quality doesn't change one bit.
I think the main downfall of this game is the way your base is set out, you can only have a set number of buildings and you cant set up another base just anywhere, which makes it a little bit harder to take over a map and to effectively control your bases.
You start off with a normal base, which can have 4 buildings on, then when you save up enough supplies you upgrade to a base that can have 6 buildings on, but considering there is 6 types of buildings, and you need more than one of a lot of them, its no where near enough space.
Overall a great game, i still own it and play it now and ive had it for quite a long time, you can find a copy for around £15 new and £10 pre-owned. Id definitely recommend it for people who like RTS games, and even for people who play Halo games.
I love the Halo franchise so i was one of the first to buy this game. I must say through disapointment that it was best left as a 3rd person shooter. Compared to games liek Red Alert this just doesn't stack up. My main problem was the base design, for those of you who don't know you can only build you base in certain locations and everything is built on one main building. There is alot a minimal unit count and if you build a Scarab tank you'll find youself with not much else. These are my two biggest probelms and don't get me wrong they make the game very average.
On the plus side if you like Halo you get to build many authentic Halo units like Grunts and the Scorpion tank, with a few new units that fit in well with the Halo theme. And even though short, the levels are quite varied with different scenes and tasks, it is also quite difficult on harder difficulties which keep you playing to get those achievements.
To summerise i would only buy this game if your a Halo fan, not if your a Strategy genra fan.
By far the best strategy game made for the Xbox 360! The control style is probably the most amazing feature of Halo Wars, I would never have thought a strategy game would be so easy to use on a console.
Single player has a reasonably good story that you advance through as the UNSC. Downside is that you cannot play as the covenant on single player, but that's obviously just the same as all other previous halo games. The story is based BEFORE any other halo series so it shows exactly what happened before, and how things started.
As for the online experience, its fantastic! I have played this game online for countless months now and I have hit the top rank. I still have kept the game as I sell most games back, due to me going on it from time to time. Players can play as either the UNSC of Covenant online, choosing from 6 different leaders using their own special features. A really great thing I like about the online play is that you can play 1v1, 2v2, and an amazing 3v3 for intense battles that can last well over an hour.
At first I found Microsoft's servers online were quite slow and bad at finding games, everything has been fixed quite a while back now and players are able to find games quickly. A couple of update such as new game modes and map packs have been released so far. I just hope they release new updates soon!
This game has endless tactics and every tactic can be counted, easily one of the best games ever for the xbox!
halo wars really is a must buy strategy game, it offers a mind blowing amount of tactics you can try and leaders you can play as. if you are expecting the campaign to be as epic as halo 3 then you might be disapointed but the multiplayer mode massiveley makes up for this. play as any of the 3 unsc leaders : captain cutter, seargeant forge or professor anders, and any of the 3 covenant leaders : the prophet of regret, the arbiter or brute cheiftain. there are also various game types in the multiplayer mode such as 1v1 2v2 3v3 and deathmatch, unfortunately there is no map making feature and theatre, but trust me i cant stress enough how amazing multiplayer is. communication is vital in xbox live matches as co-ordination and teamwork will be really beneficial towards your final score. that leads me on to the exp or experience systems in halo wars, do not expect the typical halo 3 method of win a match get 1 exp but loose a match and get nothing, because its entirley different but in my opinion better. when you kill units buildings etc you gain points for egsample : destruction of a base maybe something like 60 points or so, but every body at the end of the match will get a score multiplier, based on your preformance it will be better but if your team wins the match expect a significantly increased multiplier compared to your opponents, although loosing units and buildings will effect you multiplier. to summarise, if you like strategic based games where you build various buildings, train various units and tactically use your brain to see victory over an opponent then get down to your nearest games store and dont think twice about buying this epic addiction to the sequel. :)
Halo has been a dominant force in the FPS genre for many years and in 2009 they took the rather large step into RTS gaming. Developed by Ensemble Studios instead of Bugie, Halo Wars is set some years prior to the fall of Reach and can therefore justify the delicious numbers of Spartan soldiers you can collect.
As it is based on the Halo universe there was always going to be the problem that the continuity and authenticity of the game would be questionable. However, Ensemble Studios successfully incorporated enough of the original aspects of the Halo Universe to appease the die-hard Halo fans but left enough room for them to create new units that maintain the authenticity of the game.
The campaign mode is not as engrossing or as fun as it possibly could have been but it is still a worthy aspect of the game. It is also held back by the fact that it is only possible to play the game from the UNSC perspective and not the Covenant.
Without a doubt the best aspect of the game is the online skirmishing. The matchmaking aspect is reasonably quick and the system that is used suitably matches competitors, with the matches usually within the same sort of skill level.
For those who love RTS games Halo Wars is a fantastic exampple that should take its place of honour on your shelves. However, if you are unfamiliar with the genre then this is probably not the place to start, especially if you enjoyed the original Halo series.
Halo Wars in my opinion is one of the most ground breaking RTS games of its time, the way in which it acheives this is that it is so simple to play, when I played Lord Of The Rings Battle For Middle Earth (LOTR BFME) it was click A pull RT and Select something, complicated and dificult to get used to. However with Halo Wars this is not the case, in Halo Wars they have the simple wheel of 8 where you click on a building and on your screen comes a selection wheel, you aim your Left Stick and select what you want, then you simply press B and go back to the map easy! The storyline is very very good, set 20 years before cheif and the events on Halo, you follow a ship and its crew on a neer suicidal course that takes them far and wide accross the galaxy, fighting countless hordes of covenant and flood alike, during which you find out the most dieing questions you wanted answering by collecting the 15 black boxes and skulls, 1 per mission. Then you discover that the covanent have found a way to anhialate the human race and what do you do? You kick some covanent hind and sacrifice yourself to save the entire race, epic. So to sum up, Halo Wars is not only THE best RTS to hit the shelves its also the easiest and most enjoyable to play with a great storyline and multiplayer, however I have not played the multiplayer and cannot tell you from personal experience, but I do know some huge Halo fans that are very reliable who have played it and they tell me its awesome!
Halo wars has to be one of the best RTS games on the xbox 360 to date. The campain has a gripping story and awsome gameplay and along with finding all the hidden skulls and black boxs it alot of fun plus the more of the campain you complete and black boxs you collect will unlock the halo timeline which tells you alot about the halo universe and what happened to the spartens. But what i found the most fun in halo wars had to be the multiplayer with your true skill and rank its alot like the halo 3 ranking structure but with a few changes at first online you only get standard mode or deathmatch but if you gat one of the halo wars add ons of the xbox live marketplace you also get tug of war, keep away and reinforcments so it has alot more gametypes than other RTS games. when it comes to gameplay the way you control your base and units was very well thought out and in 5 seconds you could have your army on the way (if you have enough reasurces). The fact that you can can play as 3 differnt types of UNSC and Covenant armys all with there own special units, upgrades and abilities give you a wide variety of tactics you can use to pulverise the opponants but the one thing to watch out for playing online is rush tactics if you dont have a small army protecting your base you will quickly loose the battle. Another cool feature is when you play local or private games your service record shows you how many times you've won or lost as that army to show you what army you play best as.
Now if anyone is into gaming they are familiar with the Halo series. Halo 1 till just got bigger and better. The game developers have decided to take the franchise in a completely new direction with halo wars. This is an xbox exclusive RTS game based on the halo series
Now consoles have never been able to really boost RTS games and halo wars does suffer from similar limitations without the easy point and click action of the mouse. The game controls are better off than mst console RTS games but it still takes a while getting used to.
The story is by far amazing which keeps you involved. The cutscene on total high def are absolutely brilliant. Even if you are not planning to buy the game I would strongly suggest downloading the demo to see the cutscenes or having a search in you tube for all the cinematics. Jawdroppingly good with great quality
The gameplay is farily decent with some recurring enemies and characters which all nostalgic fans would love. The campaign is fun to play but doenst have to much replayability value unless you are a perfectionist. Graphics are pretty decent for an RTS game and its truly wonderful to see sme of the special abilites of various characters. The soundtrack is very good and definetely picks up in heated battles
The multiplayer is falry decent with a number of different modes that will keep fan busy for a while
Although a big console and RTS game I feel that if any game comes close to mastering it Halo Wars is on that list. However unless you are a strong RTS or Halo Wars fan I wouldnt suggest you pick this up but dont give the cinematics a miss
Im not usually into these sort of games but i was persuaded to buy it by other people i know. I usually get bored of playing these kind of games as i find that after a while it gets very repatative. However this is not the case with Halo Wars, using all the different characters really makes the game alot more interesting as you can adopt different tactics in each game. What makes the game really good is the online multiplayer, here you can team up with friends and work together to attack the enemy and try and win together. Overall i am very happy with this game, the only thing that i would like to see would be more upgrades available. In some matches you get to a point where you have upgraded everything and everyone is at the same level so the game can drag on for a long time. But overall i enjoyed this game and am really happy that i gave it a chance as it exceeded my expectations.
Halo Wars is one of the best strategy games I've played mainly because you don't have to build villagers who pick food, chop wood, collect gold etc. You do still need resources but they are simply called resources and that's it, they get you anything and you only have to sacrifice one slot in your base.
The story is a bit weak as its set before halo combat evolved so they've made a few excuses to bring in the flood and other things that shouldn't have been discovered / invented in the universe yet. The missions do make you think strategically and are varied enough to keep you amused.
However online is where it really takes off! You can play as UNSC (Humans) or the Covenant (Aliens), each side has three leaders all with varying abilities which could help you win the battle. If you play with friends you might find you make a routine which will beat the other army in seconds but you're always the same person and this gets to be boring and for people only interested in points or whatever. If you play with people you don't know this is more fun because you're not coordinated and might have a really epic battle that even if you loose was fun to play.
Recommended to anyone who likes Halo, RTS games or new comers to both.
Like a boulder rolling down a hill the onslaught of the Halo Franchise will inevitably crush all before it. Bungie, the creators of the franchise, had decided to hang up their Spartan boots and allow Microsoft to go it alone with the IP they now own. What would M$ do to cash in on the huge popularity of the Halo games? An obvious ploy would be another First Person Shooter in the style of the first three games. Never say that M$ do the obvious as their first non-Bungie Halo game turned out to be a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game. Would 'Halo Wars' tarnish the name or suggest that the IP is in good hands when M$ passed it over to Ensemble Studios?
RTS have been around for years and are particularly popular on the PC were the mouse and keyboard options makes the controls straight forward. A typical RTS sees you building up a base and producing various units with which you attack an opponent's base. The last team alive is the winner. 'Halo Wars' takes this basic premise and polishes it for the console generation. You play as the humans who must, over a series of levels, overcome the Covenant (an alien warlike race) and the Flood (other aliens that are parasitic). You start with a simple base and must balance gaining resources, building fighters, upgrading and destroying the enemy.
So far so average. However, what makes 'Halo Wars' stand out is the brilliant intuitive nature the game has on the 360. I have played a few RTS games on the 360 and they all proved too fiddly to be fun. This is not the case with 'Halo Wars' as the pad is mapped brilliantly. Even I, with my poor RTS skills, was able to pick it all up within 30 minutes and crack on with the game. Add to this the fact that you can play the entire campaign with a co-op buddy online and you have a well polished title that fits into the 360 market perfectly.
The barriers to entry for RTS games are not present here as you spend far more time fighting rather than having to do boring things like cut down trees. The use of the Halo franchise is also warranted as you see your favourite troops being built and are able to overcome enemy units like the Scarabs. I was not sure I was going to enjoy this game, but with the help of a co-op play I surely did. By far the best RTS on consoles yet. (4 out of 5)
In many ways the universe of Halo itself is the character, or at least the main character of Master Chief. However, not being one who is bothered about Master Chief's various happenings; his absence did not bother me. Instead Ensemble Studios do a decent job in introducing a new set of characters and have a story play out in some majestic cut scenes. Do the character and story have any real impact on the game? Not really, they are just empty flourishes to garnish the real meat of gameplay. (3 out of 5)
With around 10 initial levels the lifespan of 'Halo Wars' may at first seem a little stingy. However, this is not the case if you decide to try and get all the optional elements like I did. Each level contains a hidden skull and a hidden black box. These unlock cheats that can help or hinder you in other levels. You are also given a ranking on each level and to fully complete the game you need to get Gold. This means that you return to previous levels with skulls unlocked to try and get a higher score.
As a 360 exclusive title it feels like Ensemble Studios have done a good job in using the achievements as a means to extend the gameplay. The various gold medals and skulls are linked to achievements, but you also get a special task for each level. The ability to use achievements to encourage a player to tackle a game in a different way is how they should be used - Ensemble Studios do that here. Throw in a solid multiplayer online experience and you could play 'Halo Wars' indefinitely. (4 out of 5)
For many people here is where the game peaks. Once the single player/co-op campaign is finished you do not have to stop. Anyone who is online can take on others in 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2 or 3 vs. 3 matchups. Personally, I feel this is for the more hardcore gamer as when I went on I was soundly beaten. However, with a solid connection and regular updates the online experience for 'Halo Wars' is very professional. (4 out of 5)
With a bird's eye view of the battlefield the graphics in a RTS can make or break a game. Each unit should be distinct and the backgrounds should be compelling enough to hold interest. In both these areas 'Halo Wars' excels. Graphically it is eye candy and seeing a pitch battle from above of your favourite Halo units is pretty special. I was never confused as to what each unit was and enjoyed the various areas visited. Add to this some of the best looking cut scenes on the 360 and you have one of the most polished games on the console - it looks better than 'Halo 3' that's for sure. (5 out of 5)
It is too easy to dismiss level design in a RTS as simply drawing a map and plonking two bases either end. If you did this you would be designing a game for twenty years ago. The modern audience expects something deeper and better developed. This is exactly what they get in 'Halo Wars'. Of the 10 or so levels in the game Ensemble Studios are able to create interesting new takes on the RTS genre. One mission will have you escorting a vehicle, the next having to hide from a deadly laser. Every time I started a new level I was surprised how well Ensemble Studios were able to mix things up and keep them fresh. Admittedly perhaps they could have done with a few more to flesh out the experience, but overall a great job. (4 out of 5)
Halo has always prided itself on the quality of its sound effects and music and it continues here. Effects wise all your favourite creations return with the shrieks and pings of battle spreading across each map. Musically an orchestral score is present and, although it did nothing for me, is still of the highest quality. (4 out of 5)
The highest recommendation I can have for a game is when it transcends its genre to become just a great game. I am not a RTS fan, but I did like 'Halo Wars'. This is enough for me to assume that something special must have been done by Ensemble Studios when making the game. The intuitive controls, great achievements and interesting level design means that 'Halo Wars' was aimed at the console market perfectly. I do feel that perhaps the campaign could have been slightly longer, but when playing with a co-op pal it's still fun to go back and play everything again. (4 out of 5)
Maker: Ensemble Studios RRP £50
Amazon uk £26.95
Halo Wars seems to have been hyped up so much that when it launched it couldn't actually reach the pedestal it had been placed on and so, not a huge amount of time after release, it's down to £19.99 in some places and £28.99 on Amazon, a sign of the credit crunch or a sign of a bad game? read on....
--- Plot ---
For die-hard Halo fans you'll have already pre-ordered this and probably not be reading this but for those a little more sceptical it takes place pre-Master Chief and pre-Halo (1) and is a strategy based game giving you control of a fleet of UNSC troops. You're armed with troops, bases and the ability to build, upgrade and order about your army and the God-like view from above gives you a nice way to see what's going on and help those that need it.
Having not played to the end yet I can only comment on what's been played so far and needless to say the plot is fairly gripping, not simply a 'kill all in your way' or 'he started it so you should go start on him' it has genuine strategic missions that make you think you've beaten the Covenant and then flips it around and really makes you work hard to pull it back for victory.
--- Graphics ---
2009 release mean it's half decent graphics? you could say that.....
The beautiful textures of the in-game movies is second to none and quite clearly the more realistic and visually impressive i've seen in any game. The graphics of the actual gameplay are a little less impressive though this is to be expected due to the heavy memory load a strategy games puts on a console (lots happening at once).
--- Control System ---
An ever growing hurdle for strategy game developers is when it reaches a console as the command and direction of multiple troops can be somewhat sluggish without a mouse and quick hands. This is not such a hurdle for Halo Wars though as the system has been created specifically for the Xbox 360 making it fairly easy to get used to and quite simple to control troops, however selecting just a few or a large group can still be quite tricky at times I find.
--- Covenant Control ---
That's right, you can play as the enemy and try to take down the Spartans, armed with all the nifty gadgets and gizmos the Covenant have.
--- Online Play ---
As with most new release games Halo Wars is playable online and offers co-op mode as well as all out brawl on Xbox Live
--- Overall ---
Though Ensemble Studios (developer) refer heavily to it as ground-breaking....this is a small exaggeration. The game feels nice to play and control is fairly well maintained throughout with fluid movement of vehicles and troops and a good range of structures that can be built along the way and upgraded to help keep trouble out of your base.
The graphics are very nicely finished with the videos setting a new level for graphics in my opinion, the crystal clear water effects and texture of the armour is finished beautifully.
The plot as far as I have gone is also quite a nice, slightly different spin on other Halo titles and it's nice to see a variation on an already popular series.
Ensemble you have taken a classic game and put a twist on it that's given a different point-of-view and a further insight into the Halo world, though it's often at times nothing more than any other strategy game....sorry but there's a formula to them. It's not a bad thing it's just a given, strategy games look like Command & Conquer and that's that.
You can't re-invent the wheel with this one but you've certainly given it a very polished alloy to spruce it up a bit.
Format: Xbox 360
Genre: RTS (Real Time Strategy)
So what's it all about:
Halo is an epic franchise and Halo Wars is the latest offering on the table. This is the first RTS in the saga in which you take the role of either the human marines or the covenant which are a race of aliens hell bent on eradicating man. The game centres around base building, raising an army and defeating your opponent either with brute force or with cunning tactics.
Bearing in mind that this is on the Xbox 360 and therefore you will not have the luxury of a key board and mouse, the controls are quite easy to use. I think the developers have thought long and hard about how best to utilise the buttons and controls available on a game pad and it has paid off. The levels are rich and the story line is typical of the Halo brand. Gameplay is very dynamic and you have be able to multi task several incidents occurring at once to be able to master the game.
I found that there was a distinct lack of units within the game and the developers concentrated mainly on upgrades for the few units available. There is a single player and Co OP campaign mode via Xbox Live in addition to VS match making for up to 6 players.
Unfortunatlely I found the graphics to be a little bit of let down, however we must remember this is an RTS and not a 1st shooter as per the previous instalments of Halo. I just thought that models were basic and the animation was nothing new. However the CGI cut scenes were so good, they put a lot of films to shame.
The sounds are what you would expects for a game of this type. Nothing mind blowing, just straight simple effects and the usual Halo theme running constantly in the background.
Halo Wars has far from ticked every box when comes to making a great game and it's certainly not a game which you simply can't put down. I think the game becomes monotonous very early on and I found myself loosing interest, however this could be said for the continuous grind found in many other RTS games.
A mediocre RTS game which is limited by the lack of units however is very easy to control using a Xbox 360 game pad.