You will be excused for clicking on the link thinking this is a review of Halo Wars 2. It’s not. Its a review of Halo Wars. The game that came before it, in the year 2009. But why now you ask? Well the original RTS was not available on the PC for most of its lifetime. It was finally available as a pre-order exclusive for Halo Wars 2 which made it finally available on the PC in December 2016. Even then the game was not up for individual purchases. Finally on the 20th of April, 343 finally released the game on Steam. Which brings us to this review.
Halo Wars is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 video game console. The game was originally released on 26 February 2009, and was recently released on Steam on the 20th Of April.
HALO WARS DEFINITIVE EDITION
Story And Narrative
Halo Wars offers players three game modes – Campaign, where players can explore more of the story about the Halo universe, Skirmish, where players can play against the AI on several maps in 1v1,2v2 and 3v3 modes, Multiplayer, where players can test their skill against real life opponents over the Internet in 1v1,2v2 and 3v3 modes. Besides this, the game also offers a Halo Timeline, which helps players keep up with the story-line by reading up on the events of the Halo universe that has occurred so far.
The campaign of Halo Wars is quite uninteresting as compared to the Halo FPS series. The story-line focuses on the human-Covenant conflicts, especially after the first desperate colonization attempts of the UNSC on habitable planets. The Covenant were attempting to take control of ancient Forerunner weaponry in order to wipe mankind, and the humans have to stop them – at any cost. The campaign story-line is pretty feeble, considering the addition of the “Halos”, the “Flood” whose only aim is to infect one and all living beings in the Universe, and the ability to experience the story from the side of the Covenant, in the FPS titles, which reduces the playability for any players depending on only the campaign for adding hours to the game.
The skirmish is a decent game mode, having quite a few maps for allowing the player to hone their RTS skills by playing against the AI, before jumping online to face real world opponents. The only lacking part here is the limited number of game modes. Most strategy games offer upto 5v5 modes, which makes Halo Wars feel slightly limited in terms of in-game options. The AI is of a decent difficulty level, which can be tuned up and down as the player feels like. Multiplayer has the same limitations as skirmish – a lack of gameplay options.
The game is equipped with handy tools to help newcomers keep up pace. The tutorial offers three missions that helps the player learn the basics which is more than enough to ensure a quick start. The game also has a simplistic UI which is much easier cleaner and easier to look at, as compared to most other strategy games, which is not only eye-soothing, but also easier to comprehend, which improves the gameplay experience, especially in long multiplayer sessions, which can last hours. The improved controller compatibility also helps returning players (from the console version) keep up pace easily. For players who are entirely new to the Halo series, there is a Halo Timeline option in the game menu that helps players keep up pace with the story .
The graphics are decent for a RTS game, but not nearly good enough to attract players. It is really the simplicity and the ease with which players synchronize with the game that really brings in players, not the visuals. This is quite a big thing to be considered in 2017, when it is being released, where many people look only for visuals, and for other gameplay features afterwards. A “remastered version” makes sense only to previous players. Visuals are not enough to attract new players.
The game is a decent RTS, with features enough for hardcore RTS fans to jump in, and simple enough for fans new to the RTS generation to adjust to the pace of the game. Halo fans who are interested in the history of the Halo series from the starting of the Human-Covenant War, should also get it, for nostalgia’s sake. Despite the remaster, the game loses out on its charm quite a lot, mainly because of its delayed release on the PC.