Halo Wars is here! Well the demo anyway.
So the demo for the long anticipated Halo Wars has come to xbox live. Was it worth the wait? Does it live up to the hype? Read more to find out my take on this RTS for the 360.
So I downloaded the demo today and loaded it up after waiting about 45 mins, I was up and playing. First impressions were pretty high. The graphics were pretty crisp and clean. The cut scenes are top notch and would work as a CGI Halo movie if they wanted, and just hearing that epic halo type music on the start screen just made me so happy. But lets get past the basics and get into the game.
It’s 20 years before the events of the first Halo game and the USNC is in a fierce war with the covenant. In campaign mode you take on the role of a commander of a fleet trying to retake Harvest, the planet where first contact took place. If anyone has played other RTS games like Command and Conquer or Age of Mythologies, then you are familure with how the campaign modes work. You are tasked with certain objectives in each mission that range from building a base, to taking back overrun areas and throwing the covenant back into the depths of space. The style of the game doesnt change much from other RTS games. So I will get down to business.
The controls… When I first heard about Halo Wars I was worried how they would get the controls to work on a controller. Well there are a few ways they did this. The first is that the amount of units you control have been cut down to 50 max. This makes it so you arent all over the place searching for different squads and trying to switch between them all the time. Pressing the left bumper selects all your units, and pressing the right selects all the units on the screen. You can also hold in A to make a small circle that selects all units in that immediate area. Scrolling somewhere and pressing X makes it so they go to that area or attack the selected unit. You can zoom in, out, and rotate the camera to have full control over what you see on the screen. My only gripe with this is that it does not zoom out far enough. Its not bad, but I wanted a bit more zoom to see the battlefield.
Your main base has spots for Reactors (which will let you upgrade units. Kinda like the tech level research in other RTS games), factories for vehicles, barracks for troops, tech centers for researching upgrades, and supply sites where supplies are dropped in. Unlike other rts games, you dont harvest or mine resources. You have them dropped in. So the more supply points you have, the more resources you have to build units, structures, or units.
All units have special upgrades which will make them attack with different weapons or just more powerful ones. And they also have secondary attacks that are researched. When I first started I couldnt figure out why my Warthog wouldnt shoot. Then I realized that I had to research turrets for the darn thing. It sounds dumb, but it adds to the whole feeling of control and the upgrades on the lower levels get done very very fast so you dont waste much time doing them. There are 3 basic types of units; Infantry, Mechanized, and Flying. Each has its strengths and weaknesses which will make them in certain situations either devistating, or pretty much cannon fodder.
Overall the game is insanely fun and I did the demo about 6 times and the skirmish mode about 10. This is definatly a buy when it comes out March 3rd. Especially because of the online skirmish modes where you can do 1v1, 1v2, 1v3, or 2v2. I cant wait for this puppy to hit store shelves. I have always been a sucker for RTS and finally someone has gotten it right on the console. Congrats Halo Wars, you have become the first RTS to work with a controller.