Halo Wars

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Long ago, on a giant black and green monolith under my television, I played Halo: Combat Evolved. It was a nice experience with some annoyances. At some point later I played Halo 2 on the same machine (and the same television for that matter). It had the same nice AI and combat, but was even more annoying to play, with a ridiculously overcomplicated story told entirely through glitchy cutscenes - the less said about the abrupt ending the better. I reckoned I would never play a Halo game again after that. I got a free copy of Halo 3 (the special edition no less!) some time ago, and it remains in its box unplayed on my newer, smaller black monolith and much nicer HD television to this day.

However, I recently got a copy of Halo Wars and was intrigued by the idea of an RTS in this universe, especially since Starcraft is my one of my favourite games of all time. A comparison would be interesting.

I popped the disc into my Xbox 360, played a few missions and was suitably impressed. It suffers from the usual unit selection issues of console RTS games - the options more or less boil down to select one or select all in practical use. However, the game has been designed around this limitation - for example, your base and support buildings are all in one location and when the defence turrets are upgraded enough the base can pretty much look after itself while you take all your units off to fight.

I've encountered some pretty cool missions so far - they're pretty varied in their objectives and the pre-rendered cutscenes in between aren't bad either. However one point puzzles me somewhat...

At the risk of a spoiler (skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to know!), Halo Wars is set 20 years before the first Halo game. At one point in the new game the Flood arrive on the scene, trying to overrun your forces on an unknown planet. Correct me if I'm wrong, but It's my understanding from the first two FPS games that the Flood were contained centuries ago by the Covenant on the Halo that Master Chief has fun on in the first game. The FPS games make no mention they've been encountered before, so their presence in Halo Wars is erroneous. It feels like the developers simply ignored continuity in order to cram all the races into the game.

As for multiplayer, like all games I've little interest in playing against random people on Xbox Live, so unless some of my friends fancy a game I probably won't play.

Overall, this game works well, and counteracts the control problems inherent in console RTS games rather nicely. Perhaps my copy of Halo 3 will finally make its way to my Xbox 360...

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Halo 3 from Keef's Musings on March 16, 2009 2:21 PM

I'm well behind the curve with this, but as I mentioned in my Halo Wars post, I might play Halo 3 if I enjoyed Halo Wars enough. This turned out to be the case. To start with I found the... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by KeefJudge published on March 3, 2009 6:10 PM.

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