This past week I have been playing Halo Wars on the PC; and it’s ok. Set in the same fictional universe as the Halo video game series, Halo Wars is a strategy game which allows the player the opportunity of waging a war against the Covenant. As a strategy game, it plays pretty well and from a basic level of playing is pretty fun, it’s just overall rather random and lacklustre. The base building aspect of the game is pretty well done and fun, but the army building side is very limited. You only have about three different types of infantry, land vehicles, and flying vehicles to choose from; and that’s just the Human side! The Covenant (AI in campaign mode especially) appear to have far more choice at any one time which seem to just randomly appear rather than get made in the usual RTS way. Due to this limitation, it can feel pretty random as to how on earth you are supposed to have an advantage over the enemy as nothing seems to gel. You could build hundreds of units, only for them to get utterly slaughtered if you tell them who to shoot at, where as if you leave it up to them, they seem quite capable of clearing an enemy stronghold on their lonesome, eventually. It’s like the strategy side of this strategy game has been thrown out of the window; which is a surprise given that this game was originally developed by Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires). The story is ok, doesn’t really jump out at you, not unless you need to have played previous Halo games to have a better idea of what’s happening, although the cinematic cut-scenes are pretty good in it’s favour, but in reality it makes you question what most of the game’s development time went into? It’s an ok game, but not necessarily a good strategy game; it’s very limited and very random, with an upgrade system which just seems altogether pointless. In the end, it doesn’t make me feel like I am playing a Halo game, rather an RTS inspired by the film Starship Troopers, at least then the complete randomness and constant slaughter of troops would make sense!
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