Halo Wars was a radical departure from the first person shooter action that fans of the series had gotten used to. This was a real time strategy game and rather than Bungie being the guys behind the game it was Ensemble Studios who would develop the game.
Story & Presentation
I loved the story of Halo Wars. The game is set twenty years before the events of the first Halo game. And the game follows the UNSC Sprit Of Fire as it goes to investigate suspicious Covenant activity and to try and track down Forerunner artifacts. The story may not sound very in depth, but I loved it. The Flood who are one of the main enemies of the Halo series are in this game, but they introduced them in a very clever way that makes it make sense that the UNSC did not know of the Flood until the events of the first Halo game. For a real time strategy game the story is surprisingly strong in this game.
The game graphically looks great. The various battles that you will be part of have a ton of things going on at once. And despite its somewhat zoomed out view (like many other real time strategy games) there is a great amount of detail. You cannot talk about the graphics of Halo Wars without mentioning the gorgeous cinematic scenes this game has. I would go as far to say that the cinematics are some of the best in the entire Halo series.
I will admit right off the bat that I am not a huge real time strategy game type of gamer. I find most of the boring if I am honest, but as I am a huge Halo fan I was willing to give this game a try and I am glad I did.
The single player campaign is very lengthy and is fifteen missions long. While the main goal of your missions is to eliminate your enemies while making sure that you survive. There are many different little side missions that you can tackle if you so wish. I am amazed at how good this single player campaign is. They really do make you care about the characters and while each battle can last anywhere up to say 45 minutes the time just fly’s by as you are having so much fun.
The controls are nice and easy to learn. Some real time strategy games are way to in depth for me, but this one while giving you a great deal of control keeps things simple as well. The game has a great camera that lets you move it and spin it around the battle field so you can always keep an eye on what is happening. In short this is a game where you really do feel like you are in complete control over your troops.
As well as having a really fun and engaging single player campaign Halo Wars also has a cool multi player mode as well. There is a great online community for this game and to practice you can play against AI controlled bots before you jump online, but playing against another skilled human player is really fun. What I liked was that even when I lost to a more skilled player I would pick up a few tips and strategies that they used in order to beat me.
Would I have played this game if it did not have the Halo name? I have to be honest and say no. Many people thought this was a just a quick cash in on the Halo name, but in its own right this is a very well made and highly polished game. While I am not a hard core real time strategy game fan. There are many people who are who say that Halo Wars is one of the best on the Xbox 360.