Thursday, February 5, 2009

Halo Wars Impressions

So, the Halo Wars demo came out on Xbox Live(at 1.4 GB) today. I've had some doubts about this game for a while now. One of my main problems is simply that RTS games don't hold my interest for long. But I booted up the Xbox and downloaded the demo anyway.

Halo Wars takes place 20 years before Halo. It's a time of great battles between the humans and the Covenant.

I played the Basic tutorial and the first two missions on campaign. I'm not sure how much more is included in the demo. That's just where I stopped.

It's not a bad game. It's fairly fun for an RTS, and the controls aren't bad. I did have a problem for a little while where I was selecting every unit on the map instead of just on my screen, but the game let me know what I was doing wrong with helpful little reminders in the left hand corner.

I beat the two missions without too much problem. My hero did go down during one fierce battle, but then he later got back up when I had another unit stand near him for a while. I earned Silver on the first mission and Bronze on the second.

Is it put together well? Seems to be. I don't have to worry about peons or workers or what have you to collect my resources. I simply build Supply Pads and supplies are shipped to me. There are also crates of supplies scattered around the map that my troops can pick up. They don't even have to bring the supplies back to my base. They just pick them up and they appear in my coffers. So that's nice(although die-hard RTS players may dislike this).

Apparently there are also skulls hidden on some of the levels, but I didn't find any.

I do, for the most part, like that when you group your troops together they all travel at the same speed(which would be the speed of your slowest unit). This, of course, is annoying since it slows down some of your troops, but it's good for combat because I don't have to worry that my Warthogs are way ahead of my Scorpion or Infantry. The only time I really don't like this is when I'm running away from enemies. (Although even when fleeing, the Warthog's gunner still shoots at the enemies.)

And pretty much every unit has a secondary attack. Warthogs can run over enemies. Infantry can throw grenades.

Will it do well? Hmmm.... I don't think it will. I know that some game executives think that simply putting the name Halo on anything will make it sell. But Halo 1-3 are first person shooter games. They may have helped revolutionize or revitalize the FPS, but they were still first person shooters.

Most FPS gamers aren't RTS gamers and vice versa. When I was playing the Halo Wars demo, it actually made me want to play Halo 3 so that I could get in there and shoot some Covenant instead of just clicking on units and letting my troops battle.

I also have problems really distinguishing what the various Covenant troops are. I know there were Grunts, Elites, Jackals, Hunters, Ghosts and ... those Covenant transport ships. But most of them look pretty much the same from way up high. There were a number of times when I'd have Hunters on me, but I'd be concentrating on the Grunts.

In the end, this game may sell because of the Halo name. But I don't think it will truly be popular.


Jigsaw hc said...

I really liked the demo. I was planning on just renting it but now I'm thinking of buying it. You can rotate through the different troop types to move them separately if you need to but I did not mind them all moving at one speed either. I like how the carry over the skulls and things like that from the other Halo games.

TheStooge said...

I also am planning on buying the game after playing the demo. Already put my advance deposit down!
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aplusj said...

It broke the record for most downloaded demo on Xbox live.