Friday, March 6, 2009

Halo Wars: First Impressions

I've been looking forward to Halo Wars for a couple of years now and wasn't too happy as they consistently pushed it back further and further. But now the game is finally here and I have to say that this game is fun.

For those of us who played the demo you really get a sense of how the campaign plays out. Right now I'm only on Mission 4 and it's starting to ramp up as far as difficulty (I'm playing Heroic difficulty). The first ACT was a breeze, but now I'm actually failing missions from the get go. The controls are simple enough, I do keep forgetting whether D-Pad Down takes me to my base of if it's D-Pad Left, I think it's D-Pad Left, but other than that it's been simplified for the console. I never played RTS games on the PC, unless you count Dune back in the mid-90's, so my ignorance is a blessing here. I think it plays fine, then again I think Command & Conquer plays fine on the 360 as well.

The scenarios that I have encountered so far have been pretty fun. There are small battles, large battles, and then scenes where I just destroy enemies with Scorpions.

The only really disappointing part is the graphics for the Elites. To me it looks like they are wearing a one piece swim suite and there is very little detail to some of the enemies and sometimes my allies. Also the cut scenes are really compressed poorly. I can see the compression artifacts big time.

I have yet to play Campaign in Co-op, but from what I hear from a friend, it is awesome. I really enjoy collecting the skulls, black boxes, and trying to meet the optional objectives, like kill 100 Grunts.

I tried out 3v3 last night with some friends. We teamed up to go against strangers online and I have to say that it was tons of fun. We lost most of the matches before we finally figured out the strategy that everyone was using, so when we won it was great to know that it was through strategy and not luck.

I didn't think I would really enjoy the MP aspect of it, but I think I will be visiting this portion of the game more often than I thought. Teamwork is vital in surviving these game types and I hope to get better at it.

Everything about Halo Wars feels like Halo 3, from the look of the menus to the ranking system. even has a stats section, though it's not as cool as's stats.

If you are a Halo fan, like myself, then you will definitely enjoy this, just for the fact that it is so familiar. I think that's what really draws me in. When I'm told to protect a Spartan, I know what that is immediately. Sure there are some new vehicles, but they are pretty easy to learn and I already know the other vehicles, so there is less to remember.

If you are a hardcore RTS fan, then this might be a little dumbed down from what I hear on the forums and podcast. So try the demo for sure to get a handle on how it plays.

Hopefully Microsoft will support this game for years to come because it has the potential to have long legs. I would like to see new maps and skins for vehicles as well as some new gametypes for MP.

Another cool feature the game has is a timeline for the Halo universe. Some of the dates are locked, which have to be unlocked through gameplay, but it really gives the players a nice sense of where this story starts and the other Halo stories begin.

1 comment:

Jigsaw hc said...

Sounds really fun. I can't wait to get my hands on it sometime soon :)