#934 Halo Wars

Posted: 25th May 2019 by Jeroen in Games
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786th played so far

Genre: Strategy
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

I’ve played some console strategy games before, they lean more towards the tactical – something like Final Fantasy Tactics or Valkyria Chronicles, where you have a predefined set of units that you control individually. Larger grouped units in the Command & Conquer mold, with more units you build as you go along, while growing the army and base building are a part of it.

Halo Wars isn’t the first to do so for a console, but it’s one of the few in the book. Not just that, we’re playing in the FPS focused Halo universe, which I’m not sure would overlap that much here. It’s a departure for the series, but as the shooter has some squad elements anyway, I can see where they’d come from.

Our Thoughts

Halo Wars simplifies the strategy formula enough to require less group interactions while keeping the same feel. It’s not something that’s new to the genre – earlier games have done so and in general it’s been trying to get more accessible – but I feel it’s the first time I’ve come across it here. Bases are simpler – you have a central building with several smaller ones around it, which fulfill the same roles as core buildings from other games – build infantry, artillery and so on. There’s fewer, and I believe only one that upgrades research (and even that’s streamlined), but the basics are all there. You have, on the other hand, still several unit types with their own abilities and I believe the usual triangle.

You still use with less units, and that’s good – it is difficult enough to keep up with what’s there, and several levels in, on a “survive for half an hour” mission, I felt like splitting my attention became too difficult to really keep up with multiple attacks – I missed my shortcuts at that point, but that’s for a mission type I never loved much anyway.

The game has a bunch of decent objectives anyway – not just destroying bases and surviving for times, but infiltrating a base and getting out again and optional objectives surrounding numbers of enemies killed and all of that. It’s an interesting set of those.

The setting of the game is the Halo world, but in the end I didn’t feel it mattered much. There’s a couple of unit names based on it and I’m sure the characters are familiar, but I feel that so far, the link hasn’t really helped much – a new world would have felt much the same, but perhaps it’s because on this superficial level, these SF worlds can feel interchangable.

Final Thoughts

While I struggled with the survival mission, Halo Wars was mostly a lot of fun to play. While hectic at times, it tuned its elements well enough that I had to keep paying attention, but didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed by what was going on. I need to get back to it and give it another, proper go.