Growing up as a kid, my brothers and I would play Red Alert 2 for hours on end. We had a LAN setup in our house and we would each retreat to our bunkers and try to build the largest armies we could and then smash them together to see who would be victorious; I love RTS (real time strategy) games and have played quite a few over the years.
One RTS game I did not play was Halo Wars but when the opportunity came up to try out this take on the strategy style gameplay with Halo Wars 2, I couldn’t turn it down. Before you go any further, there are no spoilers here, so don’t fret about possibly ruining the storyline of the game.
Also, I am not a hardcore gamer, I simply like to play a few games, kill an hour or two, and then get back to work or hang out with my kid. Consider this a casual review of Halo Wars because that’s the type of gamer that I am.
With that being said, the story is quite boring and I know some will give me flack for this and that’s perfectly fine. But the thing is, RTS campaigns are always boring, even Red Alert was boring, the game style isn’t really setup well to immerse you in the battles and frankly, it was not all that fun. The basics of the story are that you are trying to take back installation 00 (the ARK); if you like cut scenes with high production value, you will love the campaign of this game.
There are many different game modes like Strong Hold where you try to hold objectives with a 15 minute time window, Domination which is like Strong hold but with more units and of course, my favorite, Deathmatch.
My base being destroyed by the AI.
I spent the majority of my time playing deathmatch which is classic RTS style play. You build up a base, construct an army (while managing the two different styles of resources in the game) and then smash them together to see who can destroy the other base.
There are lots of different styles of vehicles and types of armies that you can command, each with their own strengths and weakness that are worth exploring to find which style fits your play type (lots of tanks or one or two super machines for your army). And of course, you have the option to building aircraft or ground units; nothing too shocking here.
At the end of the day, Halo Wars 2 is fun and I am awful at it; I can’t beat the Ai on heroic or legendary yet. But, I have a blast dying over and over again and it brings back the fun memories of my childhood.
It’s worth pointing out that there are several online game modes as well, but seeing as I was given an early access, finding someone to play online was not possible. I’m sure once the game launches, I will quickly jump into an online 1v1 death match and die, but with a smile on my face.
If you have never played an RTS before, the learning curve is a bit steeper than say a first person shooter but for those who understand the mechanics, Halo Wars 2 is another fun RTS. It’s not overly complex and does require skill to win but it’s no too daunting that new players will find themselves eternally lost.
And lastly, this game is a ‘Play Anywhere’ title which is a nice bonus. I played this game on both my Xbox One and on the PC and I can tell you that it does work using only a controller; I even streamed a few games on Beam using this setup.
But, the PC version of the game is much better. Simply put, it’s much easier to play an RTS with a mouse and keyboard but the nice thing here is that if you buy it today for the Xbox One and want to play it later on your PC (PC download is included for no extra charge), all your data syncs…it’s magical.