Halo Wars

The Halo franchise is one of the Xbox console's largest and most popular brands. Can this game continue the magic?

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Halo Wars
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  November 4, 2009

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Key Specs

Online play: Y
Price: $74

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The Halo Wars franchise has been extremely successful over the years and Halo Wars is just a spin-off of that success. Whereas the fast-paced action of this game's predecessors encouraged finger bashing game play, Halo Wars is a strategy game that involves much tactical discretion.

The game's storyline takes place twenty years prior to the halo event and it works on the premise of being able to build your army into a strong unit that is physically and tactically able to take on the might of other units whom you will regularly come into contact with and fight with.

Firstly, the game's graphics are good, with much attention to detail being paid to things such as small explosions. Then the cut scenes are also extremely good; done in typical Halo cut scene style. You can build your army into a team of soldiers, tanks, and other machinery and you do all this from the base that you work from and continue to morph your new spawns of units.

The game takes place in a setting whereby the Covenant and UNSC Marines are at war. Halo Wars introduces a different angle to the war and brings new heroes to
the battle.

You get to control the UNSC Marines, Scorpion Tanks and the Warthog. The thing about Halo Wars, as compared to other Real Time Strategy games, is that the game-play is setup in such a way that the action continuosly moves forward. You are seemingly constantly pressing the ‘X' button to move your whole units or certain sections of it forward, where you will battle other alien units.

The fast gameplay has been possible owing to the fact that the game has been purely designed for only the Xbox in mind, therefore eliminating that element of porting that takes place amongst many RTS games from PC onto, for instance, the Xbox.
There are a number of attack modes you can implement, from charging at opponents with your warthog vehicles to shooting or bombing the daylights out of them with guns and bombs. Much of the attack gameplay is performed with the ‘X' button, for simple attacks, and the ‘Y' button for ‘special' attacks.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, your base site is fixed and therefore you can do certain things with that base site to grow your army. You end up doing all your training on your own and the game-play takes place purely from the perspective of the UNSC forces.

Each base has a number of supply pads where you can build your up your units, weapons and machinery. The thing is that you have limited resources and the need to manage these correctly otherwise you could find yourself running out of armies and weapons.

In terms of gaming difficulty, Halo Wars is split into a number of categories, from Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary.  In true Halo style, there has been a great deal of attention paid to the game-play and Halo fans will not be disappointed. There is also an unlockable section in the game that allows you to see a timeline of the events that have occurred in terms of the human struggle against the alien war.

Overall the game-play is good with it being fast-paced and easy to control. Having said this, you will need to consistently keep an eye out on building new forces, as if you don't use your resources wisely, you will be under pressure from invading units that will take you out.

Apart from the campaign mode, you can also play in skirmish modes whereby you can take on friends in multiplayer or an AI competitor. You can also play the game in multiplayer mode online and play others online. Bear in mind though that there are thousands of online players for this game, and thus you will never run out of competitors.

In conclusion, the game is has good graphics and great game-play. Where the game maybe lacks slightly is in its storyline that seems overly scripted. But the cut-scenes are great and it is another successful chapter in the Halo universe.

For: Dropping bombs on your enemy and building your empire into a force to be reckoned with.
Verdict: A great game which has attention to detail and progressive game-play for an RTS title. The story might be a tad on the over-scripted side though.

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