|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ensemble Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The developers chose not to focus on resources very much, but rather on combat. Still, players can build Supply Pads (UNSC) or Warehouses (The Covenant). By building them, you will instantly receive resources. Balancing out resources and other buildings becomes very strategic, because you want to create enough Supply Pads so that you can create many units, discover advanced technologies, and build vehicles. But, you do not want to create so many to the point where you won't have space to build Barracks and other essential buildings.
I found it fun to create about four Supply Pads on the first base and two Barracks. I then destroyed a smaller enemy base further into the map, built another base there, and then created more Supply Pads and Barracks. I had enough resources being produced that I never ran out. Essentially, more resources were being produced than units. Doing this allowed me to create a mobile military force and therefore made it easier to destroy the enemy.
The graphics and presentation are a mixed bag. You will see a lot of effects being used in Halo Wars that are not typically used in a real-time strategy game. All the units from both the UNSC and The Covenant are recognizable, but they are not very detailed, though the textures are decent, and there are many units on the screen at once. You will notice the framerate drop every once in a while when there are too many effects and units all on screen at once. I think players will be happy to see that Ensemble created the Halo world like they remember it from the Halo Trilogy. The sound is decent as well. All the familiar gun sounds, vehicle effects, and characters sound like they did in the shooter. There is also the familiar Halo music that will surely amp up many fans to play the game.
Halo Wars is an interesting experiment that turned out to be a complete success. Microsoft and Ensemble proved that this type of game can be successful on consoles. However, I do not believe it is perfect, because I still would prefer to play it on a PC. Also, the campaign is too easy and lacking strategy, there are not enough maps for six players, and I think the developer should have made resource gathering more challenging. Halo fans have to remember that this is a very different Halo than what they are used to. If they are hardcore shooter fans, they may want to rent this game before buying it. Otherwise, I think this is a good game. If you enjoy the RTS genre, give your computer chair a break, buy the game, and enjoy your couch!
CCC Freelance Writer