Halo Wars – Hands On

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As the Halo franchise ventures into new genre territory courtesy of Ensembles Studios, Console Creatures plays through the tutorials and the first couple campaign missions to see if the game is shaping up to be a truly unique Halo experience.  Taking you twenty years before the main Halo series, the cinematics and story telling is captivating and involving right from the get go; something you would expect from a Sci-Fi game from Microsoft.

For the many that will be new to the RTS genre drawn to the game by the Halo branding, the two tutorials given provide the player with a good introduction of the gameplay and controls.  The player will learn everything from movement, energy and soldier production, and skill research for solider upgrades.  Compared to other RTS games, it seems that the control scheme is somewhat simplified, understandably as a console game with many new players.  Most of the buttons are locked into one type of general command and in order to input any command to a selected item (i.e. troops or base facilities), the recipient of the commands must be on screen for you to highlight with the cursor. There are no quick management menus to access your base facilities when trying to multitask at various locations in the map, though a quick button is provided to jump the camera directly to the base from anywhere you may be on the map.

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After the training, the first couple of missions in the campaign consisted of mainly seek and destroy type of objectives. This is complimented by the story line and cut scenes in between gameplay, which in the beginning felt quite simplistic and easy.  Regardless of the lack of difficulty, the franchise back story kept me interested enough to move on assuming the game would get more challenging as you progress while player gets the hang of the gameplay.  Overall, Ensemble Studios did a good job of transferring that Halo allure to a new genre I’d like to call an arcade style real time strategy.  Sean C.

The Halo Wars demo Hits XboxLive FEB 5th, with the full release exclusively on XBOX360 March 3rd.

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~ by consolecreatures on February 2, 2009.

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