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Review: Halo Wars
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Halo conquered our hearts with its alien-infested universe, epic battles and of course Mister Charisma 2525 John-117. Now we have the sequel Halo 2, released in 2017. But in case you've already completed it or still only planning to grab it - Halo Wars will bring fresh Halo experience into your life.
For a game that was released in 2009, Halo Wars looks decent and I'd even say respectable. It can be described as Starcraft: Wings of Liberty, only watered down visually. However, the game's allure is not about the high-quality or irreproachable picture - it's more about the unit models.
If you look closer - possibly through a magnifying glass - then you'll see that all beloved and cherished units and vehicles form the Halo universe are present. Spartans, Hellbringers, Warthogs, Unggoys - they made it to the party and looked almost as good as their glorious prototypes. Particle effect and big thundering explosions made it to the party too, btw.
The visuals might be outdated, but the cut-scenes are cinematic and breathtaking. I guarantee: they are a tasty reward for every mission completed. Oh, and the trademark Gregorian choral music will please your ears, as you give commands to your loyal Spartans.
The gameplay is rather restrictive and doesn't give you much freedom. Auto-assisting is like a caring babysitter, who does a lot for you. Unit production is automatic, the building space is restricted, resource gathering is excluded as a challenge - yes, it's a particular RTS. Mostly you just focus fire on the enemy units and accomplish the scripted objectives.
The gameplay is very dynamic - most of the time you'll have to go with the scenario flow. It's not the right game to sharpen your talent for strategy/tactics.
As a compensation, you can play both for United Nations Space Command and Covenant. The latter is available in multiplayer mode only - the campaign is solely dedicated to UNSC. The Flood is not an option to play though - possibly the authors didn't want to make the game look like a Starcraft's doppelganger.
Each fraction has 3 unique heroes called "Leaders". Every leader has specific powers that affect your style of playing, that's why choose them wisely. For instance, UNSC Leaders never join the brawl in person - they stay somewhere safe, as high as the planet's orbit.
But they can produce devastating bomb attacks (John Forge), dispatch units or supplies (Captain Cutter), speed up upgrades and researches and even do enemy freezing (Professor Ellen Anders). Disruption Bomb is also an option - it puts the hostile leaders out of the game for a while. Covenant Leaders are ferocious warriors who don't wanna stay at home. They have auto-healing through killing (Arbiter), laser cleansing (Prophet of Regret) or vortex mass-attack (Brute Chieftain). Each fraction's leaders unlock unique units that increase your firepower.
It's the most Xbox-optimized strategy in existence. There's a radial production menu. Units can be chosen via the A button and moved wherever you want them to go to with the help of the directional stick. It's a charm.
Replay Value: 5
This is a solid, well-made game and I wouldn't mind to play it once more. Even though we have Halo Wars 2 on the counters now.
Halo Wars may look outdated but it retains some elusive charm and even retro-warmth. This game proves that the legend of Master Chief will never die, although he's not even featured in the game.
Halo Wars may not look fancy but it's a must-have for every Halo fan.
Replay Value 5
Little freedom of action.
Flood is not playable.
No Master Chief.