Review: Halo Wars

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Review: Halo Wars

One of these Halos is not like the others ...

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Now people are going to bash the living hell out of Halo in the comments.

This isn't so much a bash of Halo Wars itself, but...
Why the hell would I want to play an RTS game on a console?
Mouse + keyboard is still far superior to the controller, especially in RTS and FPS games.

Now, as for Halo Wars: Sounds like a step backwards. The modular base design sounds a lot like Battle for Middle Earth 1 while the similar units goes back even further, to games like Warcraft 2.
Will there be a PC port/demo? I might try it out just for the heck of it.

Hmmm, makes you wonder if the Wiimote is any better suited for the job. I've been amazed how much easier it is to aim with the thing in an FPS.

I've always said that RTS's are PC-only territory, and it seems that I'm now vindicated by Halo Wars. I see no reason why Microsoft couldn't adapt it to PC's. In fact, they should do it now. Only then will I get Halo Wars.

L.B. Jeffries:
Hmmm, makes you wonder if the Wiimote is any better suited for the job. I've been amazed how much easier it is to aim with the thing in an FPS.

Huh, you might be on to something, but is it a genre that Wii owners want?

I'm surprised that more RTSs haven't come to the PS3, with it's mouse and keyboard support, it seems to be a no-brainer for me. Hopefully Red Alert 3 will support the use of a mouse/keyboard combo, it'll be a must have for me if it does.

L.B. Jeffries:
Hmmm, makes you wonder if the Wiimote is any better suited for the job. I've been amazed how much easier it is to aim with the thing in an FPS.

Still not as good as with a mouse.

I was afraid of this kind of review... well not really AFRAID: it's not like I made the game, but I was considering getting it eventually. But maybe I still will. The demo didn't seem to be too annoying in terms of controls. Maybe it's because I spent some time with that LotR RTS game on the 360, but the thumbstick / trigger combo worked pretty well in my opinion.

Maybe console RTS games are for people who just downright suck at their PC equivalents... like me.

I have to say Jordan, playing console game is an exercise in patience until you are properly familiar with the controls. And it seems like you're not one for hotkeys, PC RTS's are amazingly complex if you plan on using hotkeys but they have the dumb luck to be built on top of the simplest control interface ever devised by man.

Anyway my point is, a hard to master control scheme is hardly a good reason to condemn a game. I'm sure you remember Goldeneye.

Abedeus:

L.B. Jeffries:
Hmmm, makes you wonder if the Wiimote is any better suited for the job. I've been amazed how much easier it is to aim with the thing in an FPS.

Still not as good as with a mouse.

I dunno, this is going to just become an opinion argument but I found it way easier to make headshots while moving using the Wiimote. Obviously there isn't a game to test this out in multiplayer yet but it's really, really easy to play an FPS with the Wii.

L.B. Jeffries:

Abedeus:

L.B. Jeffries:
Hmmm, makes you wonder if the Wiimote is any better suited for the job. I've been amazed how much easier it is to aim with the thing in an FPS.

Still not as good as with a mouse.

I dunno, this is going to just become an opinion argument but I found it way easier to make headshots while moving using the Wiimote. Obviously there isn't a game to test this out in multiplayer yet but it's really, really easy to play an FPS with the Wii.

How to say it... Maybe it's just that the games are easier to get headshots in?

I've played the demo and it was a lot of fun {I've played plenty of real-time strategy games on the PC before Halo Wars} and the controls were very intuitive, almost as good as the mouse and keyboard. I'm going to buy Halo Wars when it comes out.

The game uses the 30 seconds of fun philosophy that Bungie uses in Halo CE and Halo 3, I don't know why no one notices the 30 seconds of fun stuff these days.

God this game is a joke. You cant play rts on consoles. You need the precision of a mouse and the speed of a keyboard for the game to not insanely slow and boring. This game would fail hard if it didn't have halo plastered on the cover to lure all the fan boys into a crap ass game.

So far my only complaint is that there is no way to group units; y'know, designating my two marine riflemen and flamethrower units with a my two tanks, so I can easily quickly re-select them to have them relocate and move onto their next objective.

Also, it was good to hear Susan's dulcet tones again.

This is a pretty bad review.

You don't really mention anything about what makes Halo Wars bad except that it doesn't live up to the PC. Well, no RTS game on a console can live up to the PC and I wish you hadn't dwelled on that fact for the entire stinking time. Especially considering this game does a lot more in making the controls easy and intituitive than other RTS games on the console have, since they've all been ports.

You mention modular bases, but Halo Wars isn't the first to use this fixed base system. Battle for Middle-Earth I did as well and I'm sure there are others. It has less to do with the system's capabilities and more to how they wanted to steer the focus of the game to combat versus economy.

There are problems with Halo Wars, a lack of depth in the unit selection, certain essential abilities are missing (like the ability to create groups or attack-move), the lack of appropriate factions and other things... but you didn't mention those. You mentioned "Halo Wars sucks cause it's not on PC." I'm not denying that you like consoles, but I am denying that you know anything about the RTS genre to have focused so little on what an RTS player wants to hear.

Unacceptable to me. The Escapist screwed the pooch with this review.

I feel the problem with this review is that the you compare the game so often to a PC RTS you don't allow it to stand on its own merits. Its a console RTS - you should review it as such.

ceforga:
I've played the demo and it was a lot of fun {I've played plenty of real-time strategy games on the PC before Halo Wars} and the controls were very intuitive, almost as good as the mouse and keyboard. I'm going to buy Halo Wars when it comes out.

The game uses the 30 seconds of fun philosophy that Bungie uses in Halo CE and Halo 3, I don't know why no one notices the 30 seconds of fun stuff these days.

Yea, you and me both. I loved Halo Wars' controls. I played the demo for 3 days straight, just replaying that skirmish and trying out every possible tactic, playing around, just getting a feel for it. If it wasn't a Halo game, I'd probably have deleted the demo, but I didn't. I forced myself to play it for a few hours and after a while, I came to absolutely love its controls. I've played Starcraft, Dawn of War, Civ III and IV, Civ Revolution, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Fire Emblem, Star Wars: Empire At War and its expansion, Forces of Corruption, Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, etc... I think the games I like most in that list are Starcraft, Advance Wars (both games), and Star Wars: Empire At War (and its expansion).

[block of text]Now, Empire at War (which is my favorite) limits you in where you can build your bases. You have many different buildings like a barracks, light vehicle factory, heavy vehicle factory, advanced vehicle factory, Command Center, shield generator, research facility, sensor array, mining facility (neutral, must be captured and then built) and resource pads (neutral, must be captured and then built). They all do different things, allow production for different units, and give different upgrades, but their positions are all fixed. Before you start the skirmish (2-9 players, there's 3 factions in FoC, 2 in the original EAW), you can choose to have pre-built bases or not. If not, you have to use your starting units to capture resource pads to fund the creation of your base (if alone, but if you're in a large team, you'll easily have enough money to build all your buildings as soon as it starts. Also, players can give the rest of the team money if necessary). Turrets are also built from special build pads scattered around the map. Some are permanently controlled by a certain faction (like the ones defending the faction's base) and others are neutral (used to reinforce advancing units and push the front line forward. If any neutral structure is destroyed, it can be captured and built on). This doesn't make the game boring, it makes it faster paced and it opens up entirely new strategies. Halo Wars seems like a new and improved version of Empire At War for the consoles and it's set in the Halo universe. [/block of text]

I don't get what the fuss is about since I love SW: EAW and FoC, I love Halo, and I think Halo Wars' controls are great. I guess some people just like it and others just don't. Like the Halo series itself.

KamikazeSailor:
This is a pretty bad review.

You don't really mention anything about what makes Halo Wars bad except that it doesn't live up to the PC. Well, no RTS game on a console can live up to the PC and I wish you hadn't dwelled on that fact for the entire stinking time. Especially considering this game does a lot more in making the controls easy and intituitive than other RTS games on the console have, since they've all been ports.

You mention modular bases, but Halo Wars isn't the first to use this fixed base system. Battle for Middle-Earth I did as well and I'm sure there are others. It has less to do with the system's capabilities and more to how they wanted to steer the focus of the game to combat versus economy.

There are problems with Halo Wars, a lack of depth in the unit selection, certain essential abilities are missing (like the ability to create groups or attack-move), the lack of appropriate factions and other things... but you didn't mention those. You mentioned "Halo Wars sucks cause it's not on PC." I'm not denying that you like consoles, but I am denying that you know anything about the RTS genre to have focused so little on what an RTS player wants to hear.

Unacceptable to me. The Escapist screwed the pooch with this review.

QFT

The video review was much better at informing us about the game rather than the written one. I agree with everyone that the written review was just a complete bash to the RTS genre from PC to console and how the don't compare in the slightest. While the video review explored the aspects of the game itself, both its good and bad sides, in a much more through manner in about three minutes.

I actually had a lot of fun playing Halo Wars. I am an RTS junkie of old and even though the review definitely has some valid points, I still had a lot of fun playing it, especially on multiplayer. Since it can be up to 3v3, I think grabbing 2 of your friends and trying to wreck shop will still bring the FUN.

BTW...Jordan and I are tied and 1 win each going head-to-head. :)

KamikazeSailor:
This is a pretty bad review.

You don't really mention anything about what makes Halo Wars bad except that it doesn't live up to the PC. Well, no RTS game on a console can live up to the PC and I wish you hadn't dwelled on that fact for the entire stinking time. Especially considering this game does a lot more in making the controls easy and intituitive than other RTS games on the console have, since they've all been ports.

You mention modular bases, but Halo Wars isn't the first to use this fixed base system. Battle for Middle-Earth I did as well and I'm sure there are others. It has less to do with the system's capabilities and more to how they wanted to steer the focus of the game to combat versus economy.

There are problems with Halo Wars, a lack of depth in the unit selection, certain essential abilities are missing (like the ability to create groups or attack-move), the lack of appropriate factions and other things... but you didn't mention those. You mentioned "Halo Wars sucks cause it's not on PC." I'm not denying that you like consoles, but I am denying that you know anything about the RTS genre to have focused so little on what an RTS player wants to hear.

Unacceptable to me. The Escapist screwed the pooch with this review.

Guess you'll have to demand a written apology. Although I don't think it'll say what you want it to...

Really, though, designing RTS and FPS games for consoles was a flawed idea from the very beginning---mice and keyboards have been here all along, and why use an inferior input device? Why not stick to what each device is good at? Money, that's why. Plain and simple.

Eldritch Warlord:
I have to say Jordan, playing console game is an exercise in patience until you are properly familiar with the controls. And it seems like you're not one for hotkeys, PC RTS's are amazingly complex if you plan on using hotkeys but they have the dumb luck to be built on top of the simplest control interface ever devised by man.

Anyway my point is, a hard to master control scheme is hardly a good reason to condemn a game. I'm sure you remember Goldeneye.

You're absolutely right, Eldritch. I played about 10-15 hours of Halo Wars, and when all was said and done, I didn't feel like I had really grasped the controls anymore than when I started. An intuitive interface is a must for games with this level complexity, and a gamepad just doesn't cut it.

In fact, I had similar issues when I reviewed Civilization Revolution last year - and that was turn based. The problem becomes much more acute when you know you only have a matter of seconds to execute all the necessary commands before you've lost half your raiding party.

Jordan Deam:

Eldritch Warlord:
I have to say Jordan, playing console game is an exercise in patience until you are properly familiar with the controls. And it seems like you're not one for hotkeys, PC RTS's are amazingly complex if you plan on using hotkeys but they have the dumb luck to be built on top of the simplest control interface ever devised by man.

Anyway my point is, a hard to master control scheme is hardly a good reason to condemn a game. I'm sure you remember Goldeneye.

You're absolutely right, Eldritch. I played about 10-15 hours of Halo Wars, and when all was said and done, I didn't feel like I had really grasped the controls anymore than when I started. An intuitive interface is a must for games with this level complexity, and a gamepad just doesn't cut it.

In fact, I had similar issues when I reviewed Civilization Revolution last year - and that was turn based. The problem becomes much more acute when you know you only have a matter of seconds to execute all the necessary commands before you've lost half your raiding party.

I never had any issues with Revolution whatsoever. Maybe it isn't so much the game as it is you and the gamepad itself. I think it's just that you don't like the gamepad.

Eipok Kruden:

ceforga:
I've played the demo and it was a lot of fun {I've played plenty of real-time strategy games on the PC before Halo Wars} and the controls were very intuitive, almost as good as the mouse and keyboard. I'm going to buy Halo Wars when it comes out.

The game uses the 30 seconds of fun philosophy that Bungie uses in Halo CE and Halo 3, I don't know why no one notices the 30 seconds of fun stuff these days.

Yea, you and me both. I loved Halo Wars' controls. I played the demo for 3 days straight, just replaying that skirmish and trying out every possible tactic, playing around, just getting a feel for it. If it wasn't a Halo game, I'd probably have deleted the demo, but I didn't. I forced myself to play it for a few hours and after a while, I came to absolutely love its controls. I've played Starcraft, Dawn of War, Civ III and IV, Civ Revolution, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Fire Emblem, Star Wars: Empire At War and its expansion, Forces of Corruption, Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, etc... I think the games I like most in that list are Starcraft, Advance Wars (both games), and Star Wars: Empire At War (and its expansion).

[block of text]Now, Empire at War (which is my favorite) limits you in where you can build your bases. You have many different buildings like a barracks, light vehicle factory, heavy vehicle factory, advanced vehicle factory, Command Center, shield generator, research facility, sensor array, mining facility (neutral, must be captured and then built) and resource pads (neutral, must be captured and then built). They all do different things, allow production for different units, and give different upgrades, but their positions are all fixed. Before you start the skirmish (2-9 players, there's 3 factions in FoC, 2 in the original EAW), you can choose to have pre-built bases or not. If not, you have to use your starting units to capture resource pads to fund the creation of your base (if alone, but if you're in a large team, you'll easily have enough money to build all your buildings as soon as it starts. Also, players can give the rest of the team money if necessary). Turrets are also built from special build pads scattered around the map. Some are permanently controlled by a certain faction (like the ones defending the faction's base) and others are neutral (used to reinforce advancing units and push the front line forward. If any neutral structure is destroyed, it can be captured and built on). This doesn't make the game boring, it makes it faster paced and it opens up entirely new strategies. Halo Wars seems like a new and improved version of Empire At War for the consoles and it's set in the Halo universe. [/block of text]

I don't get what the fuss is about since I love SW: EAW and FoC, I love Halo, and I think Halo Wars' controls are great. I guess some people just like it and others just don't. Like the Halo series itself.

Why does the 17 year old Halo fanboy have to agree with me?

Why is everyone is such a PC elitist?

Why is the gaming community so bad now?

Why do I make big deal out of all of this?

palmcrusher:
God this game is a joke. You cant play rts on consoles. You need the precision of a mouse and the speed of a keyboard for the game to not insanely slow and boring. This game would fail hard if it didn't have halo plastered on the cover to lure all the fan boys into a crap ass game.

Its actually a very good game - you can always tell when people haven't played the game...you haven't.

The game is certainly not "insanely slow and boring", and the control scheme is very well done.

Jordan Deam:
For a series that probably never had an RTS in mind, the standard roster of Covenant and UNSC units are well adapted to this style of gameplay.

Actually, Halo CE was originally an RTS for the Mac, then Microsoft got it and Bungie decided to change it to an FPS.

KamikazeSailor:
This is a pretty bad review.

You don't really mention anything about what makes Halo Wars bad except that it doesn't live up to the PC. Well, no RTS game on a console can live up to the PC and I wish you hadn't dwelled on that fact for the entire stinking time. Especially considering this game does a lot more in making the controls easy and intituitive than other RTS games on the console have, since they've all been ports.

You mention modular bases, but Halo Wars isn't the first to use this fixed base system. Battle for Middle-Earth I did as well and I'm sure there are others. It has less to do with the system's capabilities and more to how they wanted to steer the focus of the game to combat versus economy.

There are problems with Halo Wars, a lack of depth in the unit selection, certain essential abilities are missing (like the ability to create groups or attack-move), the lack of appropriate factions and other things... but you didn't mention those. You mentioned "Halo Wars sucks cause it's not on PC." I'm not denying that you like consoles, but I am denying that you know anything about the RTS genre to have focused so little on what an RTS player wants to hear.

Unacceptable to me. The Escapist screwed the pooch with this review.

It's not a question of whether an RTS would be "better" on a PC - that's pretty much a given. First-person shooters are easier to control with a mouse and keyboard as well, but that fact hasn't stopped me from enjoying about a decade's worth of console FPSs. The question is whether a gamepad is "good enough" to feel like you have an adequate sense of control over the action in an RTS, and in my experience, it isn't.

KamikazeSailor:
This is a pretty bad review.

You don't really mention anything about what makes Halo Wars bad except that it doesn't live up to the PC. Well, no RTS game on a console can live up to the PC and I wish you hadn't dwelled on that fact for the entire stinking time. Especially considering this game does a lot more in making the controls easy and intituitive than other RTS games on the console have, since they've all been ports.

You mention modular bases, but Halo Wars isn't the first to use this fixed base system. Battle for Middle-Earth I did as well and I'm sure there are others. It has less to do with the system's capabilities and more to how they wanted to steer the focus of the game to combat versus economy.

There are problems with Halo Wars, a lack of depth in the unit selection, certain essential abilities are missing (like the ability to create groups or attack-move), the lack of appropriate factions and other things... but you didn't mention those. You mentioned "Halo Wars sucks cause it's not on PC." I'm not denying that you like consoles, but I am denying that you know anything about the RTS genre to have focused so little on what an RTS player wants to hear.

Unacceptable to me. The Escapist screwed the pooch with this review.

But you know what the problem is? Just about all of the issues they, and me as well, have had with the game can be reduced to that. The controls were not tight enough; there was no way to group units, for example. Also, the strategy element was quite low (imho) because of it. You can't really flank someone because you're just unable control two groups well enough at the same time, let alone micromanage their primary/secondary abilities.

The ironic part? All of those control problems would have been eliminated with a keyboard and mouse.

As for your problems with Halo war, I do agree with the lack of units. However, lack of appropriate factions? What's wrong with them?

ceforga:
I've played the demo and it was a lot of fun {I've played plenty of real-time strategy games on the PC before Halo Wars} and the controls were very intuitive, almost as good as the mouse and keyboard. I'm going to buy Halo Wars when it comes out.

The game uses the 30 seconds of fun philosophy that Bungie uses in Halo CE and Halo 3, I don't know why no one notices the 30 seconds of fun stuff these days.

I must not have noticed when these 30 seconds happened. Still, I might pick up a demo and look if the demo is available for PC.

ceforga:

Why does the 17 year old Halo fanboy have to agree with me?

Why is everyone is such a PC elitist?

Why is the gaming community so bad now?

Why do I make big deal out of all of this?

Why is loving Halo bad? Does it automatically mean I'm a retarded idiot that's just foaming at the mouth? And I didn't know I came across as a Halo fanboy, I was just comparing Star Wars: Empire At War and its expansion, Forces of Corruption, with Halo Wars.

Eipok Kruden:

ceforga:

Why does the 17 year old Halo fanboy have to agree with me?

Why is everyone is such a PC elitist?

Why is the gaming community so bad now?

Why do I make big deal out of all of this?

Why is loving Halo bad? Does it automatically mean I'm a retarded idiot that's just foaming at the mouth? And I didn't know I came across as a Halo fanboy, I was just comparing Star Wars: Empire At War and its expansion, Forces of Corruption, with Halo Wars.

Uhh... I'm a Halo fan {except for Halo 2} but you just seem like a Halo fanboy. Then again, I don't know if I'm a Halo fanboy or not.

I totally disagree. I simply loved the demo. No, it's not as quick or accurate as a mouse and keyboard, but it's still a fun game. I really liked Command and Conquer 3 on consoles and I found that Halo Wars did it better.

This review is, honestly, crap.

For those who didn't read it and just wanted to see the comments, here's a summary:

Good RTS with controls not as good as PC.

ceforga:

Eipok Kruden:

ceforga:

Why does the 17 year old Halo fanboy have to agree with me?

Why is everyone is such a PC elitist?

Why is the gaming community so bad now?

Why do I make big deal out of all of this?

Why is loving Halo bad? Does it automatically mean I'm a retarded idiot that's just foaming at the mouth? And I didn't know I came across as a Halo fanboy, I was just comparing Star Wars: Empire At War and its expansion, Forces of Corruption, with Halo Wars.

Uhh... I'm a Halo fan {except for Halo 2} but you just seem like a Halo fanboy. Then again, I don't know if I'm a Halo fanboy or not.

Well, I know the entire Halo storyline, but I'm not the kind of brainless fanboy that will flame anyone and everyone that says Halo sucks. People are entitled to their opinions. I'm not gonna hold Jordan's hatred of and unfamiliarity with gamepads against him.

Abedeus:

I dunno, this is going to just become an opinion argument but I found it way easier to make headshots while moving using the Wiimote. Obviously there isn't a game to test this out in multiplayer yet but it's really, really easy to play an FPS with the Wii.

How to say it... Maybe it's just that the games are easier to get headshots in?

Bit of a chicken vs egg argument, isn't it? Is the game easy because the challenge is low or is it easy because the controls make me more proficient at the challenge?

L.B. Jeffries:

Abedeus:

I dunno, this is going to just become an opinion argument but I found it way easier to make headshots while moving using the Wiimote. Obviously there isn't a game to test this out in multiplayer yet but it's really, really easy to play an FPS with the Wii.

How to say it... Maybe it's just that the games are easier to get headshots in?

Bit of a chicken vs egg argument, isn't it? Is the game easy because the challenge is low or is it easy because the controls make me more proficient at the challenge?

Or just game helps you getting headshots by making hitboxes a bit bigger. You know, so you dont have to aim that precisely for the same effect.

Also, headshotting AI isn't that hard.

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