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Halo Wars!

One of the most widely popular franchises in the gaming world has made a massive change out of ordinary, but will the RTS Halo Wars be able to appeal to both Halo fans and RTS fans?

First Impressions: Whenever possible, we try to give our loyal website viewers the most video footage and most in depth unbiased reviews imaginable. Part of that development is our "initial impressions" where we offer up our first impressions of the title that we are playing.

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Final Impressions: The final impression is just that, our completed breakdown and overall thoughts on the game based off of our entire game playing time.

You can locate the final impressions assessment in the "Rent vs. Buy" section of the review (always located at the very end of all of our reviews). Here you will be able to read our final thoughts on the title and also see any potential grade changes that were made to the game as well (higher or lower). Should a grading change occur, it will be clearly noted with the previous grade, the new grade, and why the change occurred.

Although this approach is more time consuming and requires many more man hours, our entire goal has always been to provide the best and completely unbiased reviews possible and we feel that the inclusion of the Initial Impressions and Final Impressions sections will give you a better view of what to expect from a new game.

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Just The Beginning: Halo Wars takes place 20 years before the Halo event and will put you in the beginning of the war between the UNSC and the alien Covenant. You will play through the storyline that showcases events and battles leading up to Master Chief and his journey.

The story will introduce you to entirely new characters, with only a couple familiar faces that you may have seen in past Halo games.

The storyline of Halo Wars is essentially battle after battle as you drop into different situations with the ultimate goal to destroy all of the enemy forces in that area. That's not to say the plot is weak; it is very engrossing and tells a strong tale, but you cannot help but feel like the game could have had a little more focus on the narrative.

Your Own Mini-Army: When you start each mission you will be able to build a base and add onto that a variety of structures such as Barracks, (train more soldiers) Vehicle Depots, (train vehicles) and Supply Pads (decrease the time it takes to earn more resources) and the amount of options you see there are quite impressive.

You will be able to train and then upgrade all of your little warriors that can vary from simple Marines and Flamethrower units to powerful Spartan soldiers. You are able to tailor your army the way you see fit.

There are many strategic tactics that come along with each unit and while you are building your empire it is a must to cover all sides and think about what you may face in battle.

Some units are more effective then others against certain types of enemies. Take for example the Warthog, which is extremely valuable against Grunts. The Warthog can take down an entire squad of Grunts with the right attack, while foot soldiers may take more damage (and time) to kill the entire group.

Your units will attack on command but know to attack targets on sight and also counter-attack if they are assaulted. The units are very intuitive and smart and know how to handle themselves should you opt to let them fight things out there own way.

Unfortunately when you get out into the battlefield and really start engaging in bigger battles the gameplay becomes a little too simple for its own good.

Where Are The Options: As you have probably already seen, Halo Wars is an enormous change from anything we have ever seen associated with the Halo universe. Halo Wars is an RTS, but what makes it different from other RTSs that you may have played is the fact that HW is built specifically for a home console.

The team that helmed the Age of Empires series, Ensemble Studios, developed Halo Wars and does a great job with the overall gameplay of HW.

Unfortunately, the game does fall short most likely because they tailored Halo Wars to target casual console gamers and opted to leave hardcore PC RTSs players in the dark.

For being an RTS, Halo Wars is not very deep gameplay wise. Entire battles can essentially be controlled with three buttons.

As soon as your begin to war against massive armies, Halo War's gameplay turns a little too simplistic and does not allow as much user interaction as some other RTS titles do.

While you can command individual units to attack their own targets, eventually you end up moving your entire army to one location and using everything you've got against single groups or targets.

Also, when out on the field there is nothing much to do except fight endlessly. There is absolutely no option to construct bases or structures unless opted to by the game. This essentially kills some of the enjoyment you find in some RTSs.

Therein lies the biggest issue with Halo Wars; the lack of user interactivity and options. Halo Wars is a little too linear and the game effectively forces you to do certain things or go certain places.

I can understand that Halo Wars was made for the casual gamer, but real fans of RTSs will probably find Halo Wars to be too simplistic and restricting.

Never Looked Better: Visually Halo Wars is very impressive. After each mission you will be treated to a high-res cutscene that really showcases some of the abilities of the Xbox 360.

Gameplay wise the units and structures you build are very detailed and you are easily able to differentiate the many diverse units by looks alone.

Rent vs. Buy: Halo Wars is a very enjoyable game all in all and despite some fundamental flaws in the gameplay still manages to remain a very pleasant experience.

The amazing visuals, engrossing storyline and enjoyable gameplay mostly overshadow some restrictions or lack of options you will face during gameplay.

Be warned though, Halo Wars is not really comparable to PC RTSs and had this game been placed on the PC, it would have had a significantly lower score then it currently does.

Console owners will most likely find Halo Wars to have enough depth for them and will probably find a lot of joy in HW, while hardcore PC RTS players will probably outcast this game as being too simple.

If you are not an experienced player of PC RTS games, you will easily find a great time in Halo Wars, but if you prefer the complexity of deeper titles in the genre, it may be best to stuck with what you know.

Report Card

Console owners will most likely find Halo Wars to have enough depth for them and will probably find a lot of joy in HW, while hardcore PC RTS players will probably outcast this game as being too simple. If you are not an experienced player of PC RTS games, you will easily find a great time in Halo Wars, but if you prefer the complexity of deeper titles in the genre, it may be best to stuck with what you know. (Krakrabbit.com)


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