A New Look at Master Chief's Universe
Great controls, Excellent Multiplayer Vs. and Co-op, Incredible Cinematics
Repetitive Gameplay, Poor camera control, Too few unit types, Not much replay value
The Bottom Line:
I recommend this game to hardcore Halo fans as well as fans of real-time strategy games. Otherwise, there just isn't enough to justify spending big bucks for it.
There can be no doubt that Halo, Halo 2, and Halo 3 are among the best first person shooters ever made, if not among the greatest games ever. Halo Wars, a fresh look at the franchise taking place before the events of the first Halo, attempts to shake things up by abandoning the first person shooter genre for that of the real-time strategy (Starcraft, Red Alert 3, etc.). While the varying unit structures of the Human military and their Covenant enemies are perfect for the new game type, real-time strategy games have yet to find success anywhere other than the PC.
This game is a giant leap towards correcting that. The controls are simple, yet effective. It is very easy to pick up the basics of the game within the first few minutes of play. The various maps have the same familiar feel of the Halo universe and the cinematics are absolutely breathtaking. The availability of multiplayer co-op over Xbox Live is a welcome addition that only adds to the gaming experience. Head to head multiplayer with up to 6 people really showcases all aspects of the gameplay.
Now for the bad news:
The singleplayer mode can get rather boring. The camera often feels too zoomed in and only goes back to a certain difference. There is not a lot of unit variation compared with other real-time strategy games. As much as I love the Halo games, I wish that I had rented Halo Wars before buying it. If I had, I probably would not have made the same choice.