Halo Wars 2 Review
I long debated doing this review for Halo Wars 2, and while I plan to affix a score to this when I’m finished, I feel like readers should look at this as impressions. I have one reason for this: RTS games do not translate well to the console experience, and despite the good job Microsoft Studios has done with both the original Halo Wars, and this subsequent title, it is still not the ideal playing situation.
Halo Wars 2 on PC is a far better experience, but one that we won’t be looking at here. If an Xbox One is your only option to play Halo Wars 2, read on, understanding the sole focus will be on the Xbox One experience. I understand how subjective this game will be, hence focusing on impressions, then straight criticisms and highlights.
What makes Halo Wars 2 an appealing game to me is the variety of modes that are available. While my time has primarily been spent playing through the campaign and experimenting (horribly) in Blitz Mode, you can also play a variety of quick matches that are sure to be exciting. Once I completed the campaign, I knew that the majority of my time would be spent in Blitz Mode; however, going back to the campaign is always rewarding as you attempt to get the gold medal on each level. Afterall, the better you do, the more you can unlock in Blitz mode.
Blitz Mode is the one constant across the entire game. As you complete other in game scenarios – the tutorials for example – you will be given booster packs to be used for Blitz Mode. Booster packs can include anything from standard marine like ground units, vehicles, special powers, and even leaders. In each game of Blitz, you will carry a ‘deck’ into battle with you. A few cards will be visible on screen that you can purchase with supply cubes that you will find around the map. When you purchase a card, that item or unit will become available at your main base, and a new card will appear.
It is essentially a deck building card game with RTS elements, not unlike what we have seen with the previous few FPS HALO titles. I love collecting, and I’m a huge fan of deck building, so myself and Blitz is an easy marriage to make. But even if you don’t enjoy these features – where your on the ground team depends on what cards you pull – you can always tackle the other modes Microsoft has packed into this game.
The biggest draw to the campaigns for myself was the cut scenes that emerge between each mission. These excellently rendered cut scenes made me push through the control issues I was having early on – steep learning curve for this title folks! – and for the most part, I was rewarded for my efforts. You begin the game as the crew of the UNSC ship from the previous Halo Wars title, the Ring of Fire. Believed to be gone and forgotten, it suddenly reawakens to a new threat: the Brute Atriox. Atriox is one of the reasons why you will want to invest so much time as he is a great enemy to fight. His band of minions are ruthless, and he himself will sacrifice anyone to stay alive and forge ahead.
The campaign unfolds much as you would expect: find a threat that might lead you to Atriox, and remove that threat. Rinse, repeat. The levels themselves are varied, with objectives that range from fairly easy to frustratingly difficult. But I was never left in a level to long, something that has plagued other RTS titles in the past.
Content Conclusion – PC and Xbox One
Halo Wars 2 is packed with great content, there is no doubt about it. For myself, the two biggest draws were the campaign and Blitz mode. While the campaign will appeal to most fans, Blitz mode will definitely be a bit of a wild card, as it’s reliance on luck could turn off some individuals. However, with a variety of multiplayer modes – typical modes like dominating a number of control points or total world dominations – there is plenty to keep strong Halo and RTS fans happy for a long, long time. We highly recommend either version of game – PC or Xbox One – but be sure to check out our subsequent article on Halo Wars 2 controls on the Xbox One.
A solid 8.0/10 from us here at GamesReviews.com! What do you think of Halo Wars 2?