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Halo Wars 2 (Release Date: February 2017)
After decades adrift and declared “lost with all hands,” the brave crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire are mysteriously awoken above an ancient Forerunner haven known as the Ark. In Halo Wars 2, Captain Cutter and his crew will face one of humanity’s most formidable threats yet: The Banished – a fierce and powerful Brute faction led by a cunning and lethal warrior known as Atriox.
Halo Wars 2 delivers real-time strategy at the speed of Halo combat. Get ready to lead armies of Spartans and other Halo fighting forces like Warthogs, Scorpions and exciting new units in a brutal war against a terrifying new enemy on the biggest Halo battlefield yet.
Hiya Gamers, Geeks and Friends! This will be my first video game review and I’m super excited that it will focus on none other than the new RTS Halo Wars 2! Halo Wars 2 is the Real Time Strategy game from the original release of Halo Wars back on February 26th, 2009. I’ve been anticipating the release of HW2 and when it releases February 28th, 2017, I had to jump on getting it (well the Halo Wars 2 Xbox One S bundle J ). This review will focus on the campaign, different game modes and my personal preferences.
New Leader Available!
The addition of Leaders to Halo Wars was a good call in my opinion. Leaders add an additional element to the game by allowing the player to use Leader Powers. Leader Powers are advantages in the game specific to that Leader that can be used to give you the upper hand in battle, in other words, it can change the dynamic completely! Also the Leader chosen at the start of the game will affect whether you are playing as the UNSC or the Banished! Some examples of clutch Leader Powers that I have used are the Turret Drops, Heals and Missile Bombardments to assist me in battle. Not all of the Leader Powers are offensive, some are great strategy wise, such as, Professor Anders Leader Power in which Research and construction is sped up.
Halo Wars 2 takes place after Halo 4 **Spoiler Alert, Spoiler Alert , Look Away now!** well it’s not really a spoiler but you never know. Anyway the campaign takes place after the fall of the Covenant when a new threat rises. Atriox and his league of followers known as the “Banished” are tired of taking orders for the remaining members of the Covenant. One day when Atriox is cornered by the Covenant, he decides to take charge and lead his Banished army against anyone who tries oppose his will.
The gameplay in the Campaign was really good in my opinion. If you’ve read some of my gaming posts before, you will already know that I rarely play Campaigns (unless it’s specifically a single player game) so the fact that I was intrigued and excited the whole way through Halo Wars 2, is an achievement all on its own. Through the Campaign (which I’ve played Co-op) you take the fundamentals of building a base and journey through the story. This version of my Play and Skip bullet points will detail features that I think makes the game awesome and things that can be annoying with Halo Wars 2.
- Co-Op feature makes it a great game to play with friends online (Each player is delegated certain units and options to control)
- The Story is actually pretty good!
- You will learn new skills not taught in tutorials like the Spartan Slam or Lock-down Mode on the Kodiak Tanks
- You can develop new strategies for playing multiplayer online or Skirmishes
- Loading Times in between Missions are pretty long (A.I. Talk A Lotttt!)
- No place to save in the current mission (If you fail you start over)
- Missions can last 20 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you can develop your base.
- Sometimes the game would freeze in the middle of a battle
- There’s a lot of information and controls to learn
Other Game Modes:
Skirmish– The Skirmish will be where you can practice using different Leaders against other opponents or the AI bots. You can upgrade your skills and learn new strategies for all game modes like Domination, Team Deathmatch or Strongholds!
Blitz- Blitz is the new game mode introduced into the Halo Wars series. You are able to draw cards and from the cards you are holding, you can attack and hold strongholds. I was playing domination, in where you have to be the first to 200. This new game mode allows the players to speed up what could be a long game by allowing them access only to resources in their hands. When you are playing HW2, along the way you will receive Blitz Packs from completing missions and achievements in the game. These packs will allow you to customize a deck suitable to your play style. So far I have about 25 Packs that I need to open. Each game mode you play may have daily or weekly challenges to complete in order to earn rewards!
Multiplayer in any game for me, is a great way to test your skills against other people around the world. Yes it’s fun playing against AI but let’s be honest, the bots will not think like another player and eventually you will learn the AI’s tactics. Playing online multiplayer is the best way to truly test your skills and how you would compare. There are so many multiplayer game modes here that to go into detail with all of them would be insane! Just know that the multiplayer element is awesome and there’s many game types to choose from including Domination, Firefight, Team Deathmatch and Blitz!
Aesthetics & Controls:
I’ve loved the feeling of the maps in HW2. You are able to select large to medium maps for team battles or smaller maps for 1 on 1 encounters. Each map has its own distinction of colors in reference to where the location is on the campaign. I love that all of the colors and themes are still relevant to the Halo universe. The controls are easy to use, however, the difficulty comes in trying to remember which key does what ( If you’re used to playing RTS games then you will know about control management lol).
One critique that I have, is that sometimes I want to delegate specific units to attack a target and another set of units to defend. What would make the game better for me, is if there was a way to select multiple units of different subsets. For instance, I would want to select quickly 3 Marine Units and 2 Hellbringers…. while you are able to quickly select local grouped units and all on the individual marines, you cannot mix them quickly to issue orders (unless I’ve missed something lol). Basically, I want to click, click , click and move the units of my choice without having to select all units or units in the local area.
In conclusion, I really love playing Halo Wars 2 and even though I have finished the Campaign, the game has great replay value with the difficulty setting, different Leaders that you are able to use, several different game modes to play and the addition of DLC that will keep me occupied for a while. It doesn’t hurt that my games average 15-20 minutes so I’m not sitting there twiddling my thumbs.
Thank you for reading my first video game review! What do you think of the game? Have you played Halo Wars 2 or the original Halo Wars? What’s your favorite Real Time Strategy game? Let’s Talk RTS!