Halo Wars 2 Review - The Last Bastion of RTS

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Halo Wars 2 Review - The Last Bastion of RTS

Halo Wars 2 is the sequel that no-one really asked for, on the platform it's finally supposed to be on.

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tippy2k2

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Huh....interesting.

I liked the first Halo Wars, even if it was a touch simple for my tastes (granted though, I played it a lot so that might be part of it).

I really didn't plan on buying HW2 but a RTS on the console is a rare beast and one that is actually good is near impossible. When Ensemble Studios bit the dust, I expected that the sequel would just be pretty much garbage (similar to Halo in general really dipping in quality once Bungie jumped ship).

I'll have to check out other reviews (since you played it on PC) but at the very least, my interest has been perked up a bit...
 

Paragon Fury

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tippy2k2 said:
Huh....interesting.

I liked the first Halo Wars, even if it was a touch simple for my tastes (granted though, I played it a lot so that might be part of it).

I really didn't plan on buying HW2 but a RTS on the console is a rare beast and one that is actually good is near impossible. When Ensemble Studios bit the dust, I expected that the sequel would just be pretty much garbage (similar to Halo in general really dipping in quality once Bungie jumped ship).

I'll have to check out other reviews (since you played it on PC) but at the very least, my interest has been perked up a bit...
HW2 is way more complicated than HW1, with Units having more abilities, there being way more specialized units, Hero powers being far more expanded (IE: Cutter no longer just has MAC Strike and ODSTs), base structure and resources being a bit more complex and tech trees being deeper than before (Your main base is no longer the only thing that dictates your tech level).
 

tippy2k2

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Paragon Fury said:
tippy2k2 said:
Huh....interesting.
HW2 is way more complicated than HW1, with Units having more abilities, there being way more specialized units, Hero powers being far more expanded (IE: Cutter no longer just has MAC Strike and ODSTs), base structure and resources being a bit more complex and tech trees being deeper than before (Your main base is no longer the only thing that dictates your tech level).
Huh...Interesting Part II; Electric Boogaloo

Dang it people, I don't need to buy more video games but I've gone from "perked interest" to "I wonder how quickly I can get the game if I order online from Best Buy". Because everything you just said (combined with what I've also heard) sounds like this game is a better and more complicated (in a good way) version of Halo Wars...
 

Xan Krieger

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Two questions:
1: Will this be available on windows 7?
2: Does this mean we might see the original Halo Wars released on PC?
 

fix-the-spade

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Xan Krieger said:
1: Will this be available on windows 7?
2: Does this mean we might see the original Halo Wars released on PC?
1) No. If you, like me, are still on Windows 7, Microsoft hates you, as it hates me. This game is available in Win 10 via the WinStore only, so nobody will buy it (just like nobody bought Gears 4 PC).

2) Halo Wars was released on PC as Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Again Win 10 and WinStore only, with the additional obstacle that it's only available to people who bought Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition via the WinStore. But it gets weirder, when you buy Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition, you don't simply get Halo Wars PC unlocked, no, that would be too logical. What happens is you have to wait for Microsoft Customer Support to email you a CD-Key, which you then put into the WinStore. This can take up to 10 working days.

Sometimes Microsoft is stranger than fiction. I wait with mild disinterest for them to abandon PC gaming again in the next couple of years, citing market conditions.
 

Xan Krieger

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fix-the-spade said:
Xan Krieger said:
1: Will this be available on windows 7?
2: Does this mean we might see the original Halo Wars released on PC?
1) No. If you, like me, are still on Windows 7, Microsoft hates you, as it hates me. This game is available in Win 10 via the WinStore only, so nobody will buy it (just like nobody bought Gears 4 PC).

2) Halo Wars was released on PC as Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Again Win 10 and WinStore only, with the additional obstacle that it's only available to people who bought Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition via the WinStore. But it gets weirder, when you buy Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition, you don't simply get Halo Wars PC unlocked, no, that would be too logical. What happens is you have to wait for Microsoft Customer Support to email you a CD-Key, which you then put into the WinStore. This can take up to 10 working days.

Sometimes Microsoft is stranger than fiction. I wait with mild disinterest for them to abandon PC gaming again in the next couple of years, citing market conditions.
Wow, I guess they do stuff just to push windows 10 instead of releasing it on Steam and raking in the money. My enthusiasm for the company really puts the Micro in Microsoft.
 

ima420r

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Xan Krieger said:
fix-the-spade said:
Xan Krieger said:
1: Will this be available on windows 7?
2: Does this mean we might see the original Halo Wars released on PC?
1) No. If you, like me, are still on Windows 7, Microsoft hates you, as it hates me. This game is available in Win 10 via the WinStore only, so nobody will buy it (just like nobody bought Gears 4 PC).

2) Halo Wars was released on PC as Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Again Win 10 and WinStore only, with the additional obstacle that it's only available to people who bought Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition via the WinStore. But it gets weirder, when you buy Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition, you don't simply get Halo Wars PC unlocked, no, that would be too logical. What happens is you have to wait for Microsoft Customer Support to email you a CD-Key, which you then put into the WinStore. This can take up to 10 working days.

Sometimes Microsoft is stranger than fiction. I wait with mild disinterest for them to abandon PC gaming again in the next couple of years, citing market conditions.
Wow, I guess they do stuff just to push windows 10 instead of releasing it on Steam and raking in the money. My enthusiasm for the company really puts the Micro in Microsoft.
It took 7 days for M$ to send me my Halo Wars 1 code. Plus, it wouldn't run on PC, only Xbox (kept saying it was not yet released even though I had been playing on xbox for days!). I think it will work now that 2 is out, but I haven't checked yet.
 

laggyteabag

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Just finished playing the campaign. It was fun; it ended kinda abruptly, though. I've gotta say, I was kinda disappointed about how quickly the crew just kinda accepted the new state of the universe, without really doing or saying anything. One minute it was like "I wonder what kind of universe we woke up to" and the next was "I AM NOW AN EXPERT ON THE HALO RINGS AND EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST 30 YEARS"

One other thing, if you're planning on playing the campaign on Heroic or harder, just be prepared for the cheese beam of the Banished. Like seriously, the amount of times I spent a few minutes building a small army, only to immediately have it lasered to death within 5 seconds is silly. Seriously: dont bunch up your guys.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Laggyteabag said:
Just finished playing the campaign. It was fun; it ended kinda abruptly, though. I've gotta say, I was kinda disappointed about how quickly the crew just kinda accepted the new state of the universe, without really doing or saying anything. One minute it was like "I wonder what kind of universe we woke up to" and the next was "I AM NOW AN EXPERT ON THE HALO RINGS AND EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST 30 YEARS"
This has basically been the Halo Universe's modus operandi since Halo 4. Chief is asleep for years and immediately goes back to killing stuff. It's sort of his thing.
 

linkblade91

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I was under the impression that the "last bastion of the RTS" was - and continues to be - Starcraft 2.
 

Vigormortis

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I plan to, in a heart beat.

That is, the moment they do with it what they did with Quantum Break.

I own a good gaming PC and a PS4[footnote]And still functioning older consoles including Xbox360, Wii, Xbox, N64, etc.[/footnote]. Other than Halo Wars 2 I have absolutely no reason to own an Xbone. Nor do I have any need (nor intention) to switch to Win10. And to be frank, I'm not going to purchase the former or 'upgrade' to the latter just for Halo Wars 2, despite how much I want to play it.

If the PC release goes anything like Quantum Break did[footnote]Another Microsoft produced "Xbox Exclusive"[/footnote], it'll be available on Windows 7 and Steam in three to four months.

I can wait until then. Will probably be able to get the core game and most or all of the DLC for less than the current asking price as well.
 

Hawki

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linkblade91 said:
I was under the impression that the "last bastion of the RTS" was - and continues to be - Starcraft 2.
I considered debating Steven on this, but drew out. That said, I'm sort of 50/50 on this. SC2 is a favorite of mine, and it's the only RTS I know of that still has a foot in e-sports (bar SC1), but there's still a fair amount of RTS games you can find, and some of them (e.g. Dawn of War III) are enough to get mainstream coverage.

Does Halo Wars 2 alter this? Dunno. I will say that I did enjoy the original Halo Wars. It's quite a simple RTS in terms of mechanics, but still enjoyable regardless.
 

Xerosch

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Can anyone tell me if it's worth getting the Ultimate Edition? I am really tempted because I wanted to play through Halo Wars 1 again and would prefer the Remaster to do so (which we'll get as single release later anyway).

I'm just not sure I'd do much with the Season Pass. Will the pass be limited to multiplayer stuff only or will there be something like a campaign addon?
 

Paragon Fury

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Xerosch said:
Can anyone tell me if it's worth getting the Ultimate Edition? I am really tempted because I wanted to play through Halo Wars 1 again and would prefer the Remaster to do so (which we'll get as single release later anyway).

I'm just not sure I'd do much with the Season Pass. Will the pass be limited to multiplayer stuff only or will there be something like a campaign addon?
The Season Pass, according to leak, will have at least one story-related DLC. And the Ultimate Edition can easily be thought of as paying $80 for two games, and the SP just being a bonus.
 

Kahani

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linkblade91 said:
I was under the impression that the "last bastion of the RTS" was - and continues to be - Starcraft 2.
And Grey Goo, Dawn of War 3, Planetary Annihilation, Act of Aggression, Ashes of the Singularity, Homeworld (remasterings and sequel). Company of Heroes 2 was only a couple of years ago. Sins of a Solar Empire had more content released last year. Total Warhammer is half RTS, although admittedly without the base building. And that's just some of the better known games in the last few years. For a dead genre with Halo as its last bastion, there certainly seems to be a lot of choice available. And they pretty much all have the standard base building and resource management with no MOBA elements to be seen, so it seems very odd to suggest Halo Wars is anything special in that regard.

As for the review as a whole, 4.5 stars seems an awful lot given what the review actually says about the game. "terrible keybindings... fairly short... comically easy... not really be challenged". It sounds like a functional but utterly generic and far too short and easy RTS that offers absolutely nothing to recommend it over the many other current games in the genre, but Stephen Bogos is stuck somewhere in the early 2000s and hasn't noticed that other RTS games actually exist so he recommends it as the only thing available for anyone who likes the genre.
 

Xerosch

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Paragon Fury said:
And the Ultimate Edition can easily be thought of as paying $80 for two games, and the SP just being a bonus.
Alrighty, that makes the decision pretty easy. Thank you for clarifying!
 

Vigormortis

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Hawki said:
I will say that I did enjoy the original Halo Wars. It's quite a simple RTS in terms of mechanics, but still enjoyable regardless.
I think that may have been part of the reason I so thoroughly loved Halo Wars.

Mechanically, yes, it was simpler than most other RTS offerings at the time (and since). But that simplicity allowed for more freedom and ingenuity in tactics, mind games, and map control.

Don't get me wrong. I love a healthy does of complexity in my strategy games. I still play Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, for example, but at the same time Halo Wars vague rock-paper-scissors gameplay allowed me to think up more complex tactics in how I approached certain situations than I would have in other, more complicated RTS games wherein I'd be too busy concentrating on what tech tree options to choose.

And as I'd said in my other post, I plan to get Halo Wars 2 and the Remaster the instant they don't require Windows 10 nor an Xbox One.