When I went into the demo of Halo Wars , I have to say that I went into it quite skeptical, simply because I was never that much of an RTS player. I have never really liked to play any title that was in the real-time strategy genre. So upon the boot up of Halo Wars in my Xbox 360, I have to say that I was quickly and pleasantly surprised. Right from the start of the demo, you will have the immediate sense that you really are playing a “Halo game”.
The game menus in Halo Wars do look somewhat similar to those found in Halo 3. Ensemble, the developer of Halo Wars obviously wanted to maintain the overall “Halo feel” in Halo Wars. Everything about the presentation looks really slick. The demo will let you play campaign mode and the skirmish mode. A multiplayer option is also visible on the main menu but don’t let this get your hopes up, there is no multiplayer mode in this demo. There is also a tutorial that you can play through to help you get the hang of the controls, the first one will teach you the basics and the second will introduce you to the more advanced controls, I do recommend you giving the tutorial a playthrough.
First, lets talk about the campaign mode. In the demo, you will be able to play through two levels of the campaign, and right from the start you will notice how well done this game’s cut scenes are. I know that these are just movies, but they really might give you an idea on how a future Halo title would look. I really don’t want to get into the story of the demo in this preview, I will leave that for the review coming soon after the full game’s release. I just want to let you know what to expect when you go to download this demo. So, once you begin to play the campaign mode, you will be greeted with a single warthog and a mission to help your fellow marines to reclaim your base. The point I should make here, is that basically everything is locked in the campaign mode at first, you will only have the strict basics at your command.
Now I know what you are thinking, you’re thinking that this game is “way too overly complicated with too many things to keep track of ” right? Well, you would infact be wrong. As soon as you begin to dig into this small taste of Halo Wars, you will see that the title was indeed designed for a console. All controls are handled by the face buttons and the bumpers, while the the left analog stick moves your cursor and the right one handles camera duties. The developers really did a great job of making everything accessible and easy to use. Halo Wars may be the game to prove that RTS titles can be done on consoles and still be fun to play.
Now we do need to move on to the demo’s included skirmish mode. The skirmish mode is the mode that lets you play competitively against the AI with no story in mind on the “Chasms” map. The whole point here is to take over all of your opponent’s bases on the map to win. In skirmish, the demo will let you play as Captain Cutter commanding the marines, or you can turn the tables and play as The Prophet of Regret and command the covenant. You don’t have to just play as the good guys. Now one thing I should mention is that in the demo’s skirmish mode, you will be given the opportunity to build quite a few different weapons, vehicles and ground troops that will be at your disposal. For example, you will be able to train countless marine troops, spartans, vehicles, etc. The demo does let you get to see alot of what the game has to offer.
I could get into how things are done in the game, like building up your forces and how to overtake bases and how to properly build up a good base, but I need something to talk about in the full game’s review coming soon after the game’s release and since this is the best part of the game, I won’t spoil things for you. So, take my word for it, you need to give this demo a spin. Even if you are a non Halo fan, you still need to give this demo a shot. It looks great, plays great and it really might be the first great RTS for consoles, but I do need to review the full game to confirm this. So wait for our full review, and I will hopefully still feel the same way about this game then, so we’ll just have to wait and see.