Completed Games: Halo Wars
Developer – Ensemble Studios
Publisher – Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date – 3rd March 2009
The first game in the Halo series that was not a FPS or developed by series creator Bungie Studios. Halo Wars was developed by Ensemble Studios who were famous for creating the Age of Empires series, they were shut down by Microsoft shortly after the release of this game. Because of these circumstances this game may have been overlooked by many, but any Halo and/or RTS fans should really give it a try.
Bungie Studio’s original concept for Halo was not an FPS, it was in fact a RTS game for the PC. This game fulfils this idea but what this game is and what Bungie would have made is completely different. First of all it was exclusively on the Xbox 360, Ensemble had to adapt their PC mindset to create a game that could be played smoothly with a controller. Ensemble were also restricted in having a set universe and units that are not entirely suitable for an RTS game.
The game is surprisingly fun doing some creative things with an RTS on a console. It streamlines a lot of the micro management in RTS games. You have a base that has slots for buildings and turrets, there is no resource gathering instead you just build refineries or generators in your base. There is a good mix of units both air and ground which allows for some nuanced strategies. The missions are diverse with side missions and alternative objectives making each level replayable. There are other modes like skirmish and online multiplayer which makes this game as fully featured as any other RTS game.
In Halo Wars there is a lot to learn about the Halo universe that isn’t covered in the other games. The story is decent but the really cool parts are the cut scenes which are like what you would get in the main Halo games. For example I love how Spartans are depicted in the game as they are special units which unique abilities and can take out a bunch of units by themselves.
This game is definitely one to pick up as it is heavily discounted at any game stores.