Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One) is a sequel to one of the few real-time strategies on consoles. Set in the beloved Halo universe, Halo Wars 2 XBOX ONE brings back the Spirit of Fire crew after decades spent in cryosleep. Co-developed by the veteran studio Creative Assembly, Halo Wars 2 once again challenges the idea that RTS games can't work on consoles.
Spirit of Fire returns When you have last seen the Spirit of Fire, it was a long time before the war against the Covenant concluded. Now the UNSC warship comes back to a changed world exactly when a new faction within the Covenant rises up, led by a warlord called Atriox. The two forces collide on a Forerunner installation, full of resources and ancient technology that birthed the eponymous Halo rings.
Fully-featured online multiplayer The multiplayer modes of Halo Wars 2 (Game) will be a treat for both experienced players and newcomers to the genre. Three of the announced multiplayer modes, Deathmatch, Domination, and Strongholds are a serving of extermination and point-capture modes familiar to the genre veterans. The Blitz mode For those who feel intimidated by complex RTS mechanics the developers of Halo War 2 have prepared a Blitz mode, merging two distinct genres into an innovative and accessible mix.
In Blitz the mechanics of CCG (Collectible Card Game) allow you to create units on the spot depending on the hand you have, turning the match into a matter of strategy and hand-building as much as tactical acumen. Earn new cards by completing objectives and have the best deck on the Ark. Integration with Windows Halo Wars 2 has seamless account integration between Xbox One and Windows.
As long as you have Internet access you get to start your campaign on console and finish it up later on your PC or laptop. Just sync your account and resume destroying your enemies where you left off. No progress lost.
Lore-friendly 343 Industries and Creative Assembly combed Halo lore for all units that are suitable for the available armies. Accurately recreated UNSC craft wait for deployment and the troops wield familiar weapons. The Banished expand the lore about the Brute species of the Covenant, adding depth and context to the previous Brute depictions in Halo media.
Halo Wars 2 bridges the old and new, and show the state of the Halo universe mere months after the events of Halo 5: Guardians.
I wholeheartedly urge you to check out Halo Wars 2, whether it’s with the release of the Ultimate Edition this week or the standard release next Tuesday. It’s packed with content on both the multiplayer and single-player side, all of which is fun to play. It also has a pretty fantastic story attached to it, incredible cutscenes, and an amazing soundtrack to boot. Ideally we won’t have to wait another 9 years for a Halo Wars 3.
I know I’ve mentioned Starcraft II a couple of times in this review, but it’s certainly the yardstick by which most RTS games are measured and this one is no different. There are obvious comparisons to be drawn between both games and Creative Assembly certainly wears its influences proudly, but Halo Wars 2 never strays into clone territory. It stands well on its own, creating an experience that combines cinematic storytelling with varied and interesting strategic gameplay, as well as throwing in a few explosions for which Halo is often known. And best of all, it manages to be accessible enough that even a blunt object like myself can finish the campaign.
Halo Wars 2 is a great sequel, and being a fan of both the genre and the original game, I am extremely happy with how it turned out. Sure there is a clear microtransaction-heavy mode thrust into the mix, but when it is this fun I don’t mind. Besides, I don’t get competitive enough to get hooked on buying the cards. Add in co-op and the ability to play against solid AI and the package feels complete. Those craving that real-time strategy feeling that has been almost non-existent on consoles for a long time are in for a treat with Halo Wars 2.
At the end of the day, however, it’s the multiplayer and gameplay that make or break an RTS game, and Halo Wars 2 checks those boxes. If you’ve ever had the itch to command an army of UNSC soldiers, Halo Wars 2 will easily scratch it.
Halo Wars 2 is a better game thanks to the improvements of the ideas that were established by the first title. Better camera/cursor speed and the addition of custom groupings makes it feel closer to a PC RTS title while still maintaining the ease of control that console players want. The campaign and standard multiplayer modes are solid, while Blitz is a great addition for those looking for quicker RTS matches. While the game is undoubtedly better on a PC, the gameplay and presentation do well on a console — if you can overlook some of the issues mentioned earlier. Halo Wars 2 may be the only RTS game on the platform thus far, but it is a good one that's worth checking out.
Halo Wars 2 is still a highly recommendable title — in fact, likely one of the best RTS games that can be found on the current generation. However, accessibility on consoles came with a price to both controls and gameplay in both campaign and multiplayer modes.
Blitz mode aside, Halo Wars 2 sticks with a tried, tested and slightly tired RTS formula that's competent, but lacking in depth and originality.
June 17, 2017
Watch the debut teaser for Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare. Read more